Sunset on the St. Lawrence

Sunset on the St. Lawrence

The idea of a Canadian fishing adventure  has been firmly implanted in my mind for as long as I can remember. For years I have listened to the stories of my dad’s fishing trips into the deep wilderness of Canada. Ever since I heard those stories I have wanted to have an adventure of my own. During this past winter my dream finally came to life as my dad and I began to set in motion what would surly be one of the biggest trips of my life. The destination was not hard to choose, the St. Lawrence River would be the venue we would fish. We got in contact with Paul Hunt, from Canadian Carpin in late spring, and the date was set for July 9th .

The next few months went by in a flash and before I knew it we were a few weeks away from our departure. The original plan had been to  leave on the 3rd and fish the St. Lawrence for a few days before we headed to Paul’s place, but after a few conversations between my father and  I we decided to take our adventure even further and head to the East Coast for the few days before our Canadian trip began. The quest?  Mirror carp. The choice of who to get in touch with on the East Coast was not a tough one either. I decided to contact fellow BCN teammate and big mirror guru Dean Brookes in order to get some information on areas to fish. Dean is an awesome guy and was quick to share any information that would help us out. With the whole trip planed out there was nothing left to do but sit back and wait for the 3rd to arrive!

 The car was packed on the morning of July 3rd and we left around lunch time, with an eleven hour drive to Massachusetts ahead  of us. We drove through the night and arrived in MA sometime in the early morning hours of the 4th.  When we arrived at our first planned swim we were greeted with high waters that left the swim completely flooded out and unfishable. After a quick chat with Dean it was on to plan B and we were back in the car for another hour drive to a different swim. The plan we came up with was to target two different swims about a half hour apart. One swim only produced at night, and Dean had warned us it would be an extremely hard venue to catch from, but the reward could be well worth the effort. The other swim we planed to only target during the day. It was not known for its size, but could definitely pump out some real stunners. With our plans finalized, we set up camp for our first night carping in MA.

A tough Lake to crack!

A tough Lake to crack!

 Dean was correct on the first swim being rather difficult. With three days of hard effort we were only rewarded with three runs, and one fish landed in the shape of a mid teen lightly scaled mirror. My father did lose what looked to be a very solid mirror to a hook pull mid fight, which was gutting. All in all we were glad we had challenged ourselves.

A hard earned mirror carp

A hard earned mirror carp

The second swim on the other hand was a huge success. Everyday we fished we hauled stunning little mirrors until we lost track of how many we had landed! Our last day fishing that venue was extremely memorable. We hauled fully scaled mirrors in the 8-10lb range all day long, and even with the lack of size, it was outstanding for us because we just don’t get mirrors in that quantity back in MI. The only thing I can say about the mirrors in MA, is that they are some of the most stunning fish I have ever had the pleasure of capturing in my life. The last day was extremely hard to end. We found ourselves wanting to land just a few more mirrors before we departed for Canada. Soon a rather nasty storm started to brew and we were forced to pack up and end our MA adventure on a rather good note.

Fully scaled mirrors are rare in most of the USA

Fully scaled mirrors are rare in most of the USA

Dad, getting in on the action

Dad, getting in on the action

We were back in the car, with another long drive through the night ahead of us. After about seven hours we found ourselves at Paul’s (Canadian Carping) doorstep around lunch time. Upon arrival we found that we were the first of the new group of anglers there. Paul’s wife Lisa was picking the rest of the anglers up from the airport and it would be a few hours before they arrived back. We did however meet Paul and two of the anglers who were doing three week trips. After introductions were made Paul showed us around the Manor, which we found to be an amazing estate! After the tour we got all of our luggage inside and then went to get our kit sorted out for the week. Once the gear was set, we took a look at the garden swim which is no less than a stones throw from the back of the Manor. One look into the deep clear water, and Paul’s offer to wet some lines could not have come soon enough! We spent the next few hours leading up to dinner hauling the famous, hard fighting commons of the St. Lawrence River. We had something like 7-8 fish with a few fish in the 20 to 22lb range. I can definitely concur with every single word that has ever been spoken about the fight the St. Lawrence fish put up, it is absolutely ridiculous! In no time at all the other anglers had arrived back from the airport. We introduced ourselves to all of them and sat down to a lovely meal prepared by Paul’s wife Lisa. After dinner, we stayed at the table exchanging fish tales for hours and found it hard to leave the conversation to go to bed!

A River Cottage common

A River Cottage common

  After the late night, the alarm clock wake up at 4am the next morning was rather unwelcome. First things first, we were downstairs for a quick breakfast. After breakfast we grabbed our  lunch prepared for us by Lisa, then we were off to the garden swim were we would be set up for the day. The rest of the anglers departed shortly after with Paul in the boat to be dropped off in other swims. It turned out to be another great day for us at the garden swim and we were happy to have the opportunity to chat with Paul throughout the day and get to know him better!

  The rest of the week passed in what seemed to be a bit of a blur, its funny how time flies when your having fun! During our week in Canada, we landed between 60 and 70 fish with most of them around the 20lb mark, and several in the mid twenties up to 26+lb. Even though we did not manage to land a 30+ during our trip, the way the St. Lawrence fish fight, it felt like we were hauling 30’s the whole time! Paul and Lisa were some of the most gracious hosts a guy could possibly ask for! Lisa prepared some of the best food I have had while I’ve been fishing in my life! Paul was absolutely born to host, he kept the camp lighthearted the whole time, and with his vast local knowledge he was able to keep everyone on the fish the whole week.

A hard fighting St. Lawrence common

A hard fighting St. Lawrence common

Two Tone stunner

Two Tone stunner

This trip is one that I’m sure will stick with me for the rest of my life, and I’m sure that one day I will be telling my children about my great Canadian adventure,just as my father told me his.

Fish like this are the reason anglers from all over the world visit the St. Lawrence River

Fish like this are the reason anglers from all over the world visit the St. Lawrence River

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