St. Francis Titans

Do you think Angelo Viola is happy with his biggest ever muskie???

Ang and Pete catch their monster muskies on Lake St. Francis



A brief muskie chat with Ang and Pete…

Pete: “Bud, where will the next world record muskie come from?”

Ang: “Probably North America, right?”

Pete: “Good chance it will be Canada, right?”

Ang: “Fantastic chance it would be Ontario, right?”

Pete: “But now where?”

Ang: “Lake Of the Woods? Lake St Clair? Lac Seul? ORRRRRRR…how about going back to the original muskie capital of the world, the St. Lawrence River, home of the true giants!”

The River of All Muskie Rivers

The first place anglers think about when mentioning St. Lawrence muskie is the head waters commencing from Lake Ontario and flowing east through the Thousand Islands and beyond. However, that is just a small portion of this lengthy river. Let it be known that there are countless muskie well beyond and downstream.

aerial view st. lawrence river
The totally awesome St .Lawrence River.

This episode took place on Lake St. Francis, a lake formed years ago by damming the St. Lawrence at Cornwall, Ontario and Valleyfield, Quebec. This water body is full of big smallmouth and largemouth bass, walleye and, of course, muskie.

ocean line on st. lawrence river
A frequent sight while fishing this part of the province.

Ang and Pete have been fishing the Berkley B1 Bass Tournament on this water for years and have encountered some big fish of all the above-mentioned species but they have only really tried for smallies.

Local walleye guide and friend, Ryan Flaro, had been bugging Ang and Pete to come up and shoot a muskie show. Time was always the issue since a muskie show takes the best part of a week to shoot. The fish of 10,000 casts, right???

Anyways, our film team decided since they were in the area, to take Ryan up on his offer. But they only had a full day to shoot it—a seemingly impossible task.

“No problem,” Ryan said, “that’s all we need!”

Pete and Ang just shook their heads and said, “Whatever.”

boating drifting st lawrence river
Drifting with the current was the presentation on this shoot.

On their very first drift with Ryan in a second boat shouting out instructions, he confidently said, “you’re coming up to the fish zone guys,” and with that said, Ang set the hook into what felt like bottom but suddenly pulled back. FISH ON!

muskie on hook
A monster muskie attempts to rid the hook while guide Ryan Flaro looks on.

The result was a freakish sized muskie that had some of the best markings the boys have ever seen. Definitely in and around the 55-inch mark and who knows “how” heavy…crazy!

Well, that’s a wrap right? 

Not so soon folks.

Two drifts later on a second location of “Franny” (short form for Lake St. Francis), Ryan pipes up again from about 50 feet away, “should be any time boys” and seconds later…honestly, that’s seconds, Pete sets into a second behemoth St. Lawrence monster. Another fish well over the 55-inch mark and another extremely thick beast. That is over 110 inches of muskie in TWO FISH!

angler holding muskie
Pete Bowman can barely lift this giant muskie.

Is Ryan Flaro the ultimate fishing guide?

“You know what,” said Pete, “he’s comical, he’s confident, he’s cocky and he backs it all up!”

“And if there’s any better out there,” continued Ang, “we’ve yet to meet him.”

As far as we can tell, we have never heard of such a feat in the world of muskie television, something we are very proud of.

boatside muskie
A true giant at boatside.

ST. LAWRENCE FACTS

The St. Lawrence River flows roughly north-east and connects the Great Lakes with the Atlantic Ocean. It passes by the Canadian provinces of Quebec and Ontario, and is part of the international boundary between Ontario, Canada, and New York, USA.

The length of the St. Lawrence River is 500 km, the basin is 1,344,200 km2 (519,000 sq mi) and the discharge for below the Saguenay River is an average of 16,800 m3/s (590,000 cu ft/s).

LAKE ST. FRANCIS INFO

Lake St. Francis is a lake, which borders southeastern Ontario, southwestern Quebec and northern New York state. It's located on the St. Lawrence River between Lake Ontario and Montreal—specifically between Cornwall, Ontario and Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Quebec. “Franny,” as it’s referred to by the locals, was formed by dams at each end. The lake forms part of the St. Lawrence Seaway.

Fishing Guide Ryan Flaro

Book a day on the water with Ryan and maybe even stay right on the shores of Lake St. Francis at the Flaro’s waterfront retreat. Go to: www.facebook.com/Lake-St-Francis-Waterfront-Retreat-920302864688107/ 

CLOSE BY ACCOMMODATIONS

The Upper Canada Migratory Bird Sanctuary, Robins Roost Treehouse

LINKS

Ontario's Celtic Heartland: www.southglengarry.com

(All photo credits: Fish'n Canada)

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