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Thousand Islands

Species: Carp

Season: Spring

Coordinates: 44°20€²2€³N, 75°59€²41€³W

Location: An archipelago of islands in Ontario

Hottest spot: Gananoque to Rockport, Ontario

Why we chose it

Best for carp

While gliding through the shallows, you cast delicately into a large school of 10-, 20- and even 30-pound fish. One of the giants lazily sucks up your bait, feels the hook and, if you’re lucky, breaks for open water. But more likely it’s headed for the cattails and deadfalls, and there’s no stopping it—even with a chunky Flippin’ Stick and 50-pound braid. Drag screaming, you just hang on and hope for the best. This is Thousand Islands carp fishing, where the archipelago’s innumerable back bays are stacked with broad-backed monsters. “These are seriously powerful fish,” says local guide Doug Amos, “and they don’t get any pressure at all.” That’s right. It’s basically a virgin fishery, where eight- to 15-pounders are common, 25-pounders are considered pretty good and the chances of landing 40-pound fish are realistic. Downriver, the St. Lawrence’s Long Sault is already a mecca for European anglers, who often line its muddy banks. The Thousand Islands, on the other hand, offers what you might call Canadian-style carping—chasing giant fish in crystal-clear, obstacle-strewn bass and muskie waters. With their prominent lips, chin barbels and oversized scales, carp aren’t easy to love. But after feeling the raw, single-minded strength of even a runty 10-pounder, your feelings turn around pretty quickly. And there’s no better place in Canada to start your affair.

Hot bait: Corn

Hot fly: Woolly Bugger

Learn more: Thousand Islands International Tourism Council

Scott Gardner

Scott Gardner

Outdoor Canada associate editor and fly-fishing columnist Scott Gardner is happiest when he's on the water fishing (especially from his kayak) or just surrounded by trees, preferably out of cell phone range. Since joining Outdoor Canada in 2010, Scott has won nine National Communication Awards from the Outdoor Writers of Canada for his adventure travel and fly fishing articles, and been nominated for five National Magazine Awards.

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