Aikens' Best Day of Fishing
Jun. 18, 2015
As the classic saying goes, “The worst day of fishing is better than the best day of work.” But what about the best day of fishing?
Many of our guests have enjoyed their personal best day of fishing while at the lodge––which totally makes our day. Since everyone enjoys a fish tale, we thought we’d take a look back at the single best day of fishing at Aikens last year and tell you the story.
August 26, 2014 started like any other day at Aikens: great sunrise, tasty breakfast, and eager anglers heading to the docks at 8am to hit the water on a partially cloudy, breezy day. A dozen guests, including Tarrol Lunde from Fargo, North Dakota, and Paul Beech from Breckenridge, Minnesota, were staying at our exclusive Great Gray Owl (GGO) mini-lodge on a corporate trip. The group split up between several boats with our Aikens pro-staff guides, including first-year guide Austin Los.
For fun, the fellas placed a small wager on who would catch the biggest fish. The morning action was good, with walleyes active on the South Shore Reef after several days of strong north wind. The action was fast with some nice fish in the low to mid 20-inch range, but wind blew the guys off their spot and as guide Austin started motoring them back to the spot he marked a huge fish on the sonar.
“We followed it around for half an hour before Paul hooked a big fish around 11am,” Austin recalls. “He fought it for quite some time and when he landed it I was in shock. All Paul wanted was a walleye bigger than 24-inches to beat the one his son had caught back at home, and here we are with a 31.5” behemoth!”
“We went in for lunch and everyone was freaking out over it,” Austin said, adding that everyone assumed Paul just locked up the prize for biggest fish of the day.
After lunch, Tarrol jumped in Austin’s boat and they zipped back to the same reef. They quickly discovered the fish had moved off the reef, so they decided to troll Reef Runners in the deep water off the reef.
“All the baitfish had moved out from the reef and were about 25-feet down over 80-feet of walleye, and the walleyes followed them out, too,” Austin said. “About 20 minutes into the troll Tarrol hooks a big fish that starts pealing out line like a lake trout, and that’s what I’m thinking it is.”
“After a super long fight, we see this giant golden head come up. I almost passed out in disbelief! My mind is racing, trying to figure out how close is it, how big, should I move the boat, is the drag too tight or too loose. We land it, and it’s insane. Even bigger than the other giant. Here we are with a 32” walleye, and then the guys go into shock.”
Austin radioed the nearby boat with Tarrol’s friends telling them they had an even bigger walleye in the boat, and naturally they assumed he was joking. They zipped over to B.S. with Austin and were shocked to see the “freakishly huge” walleye.
In fact, it was the largest walleye caught on Aikens Lake in the past 14 years. They snapped a few quick photos and released the fish in perfect health.
“None of us could wipe the smile off our faces,” Austin recalls. “And we all were acting a little crazy. I’ve fished since before I can remember, and those are the two biggest walleyes I’ve ever seen––both in the same day!”
Just imagine: That’s over 5 feet of golden walleye, between just two fish!
Suffice it to say, there was quite the celebration that night. Folks were even buying drinks for Austin, the guide, and he wasn’t even the one who caught the fish.
“Honestly, seeing a guest catch the biggest fish they’ve ever seen or have the greatest day of fishing of their entire life, and then come into the lodge and tell me all about it is one of my favorite things about being at Aikens,” said Pit. “It’s great to see people so excited, and we’re fortunate to have this fishery that produces some incredible days.”
So there you have it, the true story of our best day of fishing at Aikens Lake in 2014.
What will be the best day in 2015?
And who will be the one holding up the freakishly huge fish?