St. Lawrence River Carpin’

Although it’s only been a few days since I’ve arrived back home, I am still replaying the amazing weekend of carp fishing I had. What a rush! It was easily one of my favourite fishing experiences yet and I didn’t even have to travel far. Booked in for three days at Mille Roche Campground on the Canadian side of the St. Lawrence River, I knew I was in-store for a great weekend of fishing but it went down even better than I had anticipated. Eric joined me on this trip and the moment we arrived at our waterfront campsite, the relaxation set in and the fishing and fun began.

Mille Roche

Mille Roche Campground on the St. Lawrence River.

Greeted by Debbie and Claude, a very sweet couple from Quebec, our site was situated across from theirs and fishing was the instant conversation starter. They too enjoy dropping a line in while visiting the campground each year in their camper trailer. Leading up to the trip I had been posting about my excitement on social media and even connected with another angler who was also going to be fishing at the park. Jamie, along with his friend Craig traveled from Toronto for this trip which was also an annual outing for them. Both are very experienced carp anglers from England who had immigrated to Canada and absolutely love it here.

I knew before going on this trip that carp fishing is untapped in Canada, but after talking to Jamie and Craig, I couldn’t even believe just how BIG carp fishing is in the UK! It is easily comparable to the bass fishing industry in North America, can you believe that?! They graciously provided me with some magazines to take home. Never until now have I seen a magazine entirely dedicated to carp fishing. I think it’s wonderful and can’t wait to read up!

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Carpworld and Carpology magazines from the UK.

Eric and I arrived Friday afternoon and immediately began setting up our rods and equipment along the shoreline. I was introduced to carp fishing by a friend a few years ago and have since been collecting more and more carp gear. Like any species, carp need to be geared up for but especially due to their power and size. They are easily one of the hardest fighting fish I’ve ever had on! It’s senseless to risk breaking your equipment or playing a fish too long which can result in the fish dying from exhaustion (this applies to any species). Twenty-pounders or greater are pretty average and these fish will rip around peeling tons of line. Bank sticks, bite alarms, large high capacity bait runner spinning reels spooled with 50lb Sufix 832 braided line, 12 foot, 3lb test curve rod, various carp rigs, landing mats, a carp net, weigh sling & more made for a very successful and effective weekend of carpin’! Learning from Jamie and Craig made the experience all the more enjoyable.

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Eric’s first fish of the trip.

Eric had the first bite on Friday evening. As he was fighting his fish and I was ready with the net, my rod went off! I dropped the net and booked it to my rod. I was so excited for the trip to start off with a double header! I sprinted to grab my rod and began reeling this fish in. I had it all the way to the net where it came off as Jamie was ready to help me land it. Dang! It was an unspoken team effort throughout the whole weekend as every time a fish was on. We helped each other land them, keep the fish wet, grab some photos and get the fish back in the water quickly. The respect Jamie and Craig showed to the fish was very admirable. It seems as though we made new friends the moment we arrived. Debbie and Claude occasionally came down from their trailer as well to check out the fish we were catching and laughing when we’d all sprint around grabbing our rods as the alarms went off even during the rainstorm on Friday evening.

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Jamie was next up for a fish, although they’d been at the park a few days prior to our arrival and had landed several fish already!

Jamie was next up with a fish and it wasn’t even close to his first of the trip. He and Craig had spent a few days at the park prior to our arrival and had been catching plenty.

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Craig with what he would describe as ‘a cracking fish!’ I love the carp lingo from these guys!

Eric landed another and then Craig followed up with this gorgeous fish. A lot of people find carp to be an unattractive fish and I’ll agree they have a unique look, but I love them! Massive scales, unique colour variations, cute moustaches and a fight like no other; I’m sure if you spent a day catching carp you may change your mind about them. Friday night produced some nice fish for the guys and unfortunately one missed chance for me and that was it. I wasn’t at all let down especially knowing so many fish were in the area because we could see them jumping constantly. I still had two more full days to redeem myself.

Sleeping in a tent, it was so nice waking up with the sunrise not knowing what time it was. We experienced a bit of rain on Friday but Saturday and Sunday were clear sunny days, perfect for sitting on shore and visiting while awaiting the excitement of the next bite.

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My first carp of the trip!

Saturday was a busy day with lots of fish being reeled in! I was so excited to land my first fish of the trip and it was a nice one at that! I started off the day using maize and after getting a few fish I didn’t want to switch it up. Leading up to the trip we prepared three boilie recipes but the corn bite seemed to be on pretty good, although the guys caught some of the larger fish on boilies.

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A 22-pounder!

My largest fish of the day (and the trip) was this 22-pounder! There aren’t many species around in Southeastern Ontario that crack 20 pounds as if it’s ‘no big deal’. It’s more uncommon to see smaller carp! These fish battled it out hard and at times my arms were a little sore but I loved every moment of it!

On Sunday I invited my parents to join us as neither of them had fished for carp before. My parents aren’t avid anglers by any means but they enjoy partaking in my passion and learning more each time we get out on the water. It’s become a great way to spend time together and fishing from shore relaxing in lawn chairs and chatting was a nice change of pace for all of us.

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Helping my mom position the fish for a photo. Landing mats are great to keep fish wet and to avoid injuries in the event they thrash around.

It didn’t take long at all for my mom to get the chance to reel in her first carp ever! She absolutely loved it. Although she was a little nervous at first to hold the fish, with a few pointers she came around by the time she caught another.

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My mom and I with her second carp.

Way to go, mom! It’s no easy feat reeling in a beast that size! She wasn’t afraid to help with holding this one. Sometimes larger fish just take a little time to warm up to handling and she did a great job.

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My dad and I with his first ever carp!

My dad was also pleased to get in on the carp fishing action and even said he’d love to make the trip again. I’d say that is a great sign and I’m so happy my parents were able to make it out for the day. Although we didn’t venture far off the campsite because we were so focused on fishing, it is a beautiful place to explore with several islands and various types of sites. The view was amazing to say the least.

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The view from our campsite.

With so many pictures of so many fish it’s hard to choose just a few but before I go I’ll post a few more. If you haven’t experienced the thrill of carp fishing, you’re simply missing out! What’s not to love about a screaming drag and heavy fish?! Thank you so much for a wonderful weekend: Eric, Jamie, Craig, Debbie and Claude and everyone at the park making our stay so enjoyable! And now for some more photos… I can’t wait to visit again!

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All fish were carefully handled using a landing mat and weigh sling. As with any fish of this size, carp shouldn’t be lifted too far off the ground because a drop can be damaging.

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All fish were released.

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LOL, can’t be serious all the time!

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