The Ultimate Late Fall Bay of Quinte Walleye Fishing Guide

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There is a fall fishing phenomenon that has existed for a long time now that is anticipated by plenty of hard-core anglers from both Canada and the USA. It normally starts in October and runs right into December. Of course, as per the title of this piece, we are talking about the annual Bay of Quinte fall Walleye migration in the province of Ontario.

By the way, if you want to read about that great cover image Walleye, check out my piece called Reaching Deep For Walleye which we shot last fall on the Bay of Quinte.


I remember back many years ago when I used to fish well into November with my long-time fishing pal Mike Burriss. Back in the day, it was strictly Walleye, nowadays, we’ll try for anything as long as it’s not frozen over. Our old Walleye deal was to grab a bucket of mud minnows and head out to either the Long Reach or the Telegraph Narrows, both areas which are not far from my old hometown of Napanee.

Depending on the wind strength and direction, we would set up for a series of drifts, dragging our jig and minnow combinations. For the most part, we did quite well but as time passed on, the fishing seemed to get tougher and tougher.

This was a typical fall Walleye that I would “jig” up from the Bay of Quinte

By the end of my prime jigging time, I’d be hard-pressed to get even a few of those typical fall fish in the 5-8-pound range. It was to the point of vertical jigging in 30+ feet of water for little cigar-sized Walleye with the odd giant (usually 10 pounds or more) mixed in. Those big ones made for great pictures and stories, but it was a long day for maybe one fish.

Then something happened.


I was in Moon’s bait shop in Deseronto picking up my usual couple-dozen minnows when a guy named Tom Gustar came up to me and asked how I have been doing “jigging” up my Walleye in the reach. I told him and he kind of shook his head and suggested I needed to troll as he was catching loads of BIG Walleye. Of course, when I hear stories like this, the doubt factor immediately pops in. After all, we would only see the odd big fish, and as well, who the hell was Tom Gustar?

Well, let me tell you about Tom. At that time, he was one of the only, if not the only Canadian that was actively fishing on the PWT better known as the Professional Walleye Tour. They covered mostly US waters if I remember correctly. For Tom, these were good learning experiences on a variety of waterbody types away from home (Ontario).

Tom Gustar (left) has taught me and my buddies (Randy Jennings on right) tons about late Quinte Walleye fishing

One of the greatest techniques Tom picked up while touring was refined trolling tactics. Not just dropping a line back at an unknown distance. He was dropping lines back at precise distances and he was spreading his lines out to cover more water.

Every time Tom saw me, whether near Quinte or in the Greater Toronto Area, he’d ask “when are fish fishing together?”

Well, it finally happened. I was going to call this big dude’s bluff. Loads of 10-pounders… yeah right!


I’ll always remember that first time Tom got me out on the water in his boat. We launched and he looked at the conditions and said “it’s gonna’ be a good day”. That’s it. Nothing about what we were going to use, trolling tactics, etc.

Once we started to set out our spread, however, my mouth couldn’t stop spewing questions.

This is the first time I had ever seen little inline planer boards. I found them intriguingly awesome. Something different and if they worked, a new tool for me. Well worked they did. No sooner did we have our two lines out and set did one of the boards start ripping backward. “There you go, grab the rod”

That first fish surprised us at being a big Northern Pike. Big for Quinte that is. Probably around 15lbs. Of course, I was freaking out (I love big Pike) and even Tom cracked a bit of a smile as he hadn’t seen many there at that time as well. Trust me though, he was as disappointed as he was surprised since his main deal there was Walleye.

Not to fret, the Walleye came soon after. And man did they come!

It was then that I knew Tom wasn’t bragging about his fall trolling tactics to me, he was teasing me in order to get me out there and show me his discovery. And what a discovery he had, ALL TO HIMSELF BTW!

Tom and I went on to returning season after season to enjoy this Walleye phenomenon and even shot a Fish’n Canada episode there.

Here is an article I did back in 2007 with an old buddy where we fished the conditions and caught a couple of mules… around 13lbs each!

Continue to Page 2 for more of Pete’s Ultimate Fall Bay of Quinte Walleye Fishing Guide

Pete Bowman

Pete, one of the most revered and popular anglers in the nation, has a tremendous love for the game… the fishing game. Pete’s vast knowledge of angling and ability to articulate it to audiences worldwide has endeared him to his fans who still see Pete as just “ONE OF THE BOYS”. Pete is also an accomplished and published outdoor writer and photographer as well as a sought-after speaker. In 2012 another of Pete’s ultimate fishing career highlights occurred when he was inducted into the Canadian Angler Hall Of Fame, something he never thought would happen. A Canadian fishing icon.

