Montreal fishing spots

Montreal fishing spots

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Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Ice fishing report for January 2024

First, I'd like to start by wishing everyone a happy new year, and all the best for 2024. I'm planning to detail my ice fishing outings for January 2024 in this blog post, so I hope you'll bear with me, and enjoy the reading and fishing pics.

Ice has been very slow in forming anywhere in the Montreal and surrounding regions. As such, options have been limited, especially early in the month.

January 3 2024:

My first outing of 2024, I decided to spend a few hours running some of my spots closer to home, instead of heading North for bass, as I had done during the previous week to close 2023. Out of the 5 spots I checked, only 3 of the had safe ice, and 2 of them were quite crowded with others already fishing there.

I had one spot to myself, with mainly 3 inches of ice, though the spud bar was in order, as some spots were slightly thinner.

The ice was thin enough for my Marcum's transducer to shoot through it.

Unfortunately, nothing but small perch, though in very large numbers. Managed to land 27 of them, mostly in the 4-6 inch range, despite upsizing lures. Only fished for 3 hours, drilled about a dozen holes, and found fish mainly suspended over 12 feet of depth.

January 9 2024:

Decided to try a new spot for my first pike fishing outing of the year. I have fished in the area before, but this spot is new to me, at least as a far as ice fishing goes. I originally found the fishing spot while float tubing during the summer, and did OK, catching largemouth bass and pike there over a couple outings.

Got to my spot just before the start of the mid morning major. Found 6 inches of solid ice, with a few inches of fresh snow cover. This area typically has at least double the ice by early January, but this year has been unseasonably warm. 

No signs of anyone else having fished there sine the ice formed, so I was hoping to find more fish where I had last had most of my success there. Went with my my 8 inch manual fin bore auger, as I do enjoy the extra workout every now and then.

I started off by setting u my spread of tip up lines, suspended at depth of 6 to 10 feet over 14-16 feet bottoms. We are allowed to use up to 10 lines during winter in this zone, so I baited p tip ups, with a variety of frozen mackerels in the 7-8 inch range, and some headless gutted smelt in the 5 inch range.

I also rigged a few of the lines with double smelt, one on each treble of my quick strike rig.

Finished setting up my last tip up rigged with double smelt around 9:40 am, just after the start of the major. I drilled my first jigging hole, and started off jigging with small Yozuri Rattle n vibe rattlebait, my go to lure for largemouth bass and big perch.

On my first drop, I saw a big mark hovering near my lure on my Humminbird flasher. It disappeared shortly after, only to come back and leave a gain a coupe more times. Finally, I managed to get it to eat on it's fourth time, suspended 3-4 feet off the bottom depth which was 15 feet. 

The ensuing battle was quite intense. I had to keep my rod submerged under the ice hole to avoid having the thin fluorocarbon line cut on the ice hole's bottom end.

After a few runs, I manage to land my first pike of the year, a chunky fish pushing 6 lbs.

Just as I was releasing it, my last tip up line I had set a few minutes earlier, sprung up.

This pike was not quite as long, and a lot thinner, more typical of the summer pike that I've caught at this spot.

Released it through the ice in good condition, just as the first one.

Starting the day off with a double header, with both pike landed within the first 20 minutes of the outing, had me relaxed for the rest of the day. Just as well, didn't hook any more fish for the next 5 hours or so before I left, nor did I see much activity on the flasher. 

Was also very happy to get my first flag up, as I hope to put some more time into fishing tip ups than I have over the past few seasons. The fact that it hit on the double smelt rig I was experimenting with was gravy.

January 14 2024:

With safe ice in zone 8 still hard to come by, I opted to fish a small farm pond, where I've caught some nice bass and smaller pike under ice in the past. Plan was to fish for pike using most of my allowable lines with tip ups, and save the last line to jig for bass and panfish.

Found a solid 7-8 inches of ice, which was sort of what I had expected. Unfortunately, the bass were super finicky, as were the panfish. Probably slowest I have ever seen at that spot.

Around noon, one of my tip up flags sprung up, the line had been baited with a decent sized mackerel. When I lifted it, the line had somehow got caught up in the spool, so I had very little lie to fight the big pike with, and had to horse it more than I would have wanted to.

Either way, I landed this beauty of a pike!

At 36 inches and weighing 9.8 lbs, it was more than double the size of any other pike I've caught at that spot, as well as being the biggest pike I've landed on ice to date.

I didn't dream of ever catching a pike that big in a pond that small, but this very welcome surprise made my day.

