As my son James eluded to in his earlier article on crappie fishing back in June, The Hunt Blog team are no rookies when it comes to fishing.
This past August long weekend in Tilbury, Ontario aboard a boat captained by my friend and contributing field staff member Ron Ouellette was proof of that! Ron invited me down for the weekend to do some Lake Erie walleye fishing and the timing couldn’t have been better. The bite was on and the weather for the most part looked promising so I took the Friday off and headed down to one of my favorite southern Ontario fishing haunts.
The plan was for Ron, my brother-inlaw Gary and I to hit the Lake Erie water early Friday morning. As planned we were at the Leamington Marina by 7:00 am and greeted by some rolling seas but nothing these seasoned fisherman couldn’t handle.
It was a rough ride out but by 7:45.00 we had our first rod in the water. By 7:45.15 we had our first fish of the morning on. Observant readers will note from the timeline above that this took exactly 15 seconds from the time the lure hit the water until the fish was on the line. Wow we thought! …. Are we in for an exciting morning of fishing and we were!.
For the first hour that was pretty much the case as we managed to land six very nice walleyes among sporadic catches of course fish (Silver Bass, White Perch and Sheepshead which is the norm when fishing worm harnesses). We also lost several nice walleye at the boat which we attributed to the fact that they were not hammering our lures. Some were only lightly hooked and unfortunately got knocked off by the rough water on the way to the boat.
Around 9:00 am the sun started to poke through the overcast sky and the water started to flatten out a bit and so too did the fishing. We only landed two more walleyes over the next hour and a half. We were marking a lot of fish so Ron being the smart angler that he is, experimented at bit at different depths and trolling speeds but nothing seemed to really work. Around 10:30 all that changed. The first thing being the weather! Once again the wind picked up and a small chop on the water switched to rolling waves close to a meter high. Next we lost the sun as clouds started to move in on the wake of a forecasted afternoon storm.
We all commented that we hoped that the change would be good because that was what the early morning weather looked like when we were nailing the fish at the start of the day. To our excitement that is exactly what immediately happened as all four lines hooked up at once. The next hour was filled with double headers and by 11:30 we were on our way back to the dock with a limit of 18 nice walleye in the box.
The ride back in was a rough one but well worth it as you can see from the picture below.
To our surprise the other fisherman who were out on the lake didn’t seem to fair as well but from talking with them it sounded like they were out a lot farther on the lake than we were.
The next morning Ron and I headed out with two different crew members. On this trip we were joined by his son Mike and his son’s friend Derrick both seasoned fisherman. Again we hit the water early and thanks to Ron’s on board GPS system we were able to locate the exact spot where we had luck the day before. With 4 lines in the water we started hooking up on walleyes almost immediately. Similar to the day before the first hour was dynamite as we netted 10 nice fish between us. Unfortunately or fortunately depending how you look at it the weather got extremely nice with water smooth as glass, a clear blue sky and a very bright sun shining down on us. Beautiful yes but not good fishing weather!
Sure enough the walleyes stopped biting and from 9 – 11:00 am we caught 4 fish scattered over a 2 hour period. We listened on the marine radios as boat after boat commented on the poor fishing with most reporting a 2 fish harvest for their efforts. With 14 in our boat we were pretty proud of our efforts but certainly not ready to give up yet. That was when Ron suggested we change locations a bit and move in a little closer to shore. We all agreed it couldn’t hurt so we reeled in the lines and made our move. We found the fish slightly suspended over 32 feet of water but the difference this time was schools of bait fish were showing on the sonar as well.
We stopped the boat, fired up the trolling motor and dropped our bottom bouncers trailing single bladed worm harnesses back in the water. Still not having any luck we started to vary our line let out length from 65 to 120 feet behind the boat. Within minutes the two lines we had set at exactly a 100 feet behind the boat connected on two beautiful walleyes. These were landed and the rest of the lines were set at the 100 foot length. What happened next was amazing as we managed to catch the remaining 8 walleyes we needed for our limit in less than 20 minutes.
High fives singled to the boats around us that we were on our way home with two tremendous coolers full of walleyes. When we pulled the boat out of the water at the marina we were greeted by other mouth dropping anglers who were shocked to see our catch in comparison to their poor harvest of one or two fish. One pair of older fisherman after hearing of our success and getting a few tips from Ron actually decided to put their boat back in the water and head back out.
Sometimes it’s hard to find words to explain the excitement of a bite like the one we experienced on our boat that morning. Pictures on the other hand say a thousand words and the one below says it all!
Any way as all good anglers know the success of a good fishing trip isn’t measured by the stringer but by the enjoyment of good friends and good laughs and we certainly experienced plenty of that on this trip!
A big thank you to my friend Ron and the guys and gals that made this great weekend fishing trip possible.
Story and photos by:
Hunt Blog Pro-Staffer – Greg Mather