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Jeff Gustafson - Livewell

Never too early for ice safety

Over the weekend I was sliding through some social media and saw a video of a couple of people bragging about being the first to be fishing out on the ice.

It struck me as being kind of dumb, for lack of a better word.

I know it's been cold but the ice had only been on this particular lake for maybe a couple of days and I just couldn't believe that going out on maybe a couple centimeters of ice to try and catch a fish was worth risking your life for.

Another early freeze-up

For the third year in a row it looks like we're going to get another early freeze up across Northwest Ontario.

A string of cold nights last week set the stage for the shallow lakes and bays to freeze up with another blast of cold weather this week.

I wrapped up most of my fishing for the season about ten days ago even though there are good opportunities to catch musky, walleye and crappie right up until freeze up.

Road trip to South Carolina

One of the perks to my job is that I get to visit a lot of places.

I really enjoy getting to fish new bodies of water and see different parts of North America.

That being said, the time away from home and all the driving that I do during the tournament season is not glamorous.

Last week I had the opportunity to visit Charleston, South Carolina for a two day pro-staff summit that Shimano held out of their home base for North America.

It was a nice quick trip and I was able to fly which was convenient.

In-depth with underwater cameras

Over the past couple of months, I have used the Aqua-Vu underwater camera on my boat quite a lot.

It was mostly for prefishing purposes in preparation for some of the bass tournaments that I was competing in but it was also used to entertain a few kids that I had in my boat and to show friends a school of crappies or walleyes.

I knew that I wrote a column about underwater cameras a while ago but I had to go back through my archives to find that I did one around this time two years ago.

Water, water and more water

After being away from Northwest Ontario for much of September I returned home last week to different conditions both in the woods and on area waters than we've seen in quite some time.

I always pay attention to the weather around home when I'm gone so I was aware that we were receiving significant rainfall throughout much of September but I didn't expect such a drastic change in the few weeks that I was away.

In doing a little bit of research I learned that it rained 21 out of 30 days in September, which is not exactly the fall weather we all want to see.

A real slugfest on Lake St. Clair

The final event of the Bassmaster Elite Series season is taking place this week at Lake St. Clair on the Michigan/Ontario border, just north of Detroit.

It is the Angler of the Year Championship, a three-day tournament featuring the top 50 anglers in points after the nine event regular season.

I was fortunate to qualify for the tournament in 30th place in the points standings.

In addition to deciding who is the angler of the year, also on the line this week are spots in the Bassmaster Classic for the top 42 anglers in points.

Tough conditions at Tenkiller Lake

After a long season that started way back in February, the final Bassmaster Elite Series regular season event took place this past weekend in Oklahoma on Tenkiller Lake and it was the toughest test that anglers faced all year.

We were supposed to fish Oklahoma's Fort Gibson Lake back in May but extreme flooding caused the cancellation of that event.

It was rescheduled for mid-September but as the tournament dates neared, flooding was still an issue on the lake so it was moved at the last minute to nearby Lake Tenkiller.

Last chance for lake trout

Bass fishing takes up a good chunk of my time, especially later in the summer and into fall when we have tournaments going on just about every weekend.

I really enjoy competing in these tournaments as many readers who follow this column already know.

That being said, I am pretty happy simply catching fish most of the time and that is why you'll find me fishing year round, both out of a boat and on the ice.

The lake trout season across Sunset Country closes every year at the end of September and opens back up again Jan. 1.

Great weekend in Sioux Narrows

The 23rd-annual “Bassin' For Bucks” tournament took place this past weekend in Sioux Narrows with another full field of 120 teams competing.

Known as one of the most popular bass tournaments in Northwest Ontario because of how well it is run, because there are a bunch of prizes to win and because folks enjoy spending the weekend in Sioux Narrows, the tournament went well again this year.

Since the tournament started back in 1996, I had actually fished the event every year with my good friend Mike Reid.