“Seventy ft to go,” OOD Editor/Affiliate Writer Ray Blades stated, glancing on the reel’s line counter show.

“Be prepared. Quinte walleye typically get up and battle more durable the nearer they get to the boat.”

Not lengthy after information Greg Amiel imparted this recommendation, the rod in Blades’ arms got here alive, bouncing with the burden of the day’s first fish. Steadily gaining line, Blades stored the walleye out of the prop wash because it neared the floor, and Amiel proficiently netted it with a flawless execution earned by repeating the identical motion hundreds of occasions.

As Blades held the fish for a couple of fast pictures, the morning solar lit up the chunky eight-pounder broadside, accentuating its golden hue. My pictures didn’t do it justice as a result of, in that second, you’d be hard-pressed to discover a fish extra putting than the Bay of Quinte walleye he was holding. Then it was gone, swimming once more within the clear, chilly water.

Blades and I arrived in Prince Edward County the night time earlier than and stayed on the Picton Harbour Inn. We met Amiel at 6:30 a.m. on the inn’s docks, the place he moors his Lund 2075 Tyee when Quinte guiding.

On the books since early spring, I’d been anticipating this December journey all season — and because of good firm, nice climate, and cooperative walleye, it turned out to be a unbelievable day of fishing.

The lure of the Bay

By mid-October in lots of waterbodies, sizeable teams of walleye may be discovered the place they’ll keep throughout winter. What makes the Bay of Quinte particular is that this sample unfolds on an epic scale with trophy fish.

“Giant, Lake Ontario walleye migrate into Bay of Quinte within the fall. They principally observe the bait from the lake after which they spawn there within the spring,” Amiel stated. “These are slow-growing fish. Lifespans may very well be virtually 20 years on these huge fish, 12 to fifteen years are widespread.”

Amiel’s greatest Quinte walleye are 15 and-a-half kilos; he’s caught 4 of them. Autumn fishing right here brings the potential of catching a fish of a lifetime, together with good odds of encountering eight to 10-pound fish.

The bay’s resident walleye deserve point out, although. Usually 5 kilos or much less, these fish reside all through the system and may be caught utilizing numerous ways year-round. It’s the huge, migratory Lake Ontario walleye, nevertheless, that give the Bay of Quinte its world-class repute. Even walleye anglers who’ve by no means visited are prone to acknowledge the waterbody’s common sections.

Adolphus Attain is one such space. It holds the deepest water and begins simply past the bay’s entrance close to Amherst Island, finally lowering in depth as you progress in direction of Glenora. Right here, the Bay of Quinte’s widespread traits take maintain.

“Most of it’s gentle backside, however you do have rocky shoals and rocky factors, and there’s all the time usually a lightweight present heading from west to east, from Trenton all the way in which all through to Lake Ontario,” Amiel stated. “Bay of Quinte has numerous depths, constructions, and water readability. Be mindful, these bigger walleye are open-water, roaming fish, so contour fishing is just not as essential within the fall in comparison with the spring.”

Farther inward lie Picton Bay, Thompson Level, Hay Bay, Shermans Level, and Lengthy Attain — all common walleye trolling areas. Past Deseronto, the Bay narrows and passes below the Quinte Skyway Bridge. Its waters widen at Large Bay earlier than constricting considerably at Belleville, then persevering with past Anderson Shoal after which simply past the Development River’s outflow.

The place to start

“Within the fall, fish ought to be all through the entire system since you nonetheless have your resident walleye. However, once you’re speaking about lake walleye, there ought to be huge fish from Belleville all over to the lake,” Amiel stated.

One other vital element is the migratory Lake Ontario walleye in Quinte are baitfish oriented. Walleye location shifts in accordance with the nomadic behaviour of their prey. This makes a high quality fish finder important for finding fish.

“Drive round and use your sonar to mark bait and search for huge hooks. That’s the place you’re going to catch fish,” Amiel stated. “Energetic walleye are inclined to feed increased within the water column, so focusing on the best hooks in your sonar is vital.”

Realizing the place prey and predator are inside this large Lake Ontario inlet is one in every of many causes to think about hiring a good information who’s tuned into walleye actions. Many occasions, I’ve visited Quinte with associates and put collectively a program. We spent a great chunk of our time, nevertheless, eliminating unproductive water and didn’t catch as many fish as Blades and I did with Amiel, who had us on biting walleye in brief order.

The trolling program

Trolling deep-diving crankbaits on lengthy strains behind inline planer boards is Amiel’s most well-liked methodology for large, suspending Quinte fall walleye.

Throughout our journey, walleye holding at 18 to 22 ft couldn’t resist Rapala’s Down Deep Husky Jerks run 80 to 100 ft behind Offshore Sort out Inline Planer Boards and swimming 1.5- to 1.8 miles-per-hour.

Anglers may also have success trolling stickbaits and shallow-running cranks on 4 to 5 colors of lead core, Amiel identified. Jet and Dipsy Divers are different choices for getting baits into the strike zone of suspending walleye.

As you’d count on, typical trolling benefits ring true on Quinte. The tactic covers water and, when finished correctly, retains baits steadily swimming within the strike zone. Lengthy-lining a crankbait behind an inline planer board strikes the lure away from the boat, a key ingredient for getting bites from simply spooked walleye. To not be neglected, both, is how an skilled troller — which Amiel most definitely is — can preserve boat management and, in flip, persistently execute a correct presentation in tough water.

Ending on a excessive observe

Early afternoon introduced robust wind gusts, however this didn’t stop us from catching a number of extra fish earlier than it was time to return to the dock. Till now, Amiel had given Blades and I each rod that fired, however we lastly satisfied him to hitch in on the enjoyable.

In the direction of the top of the journey, Blades and Amiel connected with a double-header. Watching them snicker and reel in fish beneath a blue sky and a heat (for December) solar, I mirrored on how fortunate I used to be to have spent the day with good associates, catching huge, golden walleye from the legendary Bay of Quinte. I hope sometime you’ve gotten a chance to expertise the identical on this iconic fishery.

Gear we used

  • Shimano’s Tekota line counter reels for exact line management.
  • G. Loomis E6X Walleye Trolling Rods. Eight-footers for inside trolling unfold strains, 10-footers on the surface.
  • 30-pound PowerPro Braid or 20-pound monofilament primary line. Amiel runs each, as one can generally outproduce the opposite.
  • 30- to 40-foot lengthy, 15-pound fluorocarbon chief.

We had been focusing on fish at round 20 ft, so we didn’t use snap weights, however Amiel sometimes makes use of them to get baits deeper. For instance, clipping on a 1.5-ounce weight about 50 ft in entrance of a crankbait with a complete of 150 of line out can improve a lure’s working depth by roughly 10 ft.

When to go to

The Bay of Quinte’s resident walleye present regular angling motion all season. There’s a great spring chew in Could and June however hooking double-digit walleye is almost certainly in fall. Large fish are sometimes caught from round mid-October via to the ice-fishing season.

The place to remain

We stayed on the Picton Harbour Inn, which is operated by brothers Scott and David Walcott, additionally native fishing guides, and Scott’s spouse Sophia. Tucked inside a sheltered harbour, the Inn offers handy waterfront lodging and is minutes from the boat ramp. Our room left nothing to be desired when it comes to consolation, cleanliness, and facilities. We introduced our personal meals, however the Inn’s Lighthouse Restaurant is thought for its scrumptious, homestyle meals. Rooms from $129 in November.

Initially printed within the Nov.-Dec. 2022 difficulty of Ontario OUT of DOORS

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