Back in June I participated in my first kayak fishing tournament on the Richelieu River. The tournament was organized by the guys from QUE-YAK.CA and I have to say they did a great job organizing the tournament and getting all the sponsors and prizes together. I didn’t do very well in the tournament but I thought I would share what it was like fishing the Richelieu River that day.
The event was held at the Sleepy Hollow campground where we all launched our boats from the beach. I’m not sure if you can launch your boat from that area so I would contact the campground before you make your way up there but I have included a map of the campground location.
Based on some research I decided to go towards ash island but once out on the water I realized that it would be a tough day since it was very windy and I was getting tossed around all day. Here’s a map on the area I fished: the red stars represent where I caught fish but I also added a yellow star to show where some of the other particpants caught big bass.
I started the day off fishing with a weedless jig and plastic craw but switched up to a square bill crank bait when fishing around some of the docks. Most of my catches turned out to be small rock bass that day but the big bass of the day was caught by casting the jig into some branches from a downed tree.
Overall it was a tough day of fishing and although I didn’t do so good in the tournament I still had a great time participating and exploring a new fishing spot.
Here’s video of the trip I made last June when I revisited Yamaska Park: one of my favorite kayak fishing spots for perch and smallmouth. It was mid June and didn’t know quite what to expect on this trip but thought it would be good day since the temp was in the low twenty centigrade and the sun was out.
I used the Parks Quebec Card which gives you unlimited access to all the SEPAQ parks for approximately 70$. If you use the card approximately 10 times it pays for itself.
When I first arrived I noticed the wind was blowing towards the shore oposite the beach. I launched my kayak and paddled toward that direction. I knew there were perch in the area so started fishing with a tinsel jig but instead of perch, my lure kept getting hit by one bass after another. Since it was the bass that were hitting that tinsel jig I decided to change to a Rapala perch colored shallow diving plug to see if I could pull out some bigger fish and I did get some bigger smallies on that lure. On the way back to the beach I fished along the rocky dam and did get some medium size prech using the tinsel jig tipped with a worm but decided not to keep any that day.
Here’s a map of the area I fished. The red stars represent areas where I caught bass and the green star shows the area where I caught some perch. I have also included a short video of some of the fish I caught that day.
It was mid August when I decided to take a weekend trip to ZEC Lavigne. A ZEC (zones d’exploitation contrôlée) is a wilderness controlled harvesting zone run by a non profit organization. Basically you can do the same thing in a ZEC as in a national park which is hunt, fish and camp but at a lower cost. However, the camping accommodations in a ZEC are more modest and the roads are not exactly smooth, but then again the goal is to get out and enjoy nature so you deal with it.
ZEC Lavigne is approximately one and a half hours from Montreal and makes for a nice day trip. You’ll be required to check in at one of the offices before you can access the ZEC and to purchase a fishing permit and access rights. There is also a camping fee if you are planning to camp overnight. Since my plan was to fish for two days and camp overnight the total cost of my trip was approximately 80$. The same trip to a national park would cost you about 160$. Besides the price, the advantage of a ZEC is that if you can camp pretty much anywhere and it’s less crowded than a national park.
At ZEC Lavigne there are different lakes for different fish species, so at check in time make sure you tell the attedant what you are there to fish and also don’t forget to confirm catch limits as you will have to report the species caught and numbers when you leave the ZEC. You might also want to buy a map of the ZEC since there aren’t many road signs once in the ZEC and a GPS can also be useful.
In my case I spent two days fishing for trout so my two days were spent on lake…. once I got to the lake there was only one car parked at the boat launch and I could unload my Kayak right next to the water . Once I got out on the water I had the whole lake pretty much to myself which was great. Once on the water you will notice that there are some cabins along the shore but when I was there there weren’t many people around.
Since I’ve never fished this lake I wanted to cover the most water possible, so I tried the standard technique everyone uses for trout on these lakes-trolling a flasher with a two foot fluorocarbon leader and worm on a live bait hook. This is not a bad technique if the fish are close to the surface and you have a motor to troll up and down the lake all day but in a kayak it got tiring. During the trolling I kept an eye on my fish finder to get an idea of the overall layout of the lake and I would also stop and cast a small spinner on my ultralight setup to see if I could get lucky . But overall the first day was a bust and I got little consolation from one of the other guys on the lake when he told me that the day before there were a few guys that caught their quota. On the other hand since it was a hot day I should have known better and should have payed more attention to my fish finder since on a few occasions I got hits in the very distinct layer of cold water deeper in the lake.
