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I'm lucky enough to be able to get across to Canada and North America every year to experience the fantastic carping these countries have to offer. Admittedly, most years I end up on one side of the St Lawrence or the other from Kingston to Cornwall and everywhere in between, I just can't get enough of the mighty Larry!

My regular fishing buddy couldn't make it out this year, so with only the power of my story telling to go on, I convinced another friend to make the trip out with me in 2014! All my tackle is out in the US, residing with my fishing buddy Jeff, so not having access to it in 2014 I decided the best course of action would be to find an outfitter and book with them. The 2 main St Lawrence guides were both fully booked - testament to the fact that the economy is back on the rise again after a difficult few years - so we looked further afield and came upon Mike & Eileen Williams place, Lakeside Cottages.

After several email exchanges and a conversation or two, John and I managed to get ourselves in at our preferred pre-spawn period for the last week in May and the first in June. I've often written about the favourite part of the experience being in the planning and researching, checking Navionics for depths, Google Earth for features and Panoramio for an accurate view if one is available. This was no different and many a night was spent with a laptop and an iPad open to find likely spots.

Fast forward 6 months and we had all our fishing gear packed and jumped on an uncomfortable Air Transat flight to Toronto where we were greeted with 30 degree (88) temperatures and a thunderstorm! We picked up our 4x4 rental and by the time we drove outside there was no sign that it had even rained - odd weather over there! We drove over to Peterborough and stopped off at a Walmart to pick up a few provisions then on to the small township of Lakefield.

We arrived around 8pm and were shown around our fantastic cottage by the owners Mike and Eileen. Having travelled for close to 12 hours we decided to have a few beers, acclimatise and Mike would drive us around a few likely looking areas early the following morning. We hit the sack around 11pm and awoke just after 4am with that familiar excited feeling in the pit of my stomach that I awlays get when I'm about to experience new waters! I wandered down to and sat on the jetty at the bottom of the garden and drank in the sunrise, the stress of work now almost completely forgotten.


Mike arose early as promised and we drove under his direction down Old River Road so he could point out a few swims and the best methods for extracting fish from them. A few hours later we returned back to the Cottages and decided to get some bait out front via Mike's boat and set up on the Lawn for the day. I've never been a fan of fishing open water during big easterly winds and the first day proved no different, we gave it 5 hours without a sign of a fish so dumped the rods in the car along with a few buckets of bait and headed out to explore. We tried a few spots that day as we gradually began re-focusing in on the natural environment whilst our daily use of technology was put to bed for the duration of the trip. Nothing materailised on that first full day but we did begin hatching a plan for the second......

After a pub tea and a few pints we headed back to the Cottage and met with some of the other residents. As it turned out most of the residents had been returning to Lakeside for at least the past decade so had a wealth of knowledge which we happily tapped in to! A good spring area that hadn't been fished yet in 2014 was the Point Swim, it was one of the places we'd visited and seeing as the main shipping channel abridged a huge bay we figured the fish would begin congregating in the deeper water ready for spawning in the coming weeks. We boiled 50lb of maize, packed several bags of grits and planned to hit the Point just after first light.

A quick take-away breakfast and we got to the Point as the sun was rising, or would have been if we hadn't got a huge low pressure and big easterly winds cracking in to the bay! However, we had a plan and it now just needed executing. I leaded around to get approximate depths and to locate the drop off points. With a couple of likely points marked we then spodded around 10 kilo's of maize to one of the spots and made up 20 groundbait balls to 'method-blast' out. We both fished grits pack on a euro style method feeder with K-1 Giant Maize as hookbaits.

Fish started jumping after an hour, it began with tail-slapping on the water and tail-walking - in my eyes that's a notification jump once a food source has been identified. Once a critical mass of carp have congregated they then go in and feed en masse and the topping out turns to head and shouldering and porpoising. Not long afterwards the first run of the trip materialised and John hit in to a fast moving fish. It headed out over the ledge, wrapped the line around and boulder and headed off in a different direction. Despite using 30 kilo power pro, the braid soon parted and the fish was lost. A quick re-rig, cast and a few more method balls and the same rod goes off again with the fish trying a similar trick. This time though John gave it a bit of stick and managed to pull it around in to the relatively snag free bay - a spirited ten minutes later and our first fish of the trip is in the net, and what a start at 27lb 3oz!


