Shannon McQueen: A Way with Walleye
Shannon McQueen (@essmcqueen on Instagram) says her parents started her off early on fishing.
“They say they first took me out when I was around 15 months old,” she says.
The Michigan resident (born and bred on the Lower Peninsula) makes time to visit plenty of her local fisheries.
“I fish inland lakes and rivers, all of the Great Lakes, and I’ll fish the Detroit River, the St. Clair River and the Au Sable River,” Shannon says.
Lately, Walleye have been her favorite quarry.
“I got serious about walleye about four years ago,” she says. “That’s mostly what I want to fish for now. I have more time for more time for bass, though, so I get out bass fishing more often.”
Sitting in a boat and jigging — or trolling — for walleye takes more time than chasing more aggressive largemouth or smallmouth, according to Shannon.
“My best walleye is only 25 inches, so far,” she says. “But I’m hoping to catch a bigger one by the end of the year.”
Shannon is a year-round angler, so if she doesn’t get her personal-best walleye before the freeze, she still has a chance through the ice.
“Although when I’m ice fishing, I’m usually going after pan fish or pike,” she says.
When she’s hunting walleye, Shannon jigs most of the time. She and her boyfriend make their own jig heads, staying in the “5/8 to 3/4-ounce range” for walleye.
“But I prefer trolling,” she says. “That’s me, though, I like to sit in the sun and bake.”
Next year, Shannon is hoping to up her walleye game.
“We’re hoping to get into some tournaments,” she says.
For bass fishing, she’ll use anything from night crawlers to any number of artificials.
“My personal favorite is the Gary Yamamoto Senko,” Shannon says. “Green pumpkin.”
Lake St. Clair is Shannon’s favorite fishery. This popular lake on the border between Michigan and Canada is renowned for walleye, muskie and smallmouth bass.
“I just got my personal best smallmouth there a few months ago,” she says. “We we’re actually trolling for walleye and stumbled upon a whole bunch of smallmouth.”
Shannon’s bass was a plumper.
“It was only 22 inches,” she says. “But it weighed six pounds.”
But her personal best largemouth eclipsed it.
“It was 27 inches and weighed around seven and a half pounds,” Shannon says.
She does most of her fishing from shore, but she prefers to be in the boat “when there’s room for me.” Another personal goal is to catch a muskie.
Regardless of what she’s after, fishing is important to Shannon.
“It’s my meditation,” she says. “I’m a very anxious person, and being relaxed is something I need. Fishing gives me that.”