World Class Walleye Fishing
I had a chance to spend a day fishing with my fishing buddy, Charter Captain Scott Walcott, on the Bay of Quinte towards the end of November, and the big walleyes were definitely on the move. In the leadup to my arrival, Scott had had a couple of charters booked and, on one of them, the group’s best walleye weighed 12 1/2 pounds. On the other charter, the biggest walleye caught weighed in at 12 pounds, 13 ounces. Needless to say, I was excited to get out with him.
The fall walleye fishing on the Bay of Quinte has been legendary for a long time. For the last 30 years, I’ve been going down there night fishing for walleyes by casting crankbaits. I’ve also trolled for them, both at night and during the day. I’ve even jigged for them. One of the things about the fall walleye fishery on the Bay is that you can catch them basically 24 hours a day using a number of different techniques.
When I first met Scott a number of years ago, his primary business was West Lake Willows. It’s located down the road from Picton, just outside of Sandbanks Provincial Park, and has 700 feet of shoreline on West Lake. Scott has some fully furnished trailers that you can rent there, as well as seasonal trailer sites for people who want to stay there for the whole season.
About two years ago he acquired the Picton Harbour Inn, which is right in Picton Bay. This is a wonderful, 30-room hotel that sits very close to the site of where an original inn was built as early as the 1790s. Scott has been working diligently on the Inn and he’s got the rooms redone with new beds, new TVs, and new furnishings. He’s also made a lovely landscaped boardwalk out behind the hotel that runs all along the waterfront. The majority of the rooms overlook the harbour, and the Inn’s Lighthouse Restaurant is currently open for breakfast and lunch. As far as I’m concerned, it’s one of the best places to go for breakfast in the world! It’s a great place to stay that’s within walking distance to downtown. There is a lot to see and do when you’re in Picton, but I was there specifically for the big walleyes.
One of the coolest things about the Picton Harbour Inn is that Scott, his brother Dave, and three or four other charter boats all have their boats tied up at the Inn’s docks. It’s just a hop, skip and a jump from your room to the waterfront where you can be aboard Scott’s boat or one of the other charter boats that are there. The fact that you can stay at the Inn, get up in the morning, have breakfast, and go straight to the charter boat for a day of fishing is very convenient.
On this trip I decided that, rather than bring one of our boats, we’d fish aboard Scott’s custom welded aluminium boat that has a cuddy cabin. He keeps that thing at room temperature so if it’s cold outside you can sit inside and stay warm while you keep an eye on the planer boards and rods.
We got out on the water and started trolling over 100 feet of water. It wasn’t long before we had our first fish, a small walleye that was around three or four pounds. The second fish we landed had the scales bouncing between 11 pounds, 5 ounces and 1 pound, 7 ounces. Then we got a few more smaller fish before landing another good one that was pushing 10 pounds. Overall we landed six fish and had a great day on the water.
What made this trip really interesting is that Scott has a stainless steel barbeque bolted to the railings on the back deck of his boat. On our outing, Scott had some roast beef and roasted potatoes that he had pre-cooked the night before and then heated up on the barbeque. He had two types of salads and all kinds of other treats onboard the boat for us too. I know that he will also barbeque hamburgers, and he’s been known to cook marinated chicken breasts on the grill and serve them on a bun. What can I say—we enjoyed a wonderful meal while not missing a beat trolling for these big walleyes! Throughout the day, he even made a couple of pots of coffee. It was, without a doubt in the history of me doing the TV show, one of the easiest shoots I’ve ever been on. To go out there on a November day and be fed, kept warm and comfortable, and be able to catch world-class walleyes, well, it just doesn’t get much better than that.
One of the only problems is trying to get a day booked with Scott. He only runs his charters in the spring for a bit and, then again, in the fall for a while. He doesn’t charter through the summer months because he’s busy with his properties. And, because of his reputation and his first-class service, he always has people that want to go out with him. It’s a good idea to get in touch with him early if you want to book a trip with him.
If your idea of a great fishing trip fishing is being comfortable, eating some really good food, and having the chance to catch the absolute walleye of a lifetime, you really should consider basing your trip out of the Picton Harbour Inn. I know I’ll be going back.