January 29 2024:

Finally got out for the first time in 2 weeks, as I was away for a short trip to NYC during the previous week. For this outing, I brought my youngest son Zev along to fish for stocked brook trout, on a small lake that had its annual ice fishing derby a couple days prior to us going. I had gone their after the derby a couple years ago, and the brook trout they stocked we quite sizeable, and very easy to catch. I planned to fish to worm/jig rods, one tip up baited with live worms, nd jig a small w2 jigging rap.

We got to the lake by mid morning. There were a couple deer waiting for us at the parking area.

Started off fishing in very shallow water, mainly 3-5 feet deep. After close to an hour with no bites on any of the lines. I moved deeper, and within 15 minutes of so, I caught the first trout of the outing. Fish hit a stationary worm line in about 7 feet of water.

Shortly after, Zev caught his first trout of the year. Being a video game junkie, I think he enjoyed using the flasher.

The bite was on, we landed our 10 trout limit within less than 3 hours, with Zev catching the biggest one to end the outing.

While not enough trout in the limit to spell "2024", we came up with the next best idea.

Unfortunately, it seem like the derby organizers decided to stock a smaller class of brook trout this year. Short but fun outing, and we have some tasty fillets in the freezer to enjoy over the next couple weeks. 

Sunday, December 24, 2023

First ice fishing outing of the winter

Finally got out to do some fishing for the first time in 2 months. I'd say this is about the longest spell I've gone without fishing in over 15 years.

Starting this winter, I'm planning to  modify my blogging style a bit. Posts will lean more towards the technical aspects and results of the given outings, instead of the "play by play" style I've been using.

For this outing, my plan was to hit s small lake filled with mainly largemouth bass, along with some perch and smallmouth bass as well, hoping to start off my winter by harvesting a bag limit of smaller largemouth bass. With a lot of trekking to do, and anticipating having to drill many holes to find fish, I opted to use my 6 inch manual Fin Bore auger due to it's ultra light weight making it a breeze to hand drill all day. With the help of my flasher, I planned to stick to jigging 1 lure all day, a small Yo Zuri Rattlenvibe tipped with a live mealworm.


Outer temp above freezing at 2C. Wind 5 KM/H. Cloudy. 7-8 inches of ice, 1 inch snow cover.


Fished 54 holes in 6 hours. Tough bite starting at mid morning major until afternoon minor. During that time, I landed 5 largemouth bass, 1 smallmouth bass, and 3 perch. All caught between 29 and 32 feet of depth, suspended 3 feet or so from bottom.

At my 48th hole , during the afternoon minor, with about 90 minutes remaining to the outing, I hit the motherload. 4 of 6 next holes produced additional 14 largemouth bass, 1 smallmouth bass, and 2 more perch. Shallowest bite of the day, these were all caught between 24 and 28 feet of depth, schooling and very aggressive, chasing lure 8-10 feet up from bottom.

Total for the day ended at 19 largemouth bass, 2 smallmouth bass, and 5 perch. With that amount of manual drilling, I didn't need to wear my coat at all, stayed warm just wearing sweater and bibs.

Harvested my 6 largemouth bass limit,  release the rest as well as the smallmouth bass. Perch mostly riddled with white worms and black spots, kept only 1 perch.

Two days later, I headed back for more bass fishing on same lake. Started off fishing my old holes for the first 90 minutes or so, as they were still open due to warm weather. Managed another bag limit of largemouth bass within the first 45 minutes or so, but they were a bit deeper this time, mainly in the 30 to 35 foot range. Still biting suspended.

I then drilled about 40 holes over the next 3.5 hours, most of them in spots I normally don't get to due to heavy snow cover. Deepest spot on the lake I found was 61 feet, and to my surprise, I pulled a couple perch out of that depth. Deepest perch I've ever caught.


Caught a pretty deep smallmouth bass as well, at 40 feet.

Final tally for the day was 12 largemouth bass, 3 smallmouth bass, and 9 perch. All on same rattlenvibe rattle bait lure tipped with mealworm.

Harvested a few more fish for my freezer as well.

Found this cool frozen crayfish on my way out.

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

My 2023 carp fishing season

Another season of slower than usual carp fishing as far as hours spent on the bank in 2023. Didn't do any guiding for carp, and when I did get out to fish for carp, it was mainly short outings of 2-3 hours at a time. Still, I did manage some very nice catches, as well as a significant number of by-catches.

Apr 16 2023:

My first outing of the season, to my usual early season spot right after ice out. Mission was to land at least 1 carp in the frigid water not long after ice out, and to harvest, debone and cook it into something palatable. Mission accomplished, carp fell for one of my Fireball boilies. You can read more by clicking here.

