I’ve been fortunate to have witnessed some truly incredible moments while guiding and fishing for walleye throughout my life. Some of the most memorable events are when the wind is blowing, creating wind-induced currents. Fish were stacked up along windswept shorelines and points, capitalizing on baitfish getting tossed around in the waves, making for easy pickings. They also aren’t shy from airborne predators because of the surface agitation, giving them cover from aerial attacks, and will be feeding in very shallow water. This is the inspiration behind this piece, to try to encapsulate the action onto canvas.
Planning out this piece was a fun process, creating balance with the wave action and the sand bottom, complimented by a pair of hunting walleye and a school of baitfish getting tossed about. I wanted to make the piece vibrant with contrasting blue water elements, sand bottom and the gold of the walleye.
One of the most iconic gamefish in North America is undoubtedly the walleye. Revered for its table quality, walleye have a huge following wherever they swim. Whether it’s on the hard water thru the ice, or fishing wind swept points and gravel bars, walleye are a primary target year round.
I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have fished walleye in some very remote areas without any fishing pressure. On these trips, they were not at all picky and you can almost catch them at will.
One such trip, I was guiding two guests on a fly out camping trip to a remote region, south of Great Bear Lake, NWT. The area that we camped was where the Johnny Hoe River meets up with a small lake. In the river, walleye were stacked and all in the 20-26″ range. After an incredible week, we found ourselves on our last day, fishing close to camp and wanting to get at least one more hour of fishing in before the plane arrived to pick us up. We were in a sandy, shallow delta and we could see the walleye. I challenged them to catch 100 walleye in an hour, at midday, in sweltering heat, without a cloud in the sky. They did it, catching 100 walleye in just under an hour, I think we had two minutes to spare.
Walleye are one of the number one gamefish in the northern parts of North America. Wherever they are found they have a large following of anglers who are obsessed with fishing for them. These schooling predators can be taken on a variety of fishing methods. With a mouthful of rear-facing, hooked teeth, they are a menace to any baitfish in the lake. Known for having highly sensitive vision, they have the upper hand on their prey in low-light situations, especially dawn and dusk. While other fish’s eyes take time to adjust, walleye capitalize on this and become most active.
Walleye have a unique and telltale body shape. With a spiny dorsal, protective gill plate, a mouthful of teeth, and armoured scales, walleye are built for not only deterring predators but they also are built for detecting prey, especially in low light situations. This skeleton is only available with FISHBUM Outfitters. Original pencil artwork by Nick Laferriere