Bay of Quinte Falleye
It's that time of year again for the big Lake Ontario walleye to make their way into the Bay of Quinte. During the fall and winter months the walleye will migrate into the Bay of Quinte from Lake Ontario to prepare for the annual spawn. This is the perfect time for anglers to target trophy walleye and what's called "Quinte Gold". Quinte gold is considered to be a walleye over ten pounds and they can get up to fifteen pounds or more, so the odds are good that you will land yourself some gold.
Recently I was fishing with Co-Host of Fish-TV, Jeff Chisholm. Jeff uses Garmin's Panoptix on his boat. What Panoptix does is essentially the same as what your fish Finder does but it shoots ahead of the boat. So what it shows you is what the fish are doing ahead of the boat and not just under the boat. Sometimes you will mark a fish as little as 5' below the surface. As the boat approaches you can see that fish starting to dive deeper. Then as the boat goes over the fish it then shows up on the traditional sonar at a deeper depth. So the boat has in turn spooked that fish. Now if the fish doesn't appear on the traditional sonar, where could it have gone? Out to the side of the boat. So that being said, in-line planer boards are an essential go to for us walleye anglers. What these do is get your baits out and away from the boat and puts the bait in the faces of the non-spooked walleye. Click this link https://www.youtube.com/panoptix to see Jeff explain how Garmin’s Panoptix really works for suspended walleye!
Planning to fish a day on the bay usually starts the night before in the garage, tying on your favourite Rapala. I personally run 50lb Sufix braid and then tie on a 6' long 20lb Sufix flurocarbon leader using the double uni-knot. I don't use fluro for its invisibility but for its great durability and abrasion resistance. Then I'll tie on a lure with an improved fisherman’s knot. Be sure to wet the fluro a bit with saliva before pulling your knot tight.
Lure choice can leave a few folks mind boggled. So let me mention a few of my go to baits for walleye on the Bay of Quinte. My number one lure would have to be a Deep Tail Dancer (TDD-11). It will dive to 30' and the action is irresistible to feeding fall walleye. If you tie it on your line and drop it over the side of the boat and just watch it, it's mesmerizing.
Next in line is the Jointed Deep Husky Jerk (JDHJ-12). Diving to 13' it's ideal for targeting higher suspended feeding walleye. But if you choose to run it a bit deeper, you can add the use of a snap weight.
Third on the list is fairly new to Rapala's line up. It's the Scatter Rap Tail Dancer (SCRTD09). They really outdid themselves with the action on this lure. Diving to 19’ and adding the evasive, erratic action that the Scatter Lip creates, you have one deep-diving, aggressive lure.
Last but certainly not least is the Deep Down Husky Jerk (DHJ-12). Diving to 19', it's a great lure to add to your spread.
Start the day by letting out the desired length of line to get the bait down to its diving depth. Then clip on an in-line planer board. Offshore planer boards are the go to for most walleye anglers. Make sure to leave a little slack in the line between the two clips. This allows the board to track better. With the board clipped on, send it out away from the boat to target those suspended feeding walleye. Planer boards are made to plane out to the right (starboard) or the left (port) side of the boat so you can run multiple boards on each side of your boat.
Speed is crucial. 1.7-1.9 mph is the normal speed to troll. But don't be surprised if they want it a hint faster or slower. If you have a bigger motor and are having trouble getting your trolling speed down, look at getting a trolling plate or drift sock. These tools could make the difference between putting fish in the boat or having the smell of skunk in your boat.
The Bay of Quinte doesn't just produce big walleye. As myself, Rob Grouchy, Rob Farrell, Melissa Cochrane and Jeff Chisholm show, it produces some very respectable pike and lake trout too. Using the same lures and set up you can achieve the same success for pike and lake trout as you do for walleye.
The walleye in the Bay of Quinte can truly reach an incredible size. And what the smaller fish lack in size they make up for in numbers. This past fall, Jeff Chisholm, Rob Farrell, Rob Grouchy and myself ventured out on to the Bay in search of some gold. We spent the better part of the day running around trying to find a pod of walleye that would eat. That time spent was well worth it. Rob Farrell was next up to reel in, but what we didn’t know was he was about to reel in a new personal best. Blowing his previous personal best out of the water with this 13.8lb walleye.
It wasn’t 10 minutes and 2 fish later, Rob Farrell was reeling in another big walleye. The fish came to the surface just behind the boat and we couldn’t believe our eyes, it was bigger than the 13.8 lb! We net the fish and bring it in the boat and weigh it. It was 15 lbs on the dot! So not only did Rob Farrell beat his personal best this day, he beat it twice within 10 minutes of each other.
Now that your Rapalas are in the water, your planer boards are out to the side of the boat, your speed is dialed in and your rods are in their holders, you anxiously wait to hear the clickers go off. It's only a matter of time before you hook into your very own Bay of Quinte trophy walleye.
If you don't have a boat and the gear, there are lots of charters on the bay to choose from like Bay of Quinte Charters and PB&J Charters to name a couple. You can use this link http://quintefishingcharters.com to find more. If you are coming from out of town there are a few places near Quinte to stay including Picton Harbour Inn, located in Picton, Twin Peaks Motel, located in Napanee and Millhaven Inn, located in Millhaven.
Get to the Bay of Quinte and join in on the fun catching these once in a life time trophy Fall Walleye!
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