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Jeff Gustafson - Livewell

Big lakes versus the small ones

Across Sunset Country, we are blessed with more water than most places in North America.

Minnesota boasts about having 10,000 lakes. Well, Sunset Country has more than 75,000 bodies of water! And all of that water means we have many options for places to fish on lakes both small and large.

What about perch?

When I was a kid, I was taught that you were to never get caught dead with a perch in your bucket or on your stringer. I learned this from my Dad and his fishing buddies.

Perch were for the seagulls and eagles in the open water, and for the foxes that would come around out on the ice in the winter.

It was different back then because people simply didn't know any better. Catch-and-release still was a foreign concept to most anglers. If they caught a big fish of any species, they were bringing it home to show their friends and family—that's the way it was.

Angler resolutions for 2019

Around this time every year, it's safe to say most people at least consider some sort of New Year's resolution, which could be to make themselves more fit, to eat healthier foods, or simply to better their life.

As someone who constantly is thinking about fishing, and how to have better results on each outing, I know there are plenty of small things I can do to improve my results. So my resolutions each year usually are related to being a better angler.

Last moose hunt a success despite milder weather

In last week's column, I mentioned that my friends and I were headed north to spend the last few days of the Northwestern Ontario hunting season chasing moose around.

It's an annual trip that I've been making since 2005. Over the years, there probably has been more than 20 people who have come and gone from the group. But over the last several years, there have been six or eight of us who make the trip every year.

Last week for hunters to fill tags

Hunting season started a couple of months ago but for hunters who have yet to fill their deer or moose tags, they are running out of time because the season will come to an end on Dec. 15.

It has not been a very successful season for me. I have a bull moose tag and will head northeast of Kenora for the last few days of the season to try and find one. I also put off deer hunting until the past couple of weeks and it's been tough for me.

Early-season ice fishing offers lots of fun

While we haven't experienced a lot of super cold weather so far, it has been cold in general for well over a month so all of the smaller bodies of water across Sunset Country are covered with ice.

The minimal amount of snow also has helped the ice to form nice and strong because there is no layer of insulation, which always is nice early in the winter season.

This all means there are some great ice-fishing opportunities out there for anglers eager to get a new season started.

Warm-weather Christmas gift ideas

At this point of the year, the start of our long winter, it's hard to believe that warm weather ever is going to come around. But every spring, the snow melts and we get to experience the beautiful Sunset Country summers year after year.

For the angler on your Christmas list, finding a gift is easy because there are so many new and functional items we can use throughout the season.

Time to think of gifts for holidays

Since I started writing this column way back in 2007, I've always put together a Christmas gift-buying guide for the outdoors person but I've usually waited until a week or two before Christmas to do it.

For the last-minute buyer, this probably helped but most people likely already were finished with their shopping by then. So this year, I'm going to change things up a bit and get this out a little earlier.

Fishing Bassmaster Elite Series in 2019

Over the past few months, there have been some sweeping changes in the professional bass fishing landscape.

For the past couple of decades, the FLW Tour and the Bassmaster Elite Series have been the premier high-end bass tournament circuits. But that all changed in September when Major League Fishing announced a new circuit for the 2019 season called the Bass Pro Tour.

The new Bass Pro Tour invited 80 anglers—68 from Bassmaster and 12 from the FLW Tour—for its new circuit.

Late- season musky fishing

As the small lakes across Northwestern Ontario freeze over this week, most of the regular bass and walleye anglers have packed their gear away for another season.

Musky anglers are a different breed, however, many of which are known to break ice with their boats to get in those last few days of open-water fishing before another long winter sets in.

Muskies are not caught very often during the winter. I've only seen one come through a hole in the ice, and heard of a couple of others from friends, so that tells me they simply don't eat a lot during those months.