Last Ice Walleye/ Out of a Canoe
The last dam on the Fox River before it enters into Green Bay is at Depere. Green Bay is a premier walleye fishery, and a lot of those walleye swim up the Fox to spawn. There is a special trophy fishing season for walleye that runs from March until the first weekend of May and all you can keep is one walleye over 28-inches. I have fished from my boat and casted from shore and the last two years I have paddle trolled with my canoe after dark. Without a doubt I enjoy the canoe fishing the most.
Thursday, March 21st
High 47, low 24
It takes just over two hours to drive from my home near Necedah to Fox Point Landing at Depere. I had my 16-foot aluminum canoe on top of my enclosed trailer, and a plan of fishing on Thursday night and Friday night and then driving to Stevens Point for KAMO’s annual state meeting.
First, I rigged my canoe with rod holders and propane lights. I also rigged both of my trolling rods with 1-ounce in line sinkers, a snap swivel, 36-inches from the weight, and a HJ-12 blue/chrome Husky Jerk “crankbait.” Folks let me tell you, if you are fishing walleye during the spring use the HJ-12 if you are not throwing jigs.
By the time I had everything done it had been dark for just about an hour, and I found myself paddling a canoe for the first time this spring in the dark up a fast flowing river and trying to set lines with each one being pushed away from my canoe with a planer board.
Here is another key part of this story, two nights earlier I was unloading hay from an enclosed trailer and the spring that holds the back door up broke and smacked me in the forehead which was giving me some brain type of issues.
Challenges that come with this type of fishing are setting lines, snags, landing fish, and making sure that you check lines as you never have over 15-minutes and you are dragging some sort of vegetation which means you are wasting your time.
I had been paddling about three-hours had not had a hit and was in a great mood when I got my first snag as I paddled down river. I started paddling backwards and remembered that I had better pull my other line in or I would have trouble with it.
I was reeling it in when it got hit by a big fish and luckily I got pushed into shore or I would have spooled my snagged pole. The fight was awesome as it was a big fish, it was very dark, and there was a lot of current. I was one happy fishermen when the tape measure showed that my first fish was actually a 28-inch legal walleye which naturally, I let go.
After getting the snag out, I had not paddled two minutes when I hooked into another fish which I lost.
I would like to tell you how deep it was but my electronics died several years ago and due to budgetary constraints have not been replaced. Ten minutes after landing Mrs. 28 my pole started dancing as I paddled down river and I caught a 22-inch walleye.
I had about a two hour no fish stretch and then at about 2 a.m. I caught a 23-inch walleye. At this point my head was hurting real bad and my left eye felt like it was gonna pop out so I headed to the truck for a snooze.
Friday, March 22nd
High 40, low 17
A cold spell hit while I was on break and with it came a powerful north wind that was chasing many of the fishermen back to the landing. I waited for 6-hours before I could push my canoe off the ice and go fishing, then I just kept looking at the trillion dollar boats and thinking what did I ever do wrong that I cannot even properly rig a $300.00 canoe?
Anyways, with great glee I pushed my canoe into the Fox and very bad luck came my way as I pushed a little bit too hard, and just about slipped as my canoe was moving away from me into the river. I grabbed one of my fishing poles that was in a rod holder for balance.
The rod gave me something to grab but I put my right pinky directly into an HJ-12 hook and was completely hooked up. I wanted to ask a fisherman for help but was too proud, and could not pull the hook out.
I did have a strong wire cutters so I cut the hook off the lure and ran it all the way through my finger which worked really well. I then went fishing for three hours, did not catch a walleye or see one caught, and that is my story.
If more people fished out of a canoe, it would become very popular and people would be in better health, or dead! Sunset