Summer is young and already Kay Hawley has a boatful of walleyes to her credit.
Kay, of Edina, is a lifelong angler. Though her “wonderful husband,” David Hawley, doesn’t fish, Kay nonetheless wets a line whenever possible — oftentimes with the couple’s son, Doug, 35, who, like his mother, is an eager angler.
Mother and son have fished together since Doug was a boy. A longtime music teacher in Hopkins, Kay retired a year ago and hopes now to expand her fishing horizons.
“Over the years, Doug and I have fished on Lac la Croix, Mille Lacs, Vermilion, Lake of the Woods and Leech,” Kay said. “I’ve traveled some, too, fishing in Sitka, Alaska, and on Reindeer Lake in Saskatchewan. I hope to do more of it now that I’ve got more time.”
Already this summer Kay has fished on Lake of the Woods, and she and Doug just returned from Budd’s Gunisao Lake Lodge, located 250 miles north of Winnipeg.
The two accompanied a friend, Al Bite, who owns a metro area air charter service. Bite’s son, Andy, years ago was a tuba player in a school band Kay directed.
“The walleye bite at Gunisao was constant,” Kay said. “If your line was in the water, you had a fish on. Many times Doug and I had walleyes on at the same time.”
A member of the Minnesota Valley In-Fisherman fishing club (the only woman member when she joined, she won “rookie of the year” honors), Kay also is comfortable on metro waters. Aiding her efforts this year is a fancy GPS/depth finder/fish locator her husband gave her as a retirement gift, along with a Gary Roach walleye rod her “teacher friends” bestowed on her on the same occasion.
“I grew up with four brothers,” she said. “Our family had a lake place when I was a kid, and I grew up around water. I’ve always loved fishing.”
But no walleye action she’s experienced, Kay said, matched what she and her son found at Gunisao.
“Doug caught the big ones,” she said. “In three days he caught three walleyes measuring 29 inches, one that measured 28½ inches and one that measured 30½ inches.”