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American anglers spend week going after Quinte's 'monsters'

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American anglers spend week going after Quinte's 'monsters'


By Henry Bury / intelligencer.ca

March 1, 2008



Ten American anglers spent the past week trying to reel in "monsters" from the frozen Bay of Quinte.


They didn't leave for home empty-handed either.


This morning, the group - eight from Wisconsin and two from Upper Michigan - took home three prized walleye, each measuring at least 32 inches in length and weighing at least 13 pounds to have mounted. They also took a couple of smaller walleye for eating.


"I got my monster," said a happy Royal Schram of Upper Michigan.


"By far, it's the biggest one I ever caught. That makes the trip here well worth it."


The 43-year-old driver for Sysco Foods said he will have the fish mounted and then placed in a glass coffee table, with gravel and seaweed on the bottom, "to make it look like it's in the water.


"I'm sure it will be quite the conversation piece whenever anyone comes to my house," said Schram.


When asked why Americans would drive approximately 1,300 kilometres over the better part of a day to fish local waters, Schram replied, "It's in all the magazines back home, how this Belleville area is great for fishing."


In rivers and lakes back home, he said it's common to snag walleye weighing eight to 10 pounds but rarely anything bigger.


"But when you can catch 12 to 15-pound walleye up here, you might as well take a shot," he quickly added.


One angler from the group who left for home Friday was Keith Tobias, of Fox Valley, in Wisconsin.


"He's probably one of the best known walleye anglers around but he took nothing back with him," Schram said.


Schram and three of the anglers fished here last winter.


"That was like our maiden voyage. We all stayed in Belleville and learned more about the area and where the good fishing spots are," he said.


Schram and nine other anglers - some who didn't know each other - decided to return to the Quinte area this month to try their luck again.


They arrived Feb. 23 and stayed the entire week at the Baycrest Lodge and Marina here "because it's a lot closer to where we wanted to fish."


The group shared expenses - and one bathroom - so they could fish about 10 hours a day.


Each brought portable ice huts to shield them from what winter threw their way on the bay. Several had four-wheelers with them for transportation purposes.


Ted Dachelet, 45, of Wisconsin, was among the anglers who caught between six and eight large walleye each measuring about 30 inches. "But we released those because they were females and good for spawning," he said. "Besides, they're not big enough to mount and too big to eat."


Dachelet, a researcher for an American paper company, fished for the first time on the bay and said he had a great trip.


"I caught a lot of quality fish here but nothing big enough to mount," he said.


His biggest catch was a 30-inch, 11.5 pound walleye.


"Back home, it's a fish of a lifetime for most people in Wisconsin. But here, it's just a good quality fish," said Dachelet.


Despite the abundance of large walleye, Dachelet said he's amazed how few ice fishermen there were on the bay.


"Back home on Lake Winnebago, south of Green Bay, you can find 3,000, 4,000 and 5,000 people on any given day. But here, maybe a handful of people at any one time. There sure is no competition for fish here," he said.


The American visitors said Canadians shouldn't complain about the winter weather.


"We have a lot more snow back home, with snowbanks as high as your head. This is nothing here," said Dachelet, pointing to the property around the lodge.


"And it's much colder at home. Hell, when you look at the map, we actually came south to fish here," he said with a laugh.

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