Snubbie of the Saint Lawrence – A Catch and Release story

Nicolas Perrier and Snubbie!

On a cold November morning en 2022, Nicolas Perrier, Chairman of Muskies Canada Montreal, and his fishing partner Steve Goupil, were out on the Saint Laurence, in the Cornwall area, chasing some giant fall muskies and walleyes.  Trolling in and out of heavy current with a pair of walleye and musky equipment, a decent 27 inch walleye was fooled on a Berkley flicker shad.  Repeating the same pattern for another walleye moments later, it was the musky rod that had a visitor.  At this spot, it is common for large walleyes to take the musky crank baits, so it wasn’t clear from the headshakes what had taken the bait.  After detaching the rod from its holder, and realizing the strength of the pull coupled with the fish keeping bottom in 23 feet of water in heavy current, it was clearly the larger species that had taken the offering.  After a great fight, “snubbie” was boated. 


Moments after netting the large female, Nicolas and Steve realized that she had developed with a snubbed upper jaw.  Other than this anomaly, the 52 x 21 inch trophy was in perfect health.  Her girth was well within average, confirming that the abnormality didn’t affect her ability to feed.  She had been barely hooked, with only a single barb, which made the manipulation and release a snap.  A quick picture and she was back in her hunting grounds within minutes, kicking away in a splash.

About three weeks passed, and a friend shared an instagram picture of a fish with a similar facial abnormality, which had been posted by Travis Stacey (TimberXTitanX27 on instagram).  Travis is a Musky Guide, originally From Kahnawake, Qc.  Could it be snubbie? The comparison was made difficult because Nicolas is right handed with his musky hold, wile Travis holds the head with his left hand — no common markings could be identified with opposite sides of the fish captured in photos.  A minor split in the tail was common to both sets of photos, and a deeper look at the facial features as well as the side pattern being the same, Nicolas decided to contact Travis, in the hopes of confirming that the same fish was boated.  Travis confirmed the length was the same within 1/2 inch.  He had made a rapid measurement without a board which likely introduced up to an inch in the margin of error.  After sharing a few more photos, the anglers confirmed the match.  Thanks to social media, this happens a few times per year.  It is also not so rare for an angler to recapture a fish a few years later.  But this event had something special to it.  Nicolas and Steve boated snubbie on November 24, while she paid a visit into Travis’ boat the following day, November 25.  How often does a muskie strike again within 24 hours?  This is surely a sign that the Saint Laurence muskie population, especially in the oxygen rich waters around Cornwall, is in great shape.  Travis congratulated Nicolas and Steve for their release, a gesture that was appreciated.  They laughed at how snubbie’s appearance allowed this chance meeting to take place.

Nicolas Perrier

Travis Stacey caught Snubbie the day after!

Travis Stacey caught Snubbie the day after!

On the morning of November 25, me and my fishing buddy Joe Raymond a well-established smallmouth bass guide on the Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania had set out to chase musky. The weather was ideal, wind out of the southwest with overcast skies and occasional rain. we pulled up to our first spot and had not seen a single musky until the end of the drift. We are fishing a secondary drop off in deep water with hopes that a big predator is waiting to feed. Within 1NM of the chairman’s catch. I am throwing a 12inch weighted tube in perch color. I picked this bait up from my good friend Joe flow at his musky tackle store in Kahnawake, Qc years ago and it’s been catching big fish since day one. when we see the fish on live, we both knew it was a 50 plus inch class fish. on our first casts by she pulled off the bottom and chased joes Bulldawgs styled bait 8-10ft or so then sank back to bottom. So, at this point we know where the fish is laying and now, we must get her to eat. we slowly work our way back up current around the fish to make sure we don’t spook it. on the second drift I made my cast an watched my bait fall to bottom and that musky was hungry!! she pulled up off bottom and started swimming at my bait full speed. I made one pull on the tube and as soon as I paused the bait. BANG!! fish on!! once we land the fish in the net. quickly dehooking. We both looked at each other and kind of laughed. that’s a special looking one. but immediately relies on that short stubby nose did not affect its eating habits because it’s a long healthy St. Lawrence River warrior. Upon taking a quick picture we released the old girl back and she swam right into her feeding grounds. The St. Lawrence River truly is a remarkable fish growing Mecca. We must take care of the resources and truly preserve our fishery for generations to come. The quick catch and release by chairman Perrier and his fishing partner Steve Goupil shows that with proper care these beastly fish can go right back to natural feeding habits. Good job on their part!! 

Tight lines everyone. 
Travis Stacey