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Big Water, Big Bites, and Big Smiles

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Big Water, Big Bites, and Big Smiles

Ashley and Lori with a nice Lake Ontario walleye. • Credit: Ashley Rae

For many anglers, walleye is the fish that introduces them to fishing

Fishing also connects you to amazing people.

A perfect day for me in the fall is getting bundled up, loading up the boat with good company, good food, and setting off in search of walleye. It’s the first type of fish I was introduced to as a child and my love has only grown over the years as I spend more time learning about this species. Although I target multi-species throughout the year and enjoy chasing them all, there’s a special place in my heart for walleye. They were my first connection to the sport of fishing, and this special species has connected me to some truly amazing people over the years, too. One person in particular is my friend, Lori.

I had met Lori initially at a kids ice fishing event a couple years back. We had chatted a few times through social media, and then when I hosted a ladies walleye trip last year, she was one of the first to jump at the opportunity to partake in this adventure. I had only known a couple of the ladies prior to us setting off on this trip together in December of last year, but friendships formed quickly amongst the group and more adventures have followed.&

Lori is a “yes person”, always eager for any fishing adventure no matter the weather. She’s a joy to be around and we both have a common reaction (alright, emotional meltdown) when a memorable fish is landed, ha, ha! I could say that all of our fishing trips so far have been memorable, but a recent adventure is of course another to add to the growing list.

My partner Eric and I had plans to get out on Lake Ontario in pursuit of walleye over the weekend and when I reached out to Lori to join us, she didn’t hesitate. We launched the boat on this chilly fall morning before the sun had even come up. It was choppy on the lake with higher winds in the forecast as the day went on. We were all so bundled up that we joked it was hard to move around or bend our knees. It was certainly worth the potential reward of catching some nice walleye.

angler with walleye

(Photo credit: Ashley Rae)

While I was setting up our trolling spread, the first fish was on before all of our lines were even out yet. Lori brought this first fish in while we watched with anticipation. It didn’t fight hard nor were there any telltale walleye headshakes. It wasn’t until she had it up to the boat and we caught a glimpse that we realized it was a nice big walleye! I netted her fish and lifted it over the gunnels as we all cheered and laughed. Holy smokes, that didn’t take long. The scale revealed that this fish weighed 8 pound and 10 ounces, a heck of a start to the day and Lori’s new personal best to boot! Mission accomplished but of course I was anxious to see what else we could get into.

angler with walleye

(Photo credit: Ashley Rae)

We followed a contour line in about 30 to 35 feet of water where we marked plenty of bait. With each pass, we picked up some nice fish. We each got into some walleye with none less than 8 pounds making it into the boat. I picked up a nice northern pike as well and Eric landed the biggest walleye of the day at a whopping 11 pounds. What a brute! Our top-producing lure was a size 11 Flicker Minnow run at various depths in a few different colours. The fish were quite active. The adrenaline from each fish kept us warm, and in between bites we danced to keep the blood flowing. Eventually the wind became too fierce and we had to make our way back to the boat launch for our own safety before it picked up even more. Although it would have been nice to stay out longer, none of us were complaining after getting into some gorgeous fish and sharing some good laughs. While we packed up the boat at the launch, Lori fired up her little portable grill and heated up her delicious homemade chilly. It was a perfect ending to such a fun day. I can’t wait until our next adventure!

There is one spot remaining for this year’s Ladies Walleye Weekend taking place November 24 - 26, 2017 out of Picton on the Bay of Quinte. For more details, visit: https://shelovestofish.com/2017/09/14/details-for-ladies-walleye-weekend-2017/

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