The very best places to learn to fish

In collaboration with Émile David, fishing enthusiast.

While introducing individual buddies or groups of friends to fishing, I’ve often put undue pressure on myself in my ardent desire to help them catch fish and experience the sport as I see it: an activity of concentration and analysis and an exciting exploration of nature. In the end, these attempts have frequently turned into indelible memories, but rarely for the right reasons.

In fact, the meals prepared on the open fire in the evening, the moments of relaxation on the riverbank, the noon-hour dip, the 3 p.m. nap on a big flat rock, the fight of the noble yellow perch, and the perennial fishing story of the big one that got away have been at the heart of the experience.

There are many facets to fishing, and as long as you know what you want from the experience, a fishing trip serves as an interesting nature getaway for one and all. I therefore propose five different experiences to introduce you to fishing according to your profile and that of your group.

Réserve faunique Mastigouche Réserve faunique Mastigouche
Réserve faunique Mastigouche Émile David | © Sépaq

For the family

Catching a first trout is a memorable experience for anyone, whether you’re an oldster or a kid. Looking for new experiences with the family, but you don’t know where to begin? Réserve faunique de Rimouski has designed a place in the Lac-Rimouski sector specifically for initiating novice anglers. And with the Ready-to-Fish package, fishing gear is provided for children and adults alike.

Also for families to consider: the Family Fishing Package offered in all wildlife reserves. Other locations are equipped to initiate child anglers to day fishing as well, including Rivière Montmorency and Lac-à-Jack sector of Réserve faunique des Laurentides.

For the inveterate sports enthusiast

The sport angler will be delighted to live the fishing dream in Lac-Brîlé sector of Réserve faunique des Laurentides and the canoe-camping-walleye fishing combo experience at Réserve faunique La Vérendrye.

If you want to catch lots of beautiful walleye, monster pike, large speckled trout and lake trout, put on your agenda to make a little trip to the Réserve faunique des Ashuapmushuan in adventure fishing mode. 

Réserve faunique des Laurentides
Réserve faunique des Laurentides Fokus Productions | © Sépaq
Réserve faunique La Vérendrye
Réserve faunique La Vérendrye Fokus Productions | © Sépaq

For the eternally stressed individual in search of relaxation

In your case, let's go back to basics with something simple. Fly fishing offers an opportunity to be a little obsessed with something absolutely pure, i.e. putting a fly in the water in a relatively graceful way. You won’t necessarily cast your line like Brad Pitt in A River Runs Through It, but such skill will come with time. Why not try your luck on one of the many rivers of Réserve faunique des Laurentides: Métabetchouane, Petite Pikauba, Bark, or another?

Other options are also available to lower your stress level: salmon fishing on Rivière aux Rochers (the trip to Sept-Îles can only do you good!) or the lakes of the Portneuf or Mastigouche wildlife reserves, if you run out of time and you have to hurry to decompress! No kidding, the fishing is excellent, the air is sweet, and it's not far from the city.

Simply put, fishing for pike directly in front of your cabin is a dream come true! In the Lac-Chigoubiche sector of Réserve faunique Ashuapmushuan, you’ll have this opportunity in the heart of the forest. A paradise of freedom and pure nature where time stands still!

Sépaq now offers pontoon boat rentals at certain wildlife reserves, a great new addition to the network. With a six-person capacity, these pontoons are equipped with comfortable padded benches and even a swimming platform. The best combination of pleasure and comfort for your fishing expedition!

For Old Lazy Bones (the opposite of eternally stressed)

Sleeping in late, a fat trout spattering in a cast iron skillet, a cold beer in the early afternoon, and perhaps a nap in the sun just before evening rolls in. You want to chill out and to think as little as possible? Well, you’ve hit the jackpot! This kind of attitude is pretty common on any good fishing trip. That said, for maximum comfort, the SERVICE + packages of Réserve faunique des Laurentides are there for you. Motor included, fish gutting, upgraded lodgings, and much more besides. The good life awaits you!

Also to consider: The new accommodations at Lac Soucis in Réserve faunique du Saint-Maurice and those at Lac-au-Sable in Réserve faunique Mastigouche will allow you to enjoy both cabin and lake, with access to waterways where the fish are likely to bite even when you’re not out on the water at the crack of dawn.

Stuart Davis | © Sépaq
Beside | © Sépaq

For those who dream of the weekend all week long

You’re always doing something extravagant on the weekend and right now you’re hesitating between mountain biking, pontoon camping, a hot yoga retreat, a Sorel-Tadoussac stand-up paddleboard expedition, or a fishing trip? Did you know that at Centre touristique du Lac-Kénogami, you can fish for landlocked salmon, indisputably one of North America’s most renowned fish, in addition to doing some yoga kayaking, a regional exclusivity with an ever-so- evocative name? Both activities are available at this Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean destination. All sorts of activities are offered on site, perfect for a weekend that’s guaranteed to be a ton of fun.

Need more options to live your weekend to the fullest? Why not think about fishing and fatbiking at Réserve faunique de Papineau-Labelle or fishing and mountain biking at Parc national de la Jacques-Cartier?

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