We had a patchy day with 5 fish banked and double that number of runs with lost fish. We piled some more bait in early evening before eventually packing down and heading off to the pub for a cold one! By the start of the second session we thought we had a swim figured out, carp seemed to be moving down the river and crossing the ledge in to the weedy bay. We baited hard again on the second session and began picking up fish almost instantly, interestingly they only came out on grits pack with giant maize, swapping the hookbait over to anything else resulted in a static rod. The weather had picked up and was now hot and sunny with a light Northerly wind


We managed a dozen fish between us that day with the biggest running to 23lb, but as the afternoon turned in to evening, the number of fish bouncing out of the water closer in, couldn't be ignored. We began baiting a spot a short wade and an underarm flick from the bank. A feel around with the lead showed that a deeper channel only a few yards wide broke through the shallow bar from deep to shallow water. It appeared that carp were passing back out of the bay using this natural marker. When I finally plonked a grits ball with a bait on the spot it was away before I could put the rod down. It had been a long day and we'd had far too much sun on this exposed point so we banged the bait out before we left and felt we'd hit it big the following day. Around 30lb of boilies, the same of maize and pack was handballed out to this new close in spot. We used 15ml and 20ml yellow cherry K1 baits with a liberal covering of glug to keep them hydrated in the sun.


We had a quick pub tea at the Village in and a couple of pints and went exploring each of the locks on the way up the river back to our lodge. What we saw really opened our eyes to a different way of carping and some of the big 40's we spotted really got our creative juices flowing in just how we could angle for these fish - I'll touch on this style of carping we experimented with in another separate piece.

We got back to our lodge to an impromptu garden party and a magnicient sunset, so we had a few drinks and told stories until darkness



The 5am alarm went off all too quickly and we headed back to the Point swim full of confidence from our findings over the past two days. We quickly got both rods out on the close channel spot and only lightly baited given the amount we'd got out the night before. Within minutes John's in to a mid-teen and as I net his fish mine is away with a similar sized common and we're off to a quick start. One of my favourite methods for catching carp is on the float, it was how I learned my trade 30 years ago on the canal at the bottom of my garden and it always invokes powerful memories of a quickening heartbeat and the potential of the unknown. So when I'm fishing river systems if I think I can get away with a Polaris Float instead of a static lead then I take that option. This meant changing the 66lb braid spool for 18lb Korda Subline mono with a short 50lb hooklink to a size 1 Solar 101 hook.

I rigged it up and flicked it out underarm with just 5 pieces of sweetcorn on the hook, no hair, and sat on a rock intently watching for signs of movement. I sat it out for 5 minutes before laying the rod over the rock with the baitrunner on and sitting on the garden chair up on the bank. As I sat in the chair, the float bobbed once and shot under. I engaged the baitrunner and bent in to a quick moving fish which kited out in to the deep water and stripped 50 yards of mono off the spool. I stood on the highest bank I could find and jammed the rod butt in to my armpit in an attempt to keep the mono clear from the mussel covered rocks until I slowly gained enough line to drop the butt in to my groin and begin worrying about where we were going to net the fish.

John did a great job and she slipped in to the net first go, she looked a good female carrying a little spawn and pulled the scales around to 26lb 13oz


I was made up with the fish and the whole thought process that we'd gone through to end up where we were and fishing the Point in the manner we were fishing. I'd wade out and underarm the polaris out in to 12ft of water then catapult a pouchfull of boiled and flavoured maize, after which the rod float would dive under almost instantly and we'd bend in to another carp.Meantime John was working his own close in spot on the bay side rather than the drop-off side and we got his rod going off quickly too. We'd take it in turns to hit strikes - there's no ego's here! - and we called this 'Strike Rock', as soon as the rods were out, one was going to go quickly so we'd take it in turns to sit on Strike Rock!


We had a productive morning and bagged 20 carp to nearly 27lb's before tiredness and heat saw us retreat early afternoon to an air conditioned pub for a well earned jar!

