Women Gone Walleye!

Give a woman a fish and she will cook it.

Give a woman the opportunity to catch trophy walleyes, and…

KA-ZAMMM!  You’ve got friendship, camaraderie, and wild woman adventures spilling all over Lake Of The Woods!  Adventure has many faces—but nothing compares to the faces of 6 women cruising for Walleyes on a fully loaded, decked out downrigger.

The group varies from year to year, from 6 to upwards of 36 women.  This year they came from Chicago and Minnesota, with at least one common goal—to have a great weekend.  Of course, they were all looking for the thrills of reeling in big fish, secretly hoping to snag a lunker Walleye.  Armed with raingear, sunscreen, coolers and determination they met in Minneapolis at 9:00 A.M. Friday, to embark on the 6 hour drive to the top of Minnesota.

It’s no coincidence that the half way rest stop point happens to be Walker, Minnesota, the gift shop haven of the northwest.  They pull in for a quick lunch and a stroll through the main street stores.  A few souvenirs later they are off again, to complete the 2nd half of their journey north, chatting and checking their phones and messages. A Salesperson, an Engineer, a Teacher, a Property Manager, a Programmer, and yours truly.  What a crew of anglers. We discuss our careers, our families and our idea of a perfect life.  Phones are starting to get weak signals.  Several lose reception completely.  We’re almost there….

The last turn right leads us down a narrow road to the lodge and lake. We pull into the parking lot, register, and get keys to our cabin.  “Well girls?  Its 5:00 and time to celebrate!”  We drive over to the spacious cabin, get comfortable, claim beds, unpack, then head to the bar for dinner and drinks.

The place is packed with a buzz across the room all about fish stories.  Big heavy ones, the fighters, the ones that got away, and what went over the boat?  The excitement is infectious.  We can’t wait to get on the water in the morning!  We each commit $2 into the kitty for “biggest fish”.  We talk about “Snag” the hot fishing guide, noting that guide selection is very important since we spend most of the time looking at the back of him…. We review what needs to be done to be ready in the morning.  We laugh and tell fishing stories—and start conversations with others in the bar, listening to their stories, until 6 women’s eyes become heavy and it’s time to call it a night.  Of course a few of us had a little boat decorating to do first.

Saturday morning, 7 A.M. The girls are dashing back and forth from kitchen to bathroom to bedrooms like busy little hummingbirds, getting everything in order for day one on the lake.  Food cooler packed?  Check!  Beer and drink cooler packed?  Check!  Munchies and personal stuff–got it all?  Check!  We gather up our load of necessities and get to the dock by 7:50 A.M. where the boat boys wait to help us with our gear.  We are ready to push off by 8:00 sharp.  Where’s Snag?

EEFish

2012’s Big Fish—what a beauty!

First order of boat business is for everyone to pick a spot to sit.  It can be a long and bumpy ride to the fishy “sweet spots”.  Snag arrives, gets situated, we are all seated, so he begins to pull out amongst the mighty mass of downriggers moving slowly through the “no wake” zone.  Chatting starts up right away, laughing at who brought what, or forgot what, where’s that bag of chips, and whatnot. We call out birthdays to establish our “reeling line up”, it helps keep activity on the boat more organized to take turns reeling in fish. When a line goes off,  it’s the next persons turn to reel.  When multiple lines go off during a big run, things can really get wild.  The combination of the boat rocking, and sun pounding us all day can make keeping track of who’s up next difficult. Remember who is before you and who is after you. Add in adult beverages and of course, try to remember you….

What could be better than spending two hot sticky dog days of summer out on big waters of Lake of the Woods?  This is a prime fish catching time of year.  And boy, are we catching them!  Saugers and Walleyes, walleyes and saugers.  Every 5 minutes someone is shouting “fish on!” and girls are jockeying back and forth between each other to grab a pole and reel in a fish.  The action is crazy!  We will have our limits in no time.  Snag can barely keep up with or keep count of our fish.  You know it’s a good day when we can become selective on what we keep.  No trophies yet, but a whole lot of very nice fish.  What is a trophy fish?  Must be at least a MINIMUM 10 pound fish and 29 inches.  And they are down there, for sure!

The beauty of this type of fishing is there is no pressure.  Some participants don’t ever touch a fish or a hook or the bait.  Some of us don’t mind helping out with netting and taking fish off. No one is judged either way.  Experienced anglers join this trip, first timers come, and everyone in between.  It’s a girl’s weekend in the north woods, to laugh, learn and live it up with the ladies!

Fish4And that’s exactly what we do Saturday night.  Some of our “catch of the day” is fried up for Fish2us to enjoy in the bar as we tell new fish stories to all who will listen.  A little dancing, a little imbibing, and a whole lot of fun wrap up an amazing day of Walleye fishing.  We exit the bar just as a bus load of bridal shower girls pile in.  Perfect timing.

Sunday morning, same routine.  Six women, synchronized buzzing around the cabin, getting things ready, then down to the boat before 8:00.  ‘What happens at the lake, stays at the lake’, so, many details are being omitted, indeed.  But let’s just say that to our delight, Saturday’s boat ornament was still intact.  Snag starts up the engine and once again 6 Walleye lovin’ women are off to search for the big one.

Another great day on the water.  This time, less fish are hitting, more jokes being told, and eventually, “The Fish Dance” must be performed to lure fish to our boat.  Remember what I said about what happens on the boat?  Only those who attend these great fishing trips are privy to this “a-lure-ing” dance. By the end of the day our limits are filled and a Minnesota teacher walks away with the kitty for big fish for the weekend–weighing in at almost 8 pounds and 27 inches.  After posing for a few pictures she gently released that mama Walleye back to the dark waters.Group

Another evening of fresh caught Walleye in the bar, and stories galore.  Monday  morning, 6 happy anglers pack up and head back south to their worlds, with, many great memories to smile about until next year’s trip.

Adventure can be found in many places. Women Gone Walleye find it at Lake of the Woods in August.  Maybe you would too!

 

 

This is an annual event.  If you or someone you know would be interested in joining the 2015 Women’s Wild Walleye Weekend, contact me today for complete details and trip information.  And please share with others who may be looking for an action packed, fishy adventure—I have packages available for mixed groups, men’s groups and corporate groups as well.

 

 

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Comments

  1. My dad took me fishing for walleye and other fish many times. I never did catch fish, apparently don’t have the knack. I mostly remember getting a lot of reading done-and losing a few books in the lakes and rivers.

    • I know many people who read on the water–it’s very relaxing! Me, I tend to fall asleep from the waves gently rocking the boat–dreaming about catching the fish….

  2. Oh I am so jealous. Love to do this. When I was little my very favourite thing to do at the cabin was bash the fish we caught. And gut them. Loved that. Haven’t been fishing in since I can’t remember. It’s been probably a good 20 years. So lovely that you have this tradition and that the numbers sometimes swell to 36. What a fun post Paddy. It was a pleasure to read and brought back a wealth of happy memories for me.Thank you!

  3. Loved your story Patty….fishing not so much my game, but you made it sound really fun. And of course, helped in bringing back memories of my girls gang of outings we’ve taken over the years. Ours however, have been mostly to do with snowmobiling and 4-wheeling and the annual mountain man get-together that takes place in Palisade, MN. I’ve been known to throw a tomahawk or two, not always hitting the bullseye, but at least hitting the block of wood. 🙂 Thank you!!

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