Water remained cold through the first part of May, but i still managed to catch a few more carp, during a couple evening outings a a spot I pre-baited. Best baits were Fireball boilies mixed with range cubes fished on bottom, and Fireball popup boilies.

A couple weeks later, with warmer water temperature, I started pre-baiting for carp again. On my first outing, I was surprised by catching my first couple tench during a short outing with my son. The tench seemed to favor my Sweet Dream boilies over any other bait I was fishing with.

Not much of a fight from tench on rods and reels geared for monster carp, but was nice landing a new species for a change. During the next couple days, we landed a few more carp on Sweet Dream boilies mixed with range cubes, and  this nice fatty on the same rig switched up to a Fireball boilie :

Again, a few more tench were mixed in, seemed like they were getting onto my feed and slowly out competing / pushing out the carp from my fishing spot.

After taking a good 5-6 weeks off of prebaiting due to a few fishing vacations out of town, I started again late in July. Unfortunately, the bait drew in more tench and some channel catfish. At that point, I gave up on that spot for the rest of the season, and determined to focus my time mainly on float tube fishing for bass and pike until the end of summer.

I did get out for one more carp outing in August, back to a spot that doesn't need any prebaiting. Goal for that trip was to put Audrey (my son's girlfriend) onto her first carp. We were successful, and she managed to catch a few carp on a mix of Fireball and Sweet Dream boilies. We even started the day with a double header, first time in a while that that has happened.

As September rolled in, I was ready to start pre-baiting another spot for carp. Hoping to avoid schools of annoying invasive tench, I focused my efforts far from where I had fished earlier in the season. First, night fishing outing at the spot, I landed a whopping 5 carp as well as a sucker and channel catfish. Bite was nonstop, and I would have stayed for more fish, had I had more time. Carp were hitting a mix of Fireball and Sweet Dream popups boilies pegged with fake corn. This nice trophy sized carp was the biggest of the outing.

Hoping to replicate the action the following evening, I went back with a friend. Surprisingly, only one channel catfish came to play, no carp at all...

After a 2 week break, I decided to pre-bait another spot where I had some limited success catching carp last fall. Unfortunately, that spot didn't work out either, we ended up getting skunked. 

After taking a good 4 weeks off of carping, and very little fishing in general, I started pre-baiting another spot for mid October. First outing resulted in a decent size sized carp, and another one that cut my line in the rocks. A few days later, I returned after some more pre-baiting. Started by rigging my hookbait with double boilies, mixing one Fireball with one Sweet Dream flavor.  First fish of the day was an absolute beast of a carp, measuring 40 inches and weighing 36.4 lbs! 

By far, my biggest carp of the season up until that point. I then caught a couple more back to back carp in the mid twenties before I was forced off the water due to high wind bringing in huge beds of floating weeds that kept fouling my presentation.

The following week was very busy for me again, but I made the time to do a bit more pre-baiting at the same spot. I finally fished it a few days later, and the bites were instant. Within 5-7 minutes of my first cast, I landed my fist of the day, nice carp over 25.5 lbs that hit a double popup boilie rig. Fireball and black magic pegged with fake corn.

Less than 10 minutes after casting again, my line went off, and I landed this obese 29 lbs carp.

That one fell for a single fireball popup boilie pegged with fake corn. Another 10 minutes later, I got a false run, and then the bite ided down completely, nothing else for two hours. All in all, I fish only 3 times in October, each outing was about 3 hours long. By far the lest amount of time I've spent fishing in October, but those few hours were magical, with all the carp ranging from mid twenties to upper thirties.

I had planned to go out again in November, but that didn't happen. The carp wintering spot I normally fish at before freeze up, will have to wait until next season. Looking forward to hitting first ice as soon as it's safe enough.

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Float tube fishing - 2023 season

 Another season of float tube fishing is in the books. did a bit less exploring fishing from my float tube in 2023, but still managed to put in some decent time, and land a good number of bass and some pike mixed in.

Noticed a significant leak in my float tube during my first outing in May, luckily I had a spare inner tube at home, as I was not able to find any more online for my float tube model, which is the Cumberland from Classic Accessories. It's been out of stock for the entire season...

After catching a few small pike in May, I finally made it to some of my favorite bass spots. Threw mainly PopR's when the weather permitted, otherwise a mix of spinners, spybaits and Rapala J9's for smallmouth bass. As for largemouth bass, again the PopR, as well as spinnerbaits, and walking mullet (topwater / walk the dog) lure. Bonus were a few pike mixed in, mainly on a spinnerbait.

