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An Outdoorsman’s Journal

An Outdoorsman’s  Journal An Outdoorsman’s  Journal

Hello friends, I can honestly say I would rather fish out of a canoe than a boat. I enjoy the challenge which physical danger and skill adds to the game and there is no worries of a trailer or boat break down. Green Bay is probably my favorite place to paddle troll. I have had incredible success and some trips where I did not come close to catching a fish. This week I headed just north of Oconto to fish for walleyes and sleep wherever my canoe took me.

Sunday, May 21 High 74, Low 43

I am at Oconto County Park and Campground, which is north of Oconto about 7 miles. My plan is to rig my canoe for fishing and pack it for traveling. I take my time at the landing and talk to about a dozen fishermen who do not have good reports as they trailer their boats.

My rig is ready and I begin paddling north toward Peshtigo. After my Helix 7 tells me I am over 7-feet of water, I begin setting lines which, in this case, is a couple of planer boards with crawler harnesses behind them and a crankbait straight back on a spinning rod. I am very excited for a rod to start bending and the crazy experience of catching a big walleye while fighting it on my knees on the floor of my canoe. Long story short, after four hours I did not have a hit nor did any fishermen that I spoke with. I headed to a hideout campsite near Peshtigo where I was immediately hit by a wave of mosquitoes that were very hungry.

I put up my tent as fast I possibly could, sprayed the door area with bug dope, opened the door and got in as fast I could. The tent I am using is about the size of a coffin and from inside I could watch and listen to thousands of mosquitoes, and they all had one common goal.

Monday, May 22 High 75, Low 46

I was awake at first light and knew I had to get out of bed (sleeping bag on the ground), get out of my tent and break camp as fast as I possibly could. I did this and it was not a pleasant way to start the day. Bug dope and lots of clothes worked. So, I am paddling out to sea, there is a northeast wind and every report I have says it will switch to the south in mid to late morning. I say perfect, head south toward Oconto, which is maybe 10 miles away and use the southern tailwind to push me back to my truck.

I know that I am going to catch a lot of walleyes and I am very excited. Two hours into my journey, not a hit and the wind is still out of the northeast. At 12:30 p.m. I had been in the canoe for six hours. I am kneeling on a cooler and I have cooler butt and squashed knees. I am at the Oconto landing and the wind is still out of the northeast. I paddle west along the shoreline, but about a mile out, anything less than 7 feet of water is guaranteed weeds, which is guaranteed no fish and a lot of work to reset lines.

At 1:42 my spinning rod starts bending. I have been fishing for more than 11 hours counting the night before. I am in disbelief when I pull it out of the rod holder, and I actually have a fish on. Believe it or not I caught a 23-inch walleye. I’m not a zero, I’m a hero. I re-rig, I am maybe six miles from my truck and the northeast wind is now a headwind and getting stronger. Sometimes my hands go numb, often I get blown into the weeds.

My trophy is double hooked on my trusty stringer, I pick it up to look at it and my stringer has broken. I can honestly say, I seldom get mad, and I didn’t, but I was bummed, I guess I am a zero. Just like that two rods start bending, I get a double on perch, and they are amazingly huge. I get blown into very shallow water, the wind is now very strong, I am well aware that I am in the land of H. E. double toothpicks.

I tried to fish to the last minute but was constantly losing ground instead of gaining. The last 500 yards to the landing was true 3-footers. I am played out, I make it to the Chevy Hotel. I have a hard time getting out of my canoe after exactly 12 hours of being in it. My trusty truck pulls into my driveway just before midnight, I have a coating of sunscreen, bug spray, worm goo and sweat covering my body. I fail to even use a washcloth to clean up, the sheets can be washed.

I must return to Green Bay! Sunset

Mark Walters sponsored by