10 Responses

  1. Greetings !!! Pete

    I have not visited the Bay of Pigs in about 6 years or so. Mostly because of time restraints but also because things have changed so drastically up there.And now Global warming is going to wreak havock with water temps and we both know how crucial that is to targeting those Big ! Gals on the BOQ. I booked a 2 day charter 3 night stay with Scott and I was pumped !!!! until I read this article about water temps being off as well as the prediction of High winds and Rough waters throughout Oct /Nov .I have had charters cancelled before and it’s a downright bummer when it happens.Hopefully that will not be the case this year.We will be up there on Nov 15 16 17 hope to see you there once again.I have a ? Pete. As kids we used to fish for eyes using Canadian Wigglers.For this years trip I packed several T-60 flatfish single hook models and will tip with 4 inch plastic grub curly tails.I just cannot imagine one of those Big Girls not smacking this set up.What is your take on it ??? Take care and stay safe on the water and hope to see you up at Quinte during our time period.

    Best regards

    1. Hey Michael, yeah Jigging Raps are so much fun to use for open water Walleye. As for the big Flatfish, I’ve only used that size for Lake Trout but I can see it working for giant Walleye as well… interesting!!!!

  2. Greetings Pete,

    Just thought I would give you an update on my groups trip to the BAY of PIGS.
    3 night sleepover 2 day Charter Nov 16-17
    with Lt.Dave Walcott.We cannot adequately put into words just how much !!! we enjoyed this man’s company and knowledge for 2 days on the water.Just an incredible soul.
    Water temps hovered between 49 + change to 53 + change. Lost a fish that had some serious weight to it,probably could have been my PB, we nailed 2 tens
    a few fives and some nice eaters in the 3.5 to 4 lb range.All fish came off of Down Deep RAPS in custom colours that I have never seen before.And yes Purple Purple and more Purple still seems to be the #1 ticket.All fish were nailed just past the Lighthouse up until about 3/4 of the way to the Power Plants.I brought a huge assortment of Reef Runners with me and Dave would not touch them with a 10 foot pole LOL.He does not trust them.Yet every Pig that I nailed up there came off of a Reef Runner except for 1 that hit a Live Target pearch.Like what !!!!! ever happened to classic Walleye slayers like Cordel’s Wally Divers , Wally minnows,
    You never hear anybody using them though I did notice a Cordel Rippling Redfin hanging on one of the boat’s rods.
    Dave said he loves that lure.Anyhow here is my update and If you should make it up there,Good luck and stay safe on the water.One more thing,kindly please ask your viewers to get more involved in helping the Lake Ontario Management Unit ( Picton ) fill out more Volunteer Angler Diary’s. I am from Montreal so if I help all of the time anglers in Ontario should do so as well.Only takes a little time but goes a long way in helping them out. CHEERS PETE ?

    1. Wow Michael thanks for this, what a fantastic update!

      The Walcott boys are such awesome people. Extremely knowledgeable and passionate about fishing (not just Walleye). And those boats are something else eh???

      I found it funny that David won’t touch the Runners… that’s hilarious.

      Thanks again and Cheers back at cha’!

  3. 2 more cents LOL
    Why oh Why do anglers shy away trolling for eyes using all black or all white deep divers.Absolute classic Walleye colours.I can spend and entire week in Northern Manitoba with a supply of black curlytails and white curlytails and hammer all species.

    1. I’ll bet you would have a hard time finding an all black or white trolling crank for Walleye. There are some but not many. As you stated above, with all the new “custom” colors plus all the standard’s, nothing is simply black & white any more.

  4. Check out ! Reefrunner 800 series Nurse Betsy and Dr.Dreadfull.Also YO-ZURI Chrystal Minnow Deep Diver pure white.
    Yes there boats are awesome.
    I have fished several times on
    the 26 ft Wooldridge.Nothing written in stone yet,But Scott
    more than likely will sell off the 26
    and scale down to a 1 boat Charter.I think that running West Lake & Picton Harbour Inn plus a 2 boat charter is beginning to tire them out a wee bit.

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