Here are a few of of my float tubing fishing pics from the 2023 fishing season:

Already looking forward to 2024!


Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Shore fishing in Bermuda

Back from my first ever cruise, courtesy of my in laws, who set up a mega family event for their 50th wedding anniversary. Basically, 35 of us boarded a cruise ship in New York, then sailed to Bermuda, where we docked for a few days, before sailing back to New York.

While various family members of various ages has all sort of outing planned on the island, I simply brought along a telescopic bass rod with a few lures and some terminal tackle. 

My plan was to give shore fishing in Bermuda a decent shot, and at worse case possibly going out on a mixed or private charter, in case the shore fishing was tough or non existent.

Turns out that I didn't have much to worry about. I had access to deep water in walking distance of our ship, which is where I ended up spending the entirety of my off board time.

Day 1:

We docked at the naval dockyard, which is a tiny strip on the Northwest side of the island. Getting off the ship, I noticed some areas near the tour boats where fishing was not allowed, so I ventured a bit further away. I tied on a a small jig and rubber grub, much like I'd use for walleye or bass, and within a few casts, I landed my first fish. Turned out to be a Red Hind, apparently a member of the grouper family. Nothing big, but a very welcome start to my Bermuda fishing adventure.

A couple casts later, I hooked into another fish, this one ended being a snakefish, also known as lizardfish.

Check the set on teeth on these critters

After catching some more red hinds, I caught a squirrelfish. Giant eyes on these.

After seeing some small bar jacks swimming by near surface in deeper water, I tried fishing for them without any success. Eventually, I decided to cast back to the shallower rocks where I started, and caught some more red hinds.

At this point, I decided to make my way to the other side of the dockyard, after a pit stop on the ship for some food and water. I found a small shop on pier 41 that sold frozen bait, and picked up a small box of frozen squid. 

Working my way along the industrial section of the dockyard area, I stopped to fish off the sides of the concrete structure. The water off the wall is a straight drop into a good 25-30 feet of water, which is clear enough to be able to see at least 20 feet below the surface. 

I baited a jighead with some squid, and on the first drop, clouds of colorful fish of all sizes swarmed my jig. Didn't take long too hook up, and I landed a species of wrasse the locals named "slippery dick", due to it's extremely slimy texture secreted when trying to escape being held. 

Good fight, and super colorful fish.

Next drop off the wall caught me a blue striped grunt, which turned out to end up being the majority of what was biting over the next couple days. 

As it was small enough and legal to use as bait, I tossed it out to deeper water, and within a minute or so, I got a nice hit form something bigger that cut through my 25 lbs flouro leader within a couple seconds. Most likely a barracuda, as apparently, there aren't any sharks in the area I was fishing.

Caught many more bluestriped grunt off that spot, as well as some more red hinds, wrasse, squirrelfish, and a small barred hamlet.

Eventually, I made my way around the deep water structure, and found a old decaying wooden wharf. Again, giant schools of fish schooled up under it, mainly blue striped grunts, as well as some decent lane snappers.

Again, I decided to use some of the smaller grunt for bait. I managed to catch 1 needlenose fish and small barracuda, but was unable to land them due to being about 7 feet higher than the water. Both fish came off when I tried to lift them from that height, so no pictures, but I did enjoy a decent fight with the barracuda.

After a while decided to cast some lures, managing some follows form various jacks, but unfortunately, no takers. No topwater action, all interest came while twitching jerkbaits at moderate to high speeds.

Eventually, I decided to work my way back towards the ship, stopping at the spot where I had most of my success earlier on. Some bigger fish had moved in, I managed to lane a nice Bermuda bream.

After a more of a mixed bag of smaller fish of the species I was getting used to, I hooked into something bigger near bottom. After a good fight, I landed a nice sized triggerfish.

Released it after a couple quick pics, as the ship would not allow us to bring any fish on board.

That ended my first day of fishing in Bermuda...

Day 2:

After my success on the first day, I planned to hit the same areas using more grunts as bait in hope of possibly catching some bigger fish. This time, I started at the dock shop to pick up some more squid, as well as some bigger saltwater hooks to rig on heavier fluorocarbon leaders. 

I then headed for the wharf, where I had caught the barracuda and needlenose fish the previous day. Unfortunately, the few jacks I saw weren't interested in eating anything bigger than the tiny minnows busting surface every now and then. 

Eventually, I got bored of catching mainly smaller grunts there, and headed under the road bridge along a small stream, and came out onto the surf. Climbing some treacherous coral rocks, I was able to find some spots to cast jerkbaits into the crashing waves for the first time during my trip. Fish had other plans though, and all I managed was some more follows from small schools of jacks.

