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Ice Walleye – A Weekend on the Bay of Quinte
by Jason Barnucz 2009

Currently Ontario residents are facing a record winter. Bitter cold and record snowfalls has been par for the course. I am not sure about most residents but this is good news to me. Like many fisherman I enjoy chasing our finned friends year round. Ice fishing is no exception. I usually spend my hardwater trips chasing Yellow Perch, Bluegill, Pumpkinseed and Black Crappie. However, we all like catching big fish from time to time. Recently I spent a weekend on the Bay of Quinte. My recent trip started out with some bitterly cold temps. A strong high pressure system was going to make fishing tough. Even with the weather I managed to convince a group of my closest friends to join me. Temperatures were close to -20C with wind chills closer to -30C. Thank goodness for the protection provided by portable ice shelters.

Jason Barnucz Big Walleye

We set up on a large flat, adjacent to some main lake structure. Depths ranged from 22ft to 17ft. The first fish from our group came shortly after 9am. A solid 10.5lb walleye. The next fish to come through the ice was 7.5lbs. Two great fish landed within the first hour of fishing. By 10am the bite had drastically slowed. The high sun and clear skies seemed to chase away any wandering fish on my flasher. I spent the remainder of the day running around to intercept some fish. All my hard work would not pay off on Day 1. It was time to regroup back at the motel.

 

At 6am on Day 2 I was met with 10cm of fresh snow outside of the motel door. A strong low pressure system had moved in overnight. We decided to try a different location for the second day of our trip. Our group was reduced from 12 to 3 due to the bad weather. We arrived just before sunrise at our new location. There were a few portable shelters on the ice but not much action. We set up in 20ft of water. I started to mark fish almost immediately. Some marks were perch but some behaved more like a curious walleye would. Soon my flasher showed me the tell tale mark of a large fish approaching my jigging spoon. I worked this fish methodically for a few minutes. Then there was that familiar ‘tap’ on the end of my Frabill medium/heavy rod. I set the hook hard. This fish barely moved as I my rod was doubled over. The fish slowly swam back and forth under the ice. Then I saw the fish approach the hole. This walleye was huge! I was not sure if it would squeeze through my hole. After some negotiating I quickly steered the head of the beast through the hole.

 

Walleye Too big for the holeI dropped to my knees. This fish was enormous! I have never seen a walleye this size before. My two friends quickly ran over to my location. They were laughing with excitement. I was speechless! I quickly pulled my digital scale from my pocket. I told my friend ‘I think this fish is over ten pounds?”. I was assured it was much larger than ten pounds. Sure enough the scale settled on 13lbs 14oz. What a monster! This was the biggest walleye of my life! After two quick pictures the fish went back down the hole to be caught again another day. The day was not over. My other two friends landed two large walleye, 7lb and 10lb respectively. What a day! It is amazing how a weather shift overnight can change a fish’s and a fisherman’s outlook!

Ahead of me was a long, snowy drive home from the Bay of Quinte. Visions of my new conquest would linger in my head for the long drive.

Now, where to go for my next ice fishing adventure? Heard rumours of some slab crappie close to home. Sounds good to me!

- Jason Barnucz

 

Quinte Walleye Report from Ashley Rae

 

Ashley Rae 2011

This photo is from Sunday, January 9th, 2011 on the Bay of Quinte. I went out for the afternoon/sunset bite and caught a couple walleye, with this guy being my biggest. Fishing in 15 feet of water and this time using my spinning set up (Shimano Sahara 500FD reel, medium-heavy action rod, 10lb PowerPro ice line) and perch colour jigging raps rigged with live minnows.

 

I marked a lot of walleye on my flasher, yet they were hard to please. The first one I caught was when my screen was full of perch, it showed up out of nowhere and hit hard. Love that feeling! This walleye stalked my jig for a long time before committing. It's fun to use different techniques and try and entice the fish to bite, although I feel that I should have slowed down my jigging early on. After realizing an aggressive retrieve was not working, I slowly rose the jig higher and higher with small twitches, and when this fish approached I retrieved very slowly, stopping every few inches. Finally, at about 7-8 feet he struck! YES!

 

I will be hitting the ice again this weekend, hope to have more pictures to share!

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