Ladies Walleye Weekend
What happens when you get nine women together in the frigid late November temperatures to chase big walleye? This 3-day fishing adventure that took place on the Bay of Quinte turned out to be one of the most memorable weekends of my life!
Last year I organized a women’s walleye weekend for the first time. Due to its success, “Ladies Walleye Weekend 2017” was planned over the summer and the eight available spots (with myself as the 9th person) filled up quickly. I shared details of the trip through my social media pages and blog. There were returning anglers from last year and others I had never met. One gal travelled all the way from Texas to partake in this adventure!
Seven of the women, along with myself, arrived on a Thursday evening at an accommodation I had booked in Picton, just minutes away from the Picton Harbour boat launch. The eighth woman joined us on Friday night instead, as she was only able to fish Saturday and Sunday. All the ladies were in great spirits and knew that this body of water can be a tough one, but also of the potential for some true trophy walleye. I hoped all anglers would get into a walleye, at the very least, and also that they would all have a chance to experience some of the large walleye this body of water is known for. These trophy walleye are Lake Ontario grown, migrating into the Bay during late summer/early fall where they will spend the colder months feeding in preparation for spring spawning. It’s a special location that I still call home even though I now live in Ottawa. I spend the majority of my fall fishing time on the Bay as I just can’t get enough of the gorgeous walleye.
Within minutes of arriving at the house, we were all chatting, laughing, and sharing stories. It’s amazing how quickly like-minded people are able to connect. In just a couple of hours, it felt as if we had all known each other for years.
Just like last year, two outstanding guides were on board to get this group of ladies out on the water for three days. Greg Amiel of Fishing 4 Tails and Joe Pickstock of PB&J Charters are two of the best guides in the area, creating a great learning opportunity for the group. Trolling is the preferred fishing style on this body of water in the fall as it is a great way to cover water. Walleye are roaming, travelling along contour lines, and following bait around. For many of the women, it was the first time experiencing anything like this and they were all eager to learn, get involved, and ask questions.
I spent time on both boats and with each group of anglers. When the ladies weren’t reeling in fish, we told stories, danced to keep warm, and laughed so much our tummies hurt and tears streamed down our faces. I feel so fortunate that these women all jumped at this opportunity, and it seems they were all awarded for their efforts. Each angler landed not only a walleye but several! And some real trophies too. Janet caught the largest fish of the trip, weighing 13 pounds and 4 ounces. I’ll never forget just how grateful she was to land such a stunning walleye and I’m so glad I was there to witness the moment. On the last day, Lori tied for the biggest of the trip with another 13-pound, 4-ounce fish. What were the chances of that?! I was thankful to be there for both catches, one landed on Joe’s boat and the other with Greg. Amongst these two giants, there was also a 12-pounder, and a 10-pounder caught with several in the 7-, 8-, and 9-pound range and some smaller fish too. I lost count of how many fish were landed and how many personal bests were crushed. In addition to landing walleye (which was a first for a couple of the ladies), a 16-pound freshwater drum was caught along with a nice northern pike and some white bass too.
There’s no doubt that the impressive fish sure helped make this adventure so incredible, but it was the company that I’ll never forget. Each of these women joined from different directions and backgrounds with a common love for fishing making for such a special experience. I look forward to sharing the water with each of them again (and again). Of course, it simply wouldn’t have been possible without both Joe and Greg who were willing to put up with our wild enthusiasm and frequent laughter. Thank you to all the women who took part in making it such a memorable weekend: Jenn, Lori, Niki, Paula, Nicole, Janet, Alicia, and Heather. I cannot wait until next year!