Trophy walleye out of a canoe

You know you are a redneck when you live in a canoe, wear chest waders, have no electronics on board and push yourself to the point of “almost complete” mental and physical breakdown while living in that canoe.

You know you are a “successful redneck” when you catch very large walleye while doing the above.

Sunday, March 25

High 38, Low 24

From the mouth of the Fox River at Green Bay to the dam at De Pere there is a special season each spring for walleye. This is where walleye that have migrated from Green Bay to spawn are stopped by the dam at De Pere and must be 28 inches to be kept.

Anyone that has fished this piece of river during March or early April knows that it can be wall-to-wall fishermen with some of them being nice and some of them not so nice, and that on any given day you may see hundreds of boats in the $35,000-$90,000 range.

I easily become bored and anyone that knows me is well aware that I am as hyper as a weasel in a hen house, so I made the decision to fish the Fox in my canoe and set some goals.

I told myself when I started paddling at 5:21 this afternoon that unless I flipped my 16-foot canoe I was not getting out until 10:21 the following morning.

Being that I am hyper I made the choice that I was going to paddle troll for that entire time. Last December I purchased four 7-foot Okuma trolling rods with Okuma reels that even had line counters. You may have read some of the many stories that I have written since 1989 on this type of fishing and I have never had a trolling rod.

I do not have electronics for my canoe as they died a number of years ago and in reality I do not miss them.

So here is the scenario: I am rigging up at Fox Point Landing in De Pere, the parking lot is full because there is a tournament, I am wearing chest waders and feeling a tad bit intimidated.

I am going to use Husky Jerk crankbaits. I like a blue/chrome crankbait but put a gold/black on one of my two poles.

I have a propane lantern as well as glow sticks to work with and to help keep from getting run over.

From 5:21 to 8:30 p.m. I was paddling about a two-mile stretch of river and had only seen one fish caught and heard very poor reports from several fishermen that I spoke with as I paddled past them.

Good luck came my way when about 8:30 p.m. the blue/ chrome was hit and I attempted the crazy task of getting on my hands and knees on the floor of my canoe and catching my quarry.

The biggest challenge next to netting your quarry is taking the planer board off and not losing the fish. I was lucky and just like that had a 19-inch walleye onboard.

That fish was the start of an almost unreal experience. One, my feet froze along with with everything icing up in my canoe. Two, as the night went on and I approached being up for 24 hours I became incredibly tired. Three, and this was huge because I either paddled on my knees or was sitting on a wooden box, and my quads, gluteus and upper body became so sore it almost made me give up.

The real story was that I had the best canoe fishing of my life tonight. As soon as I released the 19-inch walleye I hooked into a big walleye that I lost at the canoe.

An hour later I caught a very pregnant 23-inch walleye and my chest waders were frozen solid. The blue/chrome was winning the day and so I switched my other pole to that color as well and hooked into a very big walleye about 11 p.m..

When it got close to the canoe I could see with my head lamp that I had a dandy. Soon I netted a 28-incher, soon to be an egg layer, which I released with a big smile on my face.

My friends, nothing would happen for 30 minutes and then I would catch another 23- or a 19-inch walleye. Altogether I caught 10 walleyes which seven of them were over 21 inches.

At 4:45 a.m the local school quit biting and I never had another strike. I fished until after 8 a.m. and had been in the canoe for 15 hours when I got out. I could hardly walk or think.

I had to pull over at Little Chute because I could not drive. I’m already looking forward to next year.

Rednecks rock!


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