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Event:  Walleye Opening Day 2013

Location:  Sturgeon Lake, Ontario.

Conditions:  Cold, as in “aachoo!” cold.

My expectations were high (first mistake) ;  I was going fishing with a veteran on his water, but the conditions cooled those expectations quickly and this walleye season opener became one of those fishing trips where you say things like “A bad day fishing is better than the best day at work”.  Very true, very true!  I’ll take the trip for what it was – a fun day fishing and a weekend with some buds!  Also, the Leafs won game 6 against Boston the evening before in the Stanley Cup play-offs, so I knew that things weren’t exactly right with the universe.

The rain didn’t fall in droplets, it cascaded in a mist that permeated through our water proof membranes.  The wet didn’t exactly soak our skins, but it soaked our cores and spirits, which suffered further after stopping at the local marina/restaurant for breakfast and coffee.  Breakfast itself was a  soggy affair.  Luckily I’m not a restaurant critic as I would name the diner here in an effort to warn away the weary traveler.   We should have got the hint to not order as-soon-as the waitress attempted to pawn off a pre-made sandwich.   It probably would have been an improvement over the Big Breakfast though.  Big Breakfast consisted of a plate of overcooked, greasy meat, tough eggs and a spattering of barely recognizable charred potato chunks.  Definitely not appetizing.  We found two things amusing though; The waitress talked away on a portable phone while serving us, letting the person on the other end know how busy she was with customers for a change (we were the only 3 people in the restaurant), and she made mention of the fact that the chef had a special process of marinating his meat for 2 days.  Later, on the boat while our breakfast were revisiting us, I made a jest that the marinating process must have been letting the meat sit on the side of the road for 2 days before butchering the road kill.

This is a fishing blog though, not a restaurant criticism, so here is the nitty-gritty on that – fishing was poor as our meal.  My companions were seasoned veterans of these waters, having fished them many times.  Jonathan had brought me here once before and put me on walleye.  They were exactly where he said they would be so I know that  if anyone was going to have a chance catching walleye this opener, it was Jon.   Alas, this was not to be.  Mike did catch a keeper walleye, Sturgeon Lake has a slot limit, but he was the only one amongst us with bragging rights.  Sean, and the friend with him took off early.  They were canoeing it and the cold, rough conditions put them off early.  The hits we had, even from the perch were light at best.  Usually, you feel a fish bite and if you are patient,  you will feel them commit to the bait.  This was not to be.  If you felt a nibble, that was it, there was no take, no further nibbles, no head shakes, just a nibble and then gone, usually with the tail from the bait.  We were using Phoenix tackle grub tails which are very soft plastics.

We spent quite a few hours on the water that day, but we knew the cold front that had dropped temperatures from the mid-twenties to just above freezing, had played havoc on the fishing.  We caught one keeper.  Very few people on that water could make such a boast.  It was a very disappointing opener.

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