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Sunday, June 29, 2014

Big bass at Mijocama outfitter

Headed up North for my yearly bass fishing trip with the kids, to Mijocama outfitter up in the upper Gatineau region of Quebec. I have been fortunate enough to be able to fish Mijocama at least once a year since 2002, the natural beauty of the place and the big largemouth bass keep me dreaming of returning every summer.

My dad was feeling a bit old this year, so he didn't come along for the first time since he started coming with us back in 2005 or 2006. I brought along my 4 boys, and no one else in our deluxe chalet, so ample room for all. We rented 2 boats, I ran one boat with the Levi and Eli, and my elder son Ari ran his boat with his brother Avi.

Day 1:

Nice weather, we arrived around 10:30 AM, got the boats set up and started fishing shortly after 11 AM. Levi and I opted to throw some topwater lures, while Eli used a worm. He caught the only fish, a nice chunky sunfish:

As our cabin was ready early, we headed to our dock to unload and have some lunch. We were ready to fish by mid afternoon, I opted use some worms for a bit before heading out for the topwater bite later that evening. Didn't take long, landed this beauty of a bass on my 3rd cast:

Nothing like landing a 4 lbs bass within the first few hours of fishing a weeklong trip! They don't get much bigger up there, so I was fairly sure that the big bass would end up being the lunker for the trip. Ari did well too, he managed a nice 3.5 lbs bass later in the evening.

Levi and Eli both enjoy fishing topwater lures, despite the average bass being smaller than what we would typically be able to catch on worms of soft plastics at Mijocama. I'm pretty much the same, preferring a topwater catch to a dozen subsurface fish. Levi and I challenged each other to see which of us could land more fish using the same topwater lure. We opted to start of using a Pop R, one of my most successful topwater lures at Mijocama over the years. I gave my self a handicap, letting Eli do much of the retrieving and fighting all catches I would hook.

After landing a couple small bass, Levi finally managed to get on the board with his own first bass of the trip:

Nothing huge, but better than nothing. We kept at it, eventually saw a big splash in the trees just behind us. I prompted Levi to cast there. Try as he could, he kept missing the spot. After 10-12 failed attempts, he started casting elsewhere. I took advantage, cast my Pop R right into the spot, and got a nice hit within seconds. Handed the rod to Eli, he brought the fish in very nicely, fighting it out of the trees with some guidance.

Needless to say, Levi was kicking himself for not casting there again... Tally ended up 3-1 in our favor for the evening.

Day 2:

Another nice day, everyone was up for the morning bite.Again, we opted to use only topwater lures on our boat, starting over the challenge. Ari and Avi went subsurface, and ended up doing much better than us, landing some more big ones.

Back at the dock, we started noticing lots of snakes, much more than in previous seasons. We took advantage of them as they were sunning themselves lazily in the hot sun, made them easy enough to catch. We started with a nice garter snake:

Followed by a mid size Northern water snake:

Eventually, we left them alone, and kids started dock fishing for sunfish. Eli noticed a big snapping turtle, he decided to temp it with his worm. Surprisingly enough, the big turtle went for the worm, and Eli hooked it as it did. We wasn't prepared for that sort of fight on light tackle, luckily I was nearby and netted the snapper:

Later that evening, I decided to try an area of the lake I don't usually fish, It's a large shallow mudflat, just where the lake end and turns to swamp. As opposed to the rest of the deep lake which is mainly sunken trees, this area is all mud and shallow weeds. Following out topwater theme, I decided to teach Levi how to use weedless frogs. We both tied on Spro frogs, and re-started our competition. As we got deeper into the slop, Levi missed a couple hits, and I managed to hook up a small bass, about 13-14 inches. The bass took the frog deep down, and gave us a nice run and a couple jumps before I horsed it out of the grass and onto the boat.

We eventually headed back to our regular spots as evening rolled in, and we decided to restart the competition using Lucky 13's. Again, Levi missed a couple hits, and so did I, until I hooked into the only landed catch of the evening. Again, Eli landed it without any problem. 

Ari caught caught some more bass on his boat as well. We made a nice bonfire along with mandatory fireworks that night, and hit the sack just before a big storm rolled in.

Day 3: 

We woke up to pouring rain, so didn't plan to fish until it stopped. Eventually called home to find out that the rain was to fall all day and into the night. Kids spent the day playing Risk and Monopoly, as well as catching up on much needed sleep. I did see some boat head out, the anglers all dressed in heavy raingear. I didn't bring any along, but decided to fish the rain wading in my shorts, as the water was quite warm. The move paid off big time, I landed 4 bass within 1/2 hour, 3 of them over 3 lbs:

Excellent results, far better than I had imagined, many others on the lake seemed to be having a tough time catching anything.

Day 4:

My wrist was started to get sore from all the Pop R twitching and casting, as I aggravated an old injury. Levi wasn't catching much either, so we decided to try worms again. Unfortunately, fishing was very slow, we only managed some sunfish and very small bass.

Later that afternoon, Ari to Levi and Eli on a tour of the lake, plucking lost lures other had left behind in the trees. I offered Avi to head out to fish for a while, as he hadn't had any luck at all on Ari's boat. We pulled up to one of my usual bass spots on on the lake. I fished surface, and advised him to go deep to see if either of us could find any bass. Didn't take long, he got a nice hit on his jig, but the fish spit the hook before we were able to get a good look at it, seemed bigger than usual. He sent his line back down, and within a minute or so, the fish came back for it. As he fought it to the surface, we realized it was a Northern pike, nice bonus if we could land it before it cut the line which had no leader. Avi did a good job, and he landed his first fish of the trip:

I headed back to fillet the pike and prepare supper. As Ari had landed a small pike earlier in the day, Levi decided to try his luck on Ari's boat, so I had only Eli for the evening bite. Again, I took the time to explain and have him practice with one of the popping lures he'd found in the trees. Was actually surprised at his accurate casting, quite impressive for an 8 year old. Eventually, he couldn't cast any more due to fatigue, and the fishing was very slow. Luckily for us, they decided to turn on just before dark, around 8:30 PM. After landing a small one, this beauty of a topwater bass took the Pop R shortly before dark.

Eli's smile says it all, he really enjoyed fight that bass. Unfortunately for Levi, another surprise pike cut his line at boatside, Ari estimated it to weigh about 6 lbs or so. Ari and Avi both landed some more bass, fishing with worms.

Day 5:

Hottest day, but also turned our to be the slowest day, which is quite surprising for Mijocama fishing. From past experience, the hotter it gets, the better the bass fishing at Mijocama gets. But fishing is fishing and fish will throw the odd curve ball once in a while. Levi left back home with a friend after lunch, due to limited space in my car. Ari was the only one that managed any decent fish all day, landing a nice 4 lbs pike in the morning, and a 3 lbs bass in the evening.

We packed it in early the next day, and headed home. 

Mijocama is one of the only outfitters in the entire province of Quebec to offer bass fishing. Due to the short season and limited capacity, we book 1 year in advance each year, in order to ensure our chalet being available. Mijocama offers great rates, friendly service, and best of all, big bass. Though the fishing is tough at times, it becomes magical when the fish turn on and you get a hot bite for a few days, sometimes 1 week at a time.

I highly recommend Mijocama outfitter as a prime destination for trophy bass fishing and family fishing trips. For more information on Mijocama outfitter, or to contact them, click

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