During my exporation of the lake I found an island where I could setup camp for the night with the hope that things would go better the next day. Here are a few pictures of my camp site and the lake the next morning.
On my second day I tried trolling a small trout colored plug close to the surface in the morning and then deep once the sun started coming up and the day started to get hot. Again without much luck but with my many trips paddling on and down this lake I noticed a deep area next to a seep rocky drop-off where the fish seemed to congregate at about 20 feet. So I decided to give up trolling and moved my new favorite technique when the fish aren’t biting and that’s drop shot. I setup my drop shot rod with a half of a night crawler and started exploring the area and just as I was about to throw in the towel SUCCESS!!! I caught a nice 15 inch trout which I decided to keep for dinner later that night.
So overall if you are looking for a great quiet place to enjoy nature and spend some alone time this is the place for you at least when I was there. However since you will be in a more remote area without cell service prepare accordingly and bring your favorite bug repellent since there are plenty mosquitoes and biting flies.
Yamaska National Park is located close to Grandy, Quebec and about an hour and a half hour drive from Montreal. Even though I have been to Yamaska national park before on two other occasions I have never before fished the Réservoir Choinière from a kayak. I should preface this post by saying that on my other two visits fishing the reservoir weren’t very successful for various reasons but based on my last experience it seems is was mainly to do with my choice of fishing location.
I set out on Sunday July 7th, the temp was in the mid twenties and that wind speed was minimal at 10 Kph wind basically a great day for kayaking. Even though I had planned on waking up really early to get to the park around eight things didn’t quite work out that way and ended up leaving the house around 8:30. Once I arrived at the park around 10 am the first thing that surprised me was the 13.50$ entry fee which I really wasn’t expecting since in the past this fee was only 6.50$ and still is in other national parks.
After a short drive from the entrance I parked and started loading my gear into the kayak. One thing that you might notice from some pictures on this site is that my kayak setup is a bit heavy on gear also the fact that my home made kayak cart prototype didn’t quite work made getting to the water challenging. The main thing you should know is that you will need a kayak cart to get to the water especially if you are alone and load all your gear into your boat since the water is about 100 meters from the parking over grass and some uneven terrain. Once you get to the water there is a nice sandy beach to launch your boat.
Once on the water you will notice that there are no power boats since power boats are not allowed on the reservoir. I finally got out on the water at about 10:30 probably not the best time to be out on the water but hey you do the best you can with what you got. In most locations water temp was in the low twenties to high teens. Since this was an exploratory trip I wasn’t quite sure what species of fish I would find I decided to start out with an ultralight setup with a small jig to see if I could get some perch or some smallmouth bass I has also setup and medium rod with a plug for trolling.
Sarting out I decided to use the troll and stop strategy and fish in a horseshoe starting from the beach then along the rocky part of the dam and finishing with the few bays located opposite the beach.
Going from location to location I was trolling a Rapala perch pattern flat rap and decide to use a small 1/8oz jighead with a soft plastic grub for casting out close to the weeds. On the way to my first location I got a few hits on my fishfinder around a depth of 20 feet and noticed that I hit depths of up to 60 feet in some locations.My first stop was right after the beach where I decided to try a few casts around some vegetation and after a few hits I landed a small perch.
Moving along the rocky dam wall there is steep increase in depth and early in the day not much on the sonar or on the line. Moving past the dam I hit the few bays across from the beach where I though I would defiantly hit some panfish and I was right. Using small VMC tinsel jigs tipped with knightcawler it started with some hits from some small fish and then got a decent size sunfish. The fun part was you could see the sunfish really going after that jig when it got close to the boat. Then moving along the shore in the same location I got some decent size perch and a smallmouth bass.
Later during the day things got windy and a bit rainy so decided to head back towards the dam wall to try my luck again. The trolling didn’t yield any results on the way back but got some hits on the fish finder at the drop-off around the dam so decided to try some vertical jigging using a bigger jig and grub but with no results.
So after a day of paddling and trying different things I would definitely go for round two on the reservoir to explore some other areas to see what other species are there. If you’re looking for perch and smallmounth you can definitely find them and from what I’ve seen the fishing pressure is low and most people fish from shore around the dam . I know that the access fee is a bit steep but if you are looking for some quite fishing spots and a nice environment I would definitely recommend recommend you visit Yamaska national park for fun day of fishing. The park is also a great option for a family day where you can go out on the water and the family can have fun at the beach and everyone can get together for a nice BBQ at lunch time.