I’ve gotta be honest, I really do hate this time of year. Don’t get me wrong; I love Christmas and all, but I also love open water decent-weather fishing. And right now, it’s not decent weather. The one saving grace is the open water, big Walleye fishery that happens at this time every year on the Bay Of Quinte. I haven’t found a better place in this country for the chance at a true giant Walleye—or should I say a bunch of giants—than on the Bay of Quinte in the late fall and early winter.
We just got back from a very successful Fish’n Canada shoot there. Mike Flynn, a Niagara fishing guide, ventured along for this trip and he’d never experienced the late Quinte phenomenon. So, it was long overdue.
We had one of those weird days where every weather condition happened. It started out calm and overcast, which I have no problem with. (Hell, last year Ang and I shot there in similar conditions and we absolutely killed ’em!)
It actually took Flynnie and I a while before the first hook-up. The fish was about a six- or seven-pounder, a small fish for this time of year, but a good one to break the ice. It was also Mike’s biggest Walleye to date. I laughed inside knowing that if this day was even half good, that fish would be dwarfed by the time we were done.
As the calm weather continued, we popped another three Walleye, each around nine to ten pounds, and a slimy little snake-Pike on a spinning rod. Incidentally, we were using light stuff on this day because of the calm conditions. That way we could have a bit of fun fighting the fish instead of using all the heavy rods normally used with big baits and planer boards.
As the day progressed the wind progressed, too—harder and harder. We were probably fishing in forty-kilometre winds with even higher gusts! Not to worry, though. I’m used to these conditions, and the fish seem to have no problem with them either. By simply beefing up our gear (bigger rods and reels) and running deeper baits, we were not only back in the game, but we caught two really nice fish in the process. Mike ended his day with a 31.5” long 19″+ girthed 13 lb 3 oz pig. And I ended up with probably an equal giant (didn’t weigh or measure). Real cows—but typical of the area.
A few pointers:
- Use big rods and reels in big water, dragging big baits with in-line planer boards
- Use line counter reels to try and keep an idea of distance back from boat
- Bring baits that dive from 15 – 25+ feet
- Look for purple on baits
- Bring a portable heater for your hands and feet (under the console of boat)