With May’s long weekend underway in the province of Quebec and water starting to warm-up, anglers who visit La Belle Province are already in search of actively feeding “doré”, one of this province’s most sought-after game fish!

The issue is that with nearly 1 million lakes scattered throughout the province, knowing where to start can be a daunting task. What equipment to pack, how to target the elusive Quebec “marble eyes,” and where to catch them, are three hurdles standing in the way of a non-resident fishing success.

Equipped with a few tips and tricks from someone who grew-up in this province, anglers from anywhere in North America will learn how to capitalize on the famous Quebec doré.

     1) Do your homework

Source: Federation of Quebec Outfitters

Regardless of where in North America you call home, visiting Quebec as a non-resident can prove to be intimidating, especially if you do not speak French. Not to worry though, even those no-so-well versed in the language should be able to get-by when arranging a trip to Quebec.

Quebec’s hunting and fishing professionals host their fair share of English-speaking clientele, and it appears the language of hunting and fishing truly is a universal one. Growing up in the province myself and not being fluently bilingual, I  managed to converse and convey most aspects of fishing with my Francophone brethren, and you can as well.

Basically, there three choice options when arranging a walleye trip to Quebec: 1) Going with a registered exclusive rights Outfitter, 2) securing services of a government-operated outfitting business such as SEPAQ or a ZEC, and finally 3) the freehold land option, where you go on your own to fish Crown land, without any guide or outfitter.

A non-resident’s safest and most effective choice is going with the exclusive rights or government-run outfitter. The Federation of Quebec Outfitters (FPQ) boasts an established membership of over 130 well-managed operations located in every conceivable corner of the province, which cater to anglers in search of walleye.  government-run operations such as SEPAQ , or the ZEC also offer excellent access to Quebec walleye waters, and usually at a lower cost.

       2)Listen and Learn

Source: Federation of Quebec Outfitters

Now that you have a destination chosen and arrangements made for your Quebec walleye trip, there are still essential loose ends to tie-up on your way to the perfect trip. Soliciting help from experts, such as a guide or other local anglers, offers invaluable information on the body of water you plan to fish. If you can hire the services of a guide, even for just one day, the knowledge you will gain could make or break your trip.

As a non-resident, you must pay particular attention to presentation; tackle choice and specific locations your guide suggests. Bring along a lake map and jot down notes such as hotspots and trolling runs. If you own a GPS, enter waypoints for spots the guide has identified as productive, and remember that if you listen, you will learn something. Never make the mistake of allowing  your ego get in the way of gaining useful knowledge and information. Remember, they are the expert and you are merely the student. The guide’s home field advantage will soon become your home field advantage on the way to capitalizing on Quebec doré.

    3) Copycat to success

Source: Federation of Quebec Outfitters

If you decide to operate you own boat, remember to focus on areas where other anglers are going and techniques they are employing. Copycatting may be the oldest trick in the book, but will serve you well in this situation. If you follow the other anglers at a respectable distance, you will quickly get an idea of what techniques work and which do not.

Desperate times call for desperate measures, and one thing you can count on in Quebec, unlike other provinces in Canada, resident anglers are usually willing to offer information on where the walleye are biting, and how to catch them. Take it from someone who grew up here, the openness and free sharing of information from resident anglers is an asset to the non-resident. Keep your eyes and ears open and always take mental notes.

    4) Special Regulations

Source: Federation of Quebec Outfitters

Regardless of where you decide to target Quebec walleye, keep in mind that special slot limits and minimum length requirements do apply in certain regions. Because of heavy fishing pressure on some waters, provincial biologists have been keeping a close eye on fish stocks. For detailed walleye regulations and season dates, pick up a copy of the Quebec fishing regulations.

    5) Essential Equipment

Source: Author

When visiting this province of Quebec for the first time, there are some tools of the trade you have with you, starting with a sonar or fish-finder. Good electronics are your visual link to what lies beneath. You may be surprised to find many classic walleye holding areas  – shoals and saddles – revealed on the sonar, which would otherwise have been overlooked.

A handheld GPS is another tool for Quebec walleye waters. The ability to save precise waypoint locations is an asset in familiarizing yourself on strange water. Setup a series of waypoints as you explore your new lake — mark off islands, points or other spot that offer potential doré structure. Many of Quebec’s larger lakes are often shallow and rocky, so entering the danger areas into the GPS, with an alarm, might save your outboard motor.

    6) Lessons Learned

Source: Federation of Quebec Outfitters

La Belle Province has long been known for its walleye opportunities and now, more than ever, enthusiasts from across North America are getting in on the action so do not miss out!

Source: Federation of Quebec Outfitters

For more information on fishing opportunities in Quebec, or a free Hunting, Fishing and Lodging brochure, please contact Tourism Quebec. I hope to see you on the water this summer!

Before travelling the backwoods of Quebec, Canada, familiarize yourself with any potential predator hazards.