We were nearly half way through our trip and we'd not spent any real time on the lawn at Lakeside Cottages as yet. With a good 100 yard cast you could drop in to 15-17ft of water and you have the use of a row boat to get bait out in quantity. As such that evening battling the mozzies we got 40lb of maize and 20lb of pellet and boilies out with a plan to get down early and start catching.

The next day dawned clear, with no wind, lots of sun and high pressure, perfect for an early morning session but not great for later in the day, so we decided to fish hard until the bites dried up then spend the remainder of the day chilling on the lawn, snorkelling in the lake and drinking beer - bliss! The first few runs came rapidly with a 21 to John and a 25 to me, we were fishing Mike's Magic Method, a combination of cattle feed, grains and dried molasses with Giant Maize as hookbaits. At around 9:30 I was on strike and the rod rattled off quickly. I bent in to the fish and felt a thump at the end of the line followed by a slow plod - typical big fish signs. The fish kited slowly in to the shallower bay in front of the jetty and then fought impressively under the rod tip for 10 minutes before finally giving up and sliding over the net string. We both knew it was a big fish and indeed it was pulling the scale around to 31lb 3oz


It was a great mornings' fishing with a 30, 3 x 20's and two upper teens and therefore the perfect time to pull the rods in, get the trunks on and consume beer! Which was exactly what we did after a little snorkel in the lake

The following morning saw the return of the Easterly and the day was forecast to be very humid with potential thunderstorms. We got the rods out on the Lawn by around 7am after dropping 50lbs of boilies over the area the night before, we had two quick fish on K1 Yellow Cherry boilies, nothing of any size though. We packed up and went to investigate a swim I'd fancied from researching Google Maps, it was a lock called Youngs Point and there were several potential areas to explore. As mentioned before I'll go in to this on a separate piece but in a short very hot 3 hour period we banked 7 fish and lost double that number, this is a sneak peak at what we encountered


We did meet BF guys so had a quick chat with them before rapidly departing in case we had to encounter some speculative shots at passing carp. As our holiday drew to an end, we spent a little more time fishing the dams and back down on Lakeside Lawns resulting in fish up to 26lb. We also chucked a lure around the docks which ended up in a couple of good sized bass and a missed Muskie



We rescued a snapping turtle from certain roadkill death and returned him safely to a nearby bay, we also lost a good portion of our bait to a cheeky chipmunk! On the last morning before our 10pm flight back out I had a pair of 20's, the first of which was a fully scaled - a real rariety around these parts.





We had a fanstic time and made some lifelong friends in Cid and Carl, Spike and Cheryl, Rambo Mick and of course the magnificent Mike & Eileen, our hosts. Some really good memories remain at Lakeside and we'll be back again shortly, I can almost guarantee it!


Edited by marcus
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Great report! Thanks for sharing the story and the pictures. My favorite is the first one. It sounds like you guys did as much drinking at the local pub as you spent fishing. :party0012icon: As my friend would say, "A good time was had by all!"

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Great report! Thanks for sharing the story and the pictures. My favorite is the first one. It sounds like you guys did as much drinking at the local pub as you spent fishing. :party0012icon: As my friend would say, "A good time was had by all!"

To be fair Skeet, we dropped in for supper most days and only had two pints, it was just easier than buying and cooking our own stuff (lazy!)

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marcus, I don't blame you. It's good to sit down and relax and let someone else take care of the cooking. Nice place with air conditioning as opposed to the hot and humid bankside cooking. Glad you fellows had a good time along with some nice fish. Have a safe trip back to the UK.

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a great write up from a truly dedicated st Lawrence nuts fellow brit. there are not many of us but we know where our carp bread is buttered eh Marcus!

glad you had a great trip mate. thanks for posting up such a great account from an area off the beaten track. I recorded the football tonight and have paused spain 1 Netherlands 5. what you have to say concerning your trip is far more interesting than a cool world cup match.....and that is coming from a football loon!

lets do a trip sometime. not sure about a couple of pints and setting the alarm though. more like fish all night with bbq and beer then sleep when the sun is too hot.


Edited by andrewdeeley
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