Montreal fishing spots

Montreal fishing spots

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Friday, March 29, 2019

My view of bowfishing

Received an interesting message by email yesterday. The individual that sent it was interested in particular laws regarding bowfishing around Montreal, and even offered to have me come out with him on his boat to give it a try, in exchange for some tips on where to locate fish to shoot around Montreal.

Though I don't get into many debates or discussions on the topic any more, I have witnesses the destruction that reckless bowfishing can lead to.

Here is what I replied:

"I don't know much about laws (federal, provincial, municipal) relating to archery or discharging a bow. As far as bowfishing, most of the rough species (carp, gar, bowfin, catfish, etc).tend to be open year round, but check the rules (below) to make sure.

I personally don't condone bow fishing unless it for human consumption purposes. I cherish trophy sized carp, and do my utmost to release them unharmed, so they can spawn and live to fight when they grow bigger. When fishing with clients that want to keep carp, I tell them to release anything over 20 lbs and keep smaller ones, as many as they want, etc.

While I understand the perspective of bow fisherman that want to target the biggest possible fish, I don't support it. Many of these species are especially vulnerable near the surface when water warms in the spring, and especially during the spawn, when they are visible.

I'm going to pass on the offer (to bowfish with you). My suggestion is that you get a good understanding of bowfishing species and rules in the zone you plan to target. Just make sure you know what you are shooting as far as species and sizes, and hopefully, you'll consider letting the big ones live.

Here is what the Quebec rules say:

Fishing with bows or crossbows or spearfishing while swimming

In most zones, fishing with a bow or crossbow is permitted, as is spearfishing while swimming (snorkeling or diving with our without a diving apparatus). However, such fishing gear is prohibited for salmon, striped bass, landlocked salmon, muskellunge, lake trout and sturgeon. Bow, crossbow and spear are also prohibited for any fish species at the following sites:
  • in zones 17 and 22 to 24;
  • in water bodies reserved for fly fishing;
  • in salmon rivers;
  • within 500 m downstream from any point at the mouth of a salmon river in zones 18 to 20, 27 and 28, or from a salmon river in zone 21 located on the north shore of the St. Lawrence River.
Allowing exception, it is also forbidden to fish walleye with bows or crossbow or spearfishing while swimming in zones 3 to 16 and 26 to 28. 

Fishing striped bass with bows or crossbows or spearfishing while swimming is forbidden in all zones."

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