Decided to work my way back towards the other side of the dockyard. Stopped at my deepwater hotspot, landed some more red hinds, and another nice Bermuda bream. A few more shots at jack resulted in one missed hit a few more follows.

After stocking up on some more water and cold beer at the dock shop, I headed back to where I had started fishing on Day 1. This time, I opted to cast a perch pattern Rapala xrap for the first time during the trip. 

I fished a wide deepwater pass, where all the boat and yachts pass through to get from the dockyard to the big water and rest of the island. 

Twitching and ripping the lure at a fast pace, I hooked up within a few casts. The fish made one of the most blistering runs I have ever experienced on light tackle, I'd say similar to bonefish. After turning around and running towards me, the fish then ran real fast again, I was starting to question if I had enough line with 400+ feet of braid on my spool. I thought I had hooked into a big jack or possibly a bonefish, but after finally managing to subdue and land the fish, I was surprised to see it was Little Tunny, also know as False Albacore or "Alby".

I had no clue these fish had that much power, apparently, they run at over 65 km/h! Unfortunately, the fish had a treble hook embedded deep into it's gill, as wasn't going to survive. I kept it, unsure of whether or not it was edible, but hoping it was going to be similar to blackfin Tuna, as it looked sort of similar and they are a related species.

After about 10 to 15 minutes of casting the area hoping for another one, I decided to make my way back towards the ship, hoping I could get some more more insight from one of the locals.

Sure enough, as I passed the first tugboat, the two workers on board saw me carrying the Alby, and came over to talk. Turns out that very few people eat them, and only if they are immediately bled and iced. As it had been about 20 minutes in the heat, the Alby was basically good for bait now. I offered it to one of them, who happily accepted it to use for bait after work.

Both Trey and Ryan grew up fishing in Bermuda, and were able to identify most of the fish I caught from my pictures, better so than some of the others I had asked about them up until that point. We made small talk about fishing, and honestly, I could have kept talking, but they were in middle of work, their boss passed by a couple times, and I was running out of daylight to keep fishing. 

Managed one more snakefish on the xrap, and made my way back toward our ship. Just before getting there, I noticed a small crowd had gathered around a shallow pool near a ship, and one of them called me over seeing my rod. There was a big school of small bar jacks swimming in circles, and I hooked up immediately as I cast into it.

Shortly after, I was finally holding my first Bermuda jack, though it was a lot smaller than what I had hoped for...

I assumed that was it for the day, and boarded the ship. 

My room was located on the port side of the ship over deep water, and later that night, my younger son and I were sitting out on our small balcony while everyone else was out enjoying the ships various entertainment venues. 

I looked down and noticed that they had turned on the deck light, about 50 feet above the surface of the ocean. In the kight, we saw hundreds of jacks busting the surface, chasing tiny minnows. I got the crazy idea of making out way down to the deck, and trying to hook a jack off the side of the ship. Easier said than done, but I did manage to cast to a good hundred or so fish, that kept circling or chasing my lure. Unfortunately, not one hit!

At least I have a good story to tell...

Day 3:

I originally planned to spend the last day at the beach with my younger son, while the rest of the group went on a sightseeing / shopping excursion to Hamilton. However, their plans changed, and they all opted to take a private shuttle to the beach. Being that it was my last day, and I hadn't stepped foot onto the main island, I did consider going with them... for a few minutes. 

Then my fisherman instinct kicked in, and headed out to try a half day of exclusive casting. LOL

I started off casting the area where I had caught the Alby, only to get a few more snakefish and a couple red hinds on the xrap.

I then made my way over to some other spots, just waiting to sight fish big schools of jack busting the surface for minnows. I did get plenty of good opportunities at them casting from various angles, but again, all I got were lots of follows and swirls, but no hits.

Made another stop at the docks shop for some beer and rum.

Finally, I decided to avoid the crowds and board the ship early, as we were sailing back to New York by mid afternoon.

All in all, I'd say my Bermuda shore fishing experience was one of my better DIY saltwater fishing trips. I landed 53 fish of 13 species, and missed countless others. I managed to outfish most of the locals that I ran into by far, only downside was that I didn't get to experience fishing anywhere else on the island, let alone anything else Bermuda had to offer.

On the flip side, that would have meant renting a scooter and devoting more time to exploring than fishing, and being that we were in Bermuda for a total of 2.5 days, I was sort of shot on time.

Oh well, the Bermuda beaches and exploring will have to wait for next time, if ever that happens.