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Quinte Walleye: Fostering Fine Angling

Ken McCracken with a nice Bay of Quinte walleye. • Credit: Tom Goldsmith


Editor's Note: The Bay of Quinte offers excellent year-round fishing for Ontarians looking for a lake close to home in Southern Ontario. 

Most days in May I find myself feeding the mosquitoes and blackflies in my local turkey woods, but when asked to come along on a walleye fishing excursion to the famed Bay of Quinte, I jumped at the chance. I mean, it was beginning to look like my freezer might end up with a gobbler-sized space available anyways.

So I traded my repellent-soaked camo and shotgun for fishing gear and early the next morning we loaded my friend Ken McCracken’s fifth-wheel trailer and headed south toward Marysville. There we would meet Ken’s father Milt, a Quinte veteran, and proceed south on Highway 49 across the Skyway Bridge to Country Shores on the shores of the Bay of Quinte.

As we checked in and registered at the office that also served as a bait and tackle shop, we caught up on stories of other anglers’ success. Before we had a chance to even extend the pop-outs on Ken’s trailer, however, Milt’s boat was picked up by County Shores' staff and launched at their dock. Fishing, you see, was why we were there and the people at County Shores' were accustomed to our sort.

Milt McCrackenBay of Quinte walleyeMilt McCracken hangs a fine Bay of Quinte walleye from a scale. (Photo credit: Tom Goldsmith)

Soon we were on the open and choppy waters of Quinte, trolling over a series of shoals ranging from 13 to 25 feet deep. Within minutes of cutting the outboard Ken was into a fish. As he lifted his first walleye into the boat I felt the telltale thump, thump, on my rod and set the hook of my bottom-bouncing dew worm rig. The next couple of hours saw us retracing our path through the shoals, taking turns boating what ended up being a few limits of walleye ranging from one to six pounds. Of greatest interest to me was the fact that the game we were playing was all about location and speed of drift. Even the slightest change, however subtle, in our bait presentation, made all the difference in fooling these walleye.

working the shoals in Eastern Ontario’s Bay of QuinteWorking the shoals in Eastern Ontario’s Bay of Quinte. (Photo credit: Tom Goldsmith)

On our final day, the walleye cooperated once again and we selectively kept the remainder of our count using the same proven techniques and patterns repeated from day one. I returned home with enough fish to fill the hole in my freezer. The funny thing about walleye fillets, though, is they sure didn’t fill it for very long.

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