Draining the world’s largest system of freshwater lakes, the St. Lawrence is a giant, productive river, with some seriously big bass, carp, walleye and, of course, muskies. That includes the 57-inch catch-and-release world record, let go near Gananoque, Ontario, in 2009. Widening into several lakes, and encompassing four archipelagoes, the river boasts a dizzying expanse of fishable water. Bob Izumi’s advice? “Fish every type of cover and depth, in and out of the current.”
In 2011, Best for trophy muskellunge
After the Mackenzie, the St. Lawrence is Canada’s second-biggest river, and as the saying goes, big water means big fish. Not surprisingly, then, the current catch-and-release world-record muskie was taken in 2009 on the St. Lawrence near Gananoque, Ontario. Credit for the 57-inch-long, 33-inch-around behemoth—estimated at more than 77 pounds—goes to Ottawa-based muskie maniac Dale MacNair.
But there may be an even better place to hook up with a giant St. Lawrence muskie. That’s a couple of hours downriver near Montreal, where the Ottawa flows into the St. Lawrence to create Quebec’s Lac St-Louis, a broad basin full of weedbeds and shoals—perfect ambush points for these hungry water wolves.
And there’s another feature that makes this particular stretch of the St. Lawrence a prime muskie-hunting ground for in-the-know anglers: in-flow from the Ottawa brings some badly needed turbidity to the zebra mussel-filtered, crystal-clear water of the St. Lawrence. Lower light penetration, in turn, keeps baitfish—and in particular yellow perch—closer to the surface than anywhere else on the St. Lawrence, making muskies easier to target with shallow-running plugs and spinnerbaits.
Will the next world record come from Lac St-Louis? It’s impossible to know for sure. Suffice to say, however, that Dale MacNair makes a habit of fishing this stretch of the St. Lawrence River.