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Jeff Gustafson - Livewell

Sunset Country tournament season set to get underway

After nearly nine months, Sunset Country bass anglers finally get to compete in a tournament this coming weekend, following the opening of the catch and retain season for bass on July 1.

While we can fish for bass from ice out, through June, they must be immediately released in most lakes, with a few exceptions on some waters where a couple of smaller fish may be kept.

It is a good regulation to protect these fish while they spawn in May and June, when a lot of anglers choose to fish for them.

Humble pie at Lake Guntersville

While I wish I was fishing instead of driving home from Alabama on the weekend, it was nice to wake up in Kenora on Monday morning this week to our pleasant summer weather.

The sixth stop of the Bassmaster Elite Series took place this past weekend at Lake Guntersville, under high temperatures that just about melted this Canadian.

My worst finish of the season, 67th place, was not was I was looking for at Guntersville but I was plagued with bunches of small bass and just couldn't figure out how to catch some of the bigger fish that my competition did.

Warming up on Lake Chickamauga

After getting to spend a few weeks at home I'm back on the road this week to resume the Bassmaster Elite Series season at Lake Guntersville, Alabama.

A section of the Tennessee River, Lake Guntersville is one of the most historic bass tournament lakes in the United States, hosting dozens of pro events over the years. It's known for having good numbers of big fish and usually kicks out plenty of good catches.

My experience on Guntersville is somewhat limited although I did fish an FLW Tour event there in 2017 that I finished 22nd in.

Try soft plastics for walleyes

Using soft plastics to catch walleyes is not a new tactic nor is it a topic that hasn't been well covered in the fishing media in recent years.

The reason for all of the chatter is that soft plastics today, with their realistic shapes, colours and scents, put fish in the boat—not just bass and pike, but plenty of walleyes as well.

I had a guide trip recently with a couple of fellas from Kenora. Tim and Garry had fished around the Kenora area for many years and I could tell right away they were experienced anglers.

The 'Ned Rig' in Sunset Country

If you are a bass angler you have likely heard of or fished with the “Ned Rig” over the past few years.

It is the simplest, stupidest looking fishing bait you have ever seen but for bass and most species of fish across the Sunset Country Region, it is probably the deadliest fish catcher there is, better than live bait in many situations.

Catch a walleye this weekend

The third Saturday in May is a date that all walleye anglers mark on the calendar because it marