Canada’s Capital is not just the hub of government for the Nation but also offers some amazing fishing. The guides at Fishing613 are well aware of the great fishing opportunities in their Ottawa backyard. While the Ottawa River is certainly a staple of their fishing, they fish the lakes and rivers throughout the area targeting all the species that swim their waters. I took some time to discuss the area’s fishing with John Dallaire from Fishing613. Here is what John had to say…
You guide the 613 area code of Ontario. What makes this such a fantastic area to be a guide?
I can answer this one in pretty much one word, diversity! With so many lakes and rivers close by there are always options for our clients. If the weather is rough near our home base we have countless options at hand that might be out of the storms path or sheltered from the wind. With so many species to catch, the action does not really slow down. When one species is getting ready to hunker down for winter the other is just waking up!
The biggest reason I think the 613 area code is a fantastic place to guide is the diversity amongst people . Being in Canada’s capital city we are extremely culturally diverse. One day we could be guiding a long term resident and the next day tourists from another country. Does not matter where you are from or the language you speak….Everybody has that exact same smile when they catch a fish.
How do you describe the Ottawa River as an ice destination to someone has never fished on it during the hardwater season?
The Ottawa River is a amazing body of water to fish during ice season. Being a river there are many areas that do not freeze well and are not safe. But in the bays and coves that can freeze in excess of 3′ there is some great fishing to be had! My season always starts with first ice crappies. They are schooled up tight at this point and as long as you can find em you can stay on them all day. Walleye can be great too! Tons of small guys but if you know where to look and at the right time there are some brutes waiting to make appearance topside. There is lots of pike and perch in the area as well for when the bite is tough.
What is a day on the ice like with you? What should clients expect to experience?
We have a little something to suit everybody . The clients that day will dictate what we do. From a run and gun approach for the daytime walleye or hunkering down for that predictable dusk bite we got it covered. Some families just want to set up tip-ups and watch them from the comfort of the warm Fishing613 HQ. We also have a special package that is at a body of water an hour away that allows us to site fish perch and catch some giant Lake Trout.
Let’s move to the spring when ice gives way to open water. What are your early season favorite destinations?
Favorite destinations for spring are right here on the Ottawa River. Crappie are hanging out in the brush….pike are starting to appear in the shallows..catfish are more then willing to bite all day long.
A lot of people come to your area in the summer. Do your favorite waters change much from the spring when you get into summer bass fishing season?
All lakes and rivers are constantly changing. Sometimes in predictable patterns and other times they really make you work hard to figure them out. Weeds are not always growing in the same areas…water levels are always changing….this is what I love about fishing. You are constantly learning and adapting.
What are your favorite methods to use when guiding clients for Ottawa region bass?
This really depends on what body of water we are fishing but I would have to say drop shotting is by far my favorite. This is where good electronics come into the equation. I love finding small clumps of grass very deep and plucking fish off of them . Its also great way to introduce people new to fishing what a bite feels like. My confidence in this method is solely because of results. I have caught tons of fish doing this…sometimes in the least typical drop shot areas but have always made it work.
I know you also do some tournament fishing. How was your tournament season overall in 2016?
2016, I only had the chance to do one tournament. I can’t tell you how much I love the tournament scene but it can be hard on the family sometimes so 2016 I took it easy.
What are your greatest strengths as an angler?
My greatest strengths as an angler eh…I’m gonna say patience first. There are tough days that you need to ride through but if you start going crazy and rushing everything you tend to miss the little clues that the fish are leaving behind.
Passion is another big one for me. As an angler I love sharing the sport with people new to fishing or who have not fished in a long time. Over the last year my focus is trying to get the Canadian Government to recognize fishing as being therapeutic for our veterans with PTSD. Currently activities can be written off through insurance like…yoga but not fishing. This passion keeps wanting to evolve myself as an angler but also get more people involved in this amazing sport.
In 2017, what areas do you want to improve in your fishing?
For 2017 I am going to focus on boat positioning in relation to fish locations. With the new boat on the way and the new Ultrex trolling motor I should be able to use this technology to catch more fish with less pedal time.
As a bit of a policy person in my non-fishing life, I love your idea about fishing as an activity that can be written off by individuals with PTSD. Great idea and a great cause to advance. Thank you John for filling us in the Ottawa area fishing as well as your contagious passion for the sport.
To fish with Fishing613 guide service, check out Fishing613.com.
You can also follow John and his impressive catches on Instagram.