avr. 13, 2016
August 20, 2015 started like many days at Aikens Lake: beautiful sunrise at 6:28, coffee delivered to each cabin, a hearty breakfast enjoyed by guests chatting about yesterday’s highlights. By noon, the 75-degree sunny day had become the single best day of walleye fishing Aikens enjoyed the entire year––headlined by a trio of guests on a corporate trip with ReSound.
Chris Smith, Josh Gronniger and Mikkel Knudsen flew up from Missouri for the trip and knew what to expect. In fact, Mikkel had already made the Century Club (for catching four walleyes in one day totalling 100 inches) on two prior trips to Aikens.
But none of them anticipated the banner day they were about to experience together.
The three went out with head guide, Jesse Lariviere, after breakfast and motored straight to The Saddle. Jigs hit the bottom of the lake, and a minute later the first fish of the day was on the line. Josh expertly played it out and landed a 27.25-inch walleye to start the day!
“First fish of the day was over 27 inches, and from that point on the bite was on,” recalls Jesse. “It was just constant 24’s and 25’s throughout the day.”
At 9:30am, another monster hit and Chris got his name in the record books by catching a beautiful, 28-inch Master Angler walleye.
August 20 was Jesse’s last day guiding of the year, because he guides caribou and moose hunts in the fall. Suffice it to say he went out with a bang.
“It was unreal,” said Jesse, who admits he’s been spoiled by seven seasons at Aikens guiding virtually seven days a week. “The day started with this huge walleye, and then it was just nonstop. It was stupid.”
So nonstop and “stupid,” in fact, that Chris, Josh and Mikkel all made the Century Club … by noon! Shorelunch is always a highlight of the Aikens Experience, but on this day we’re guessing fresh-caught, beer-battered walleyes tasted even better than usual.
As for the mantra that fish bite best when weather is bad, well, not so much.
“It was awesome weather,” said Jesse, who couldn’t have picked a better last day of the season. “And music was rolling in the boat. We played a whole track of U2.”
A gentle breeze continued in the afternoon while a few white clouds dotted the sky. The warming sun inspired guys to downgrade from windbreakers to short-sleeve shirts, and the walleyes kept biting. The day for the ages kept rolling along, with many more walleyes caught in the mid-20 inch range.
“The guys were loving it,” said Jesse. “This group had been to Aikens a couple years and had a good feel for the lake. They’d had good years but this was above and beyond, a day that they wouldn’t forget the rest of their lives.”
We won’t forget it, either. Can’t wait to see what 2016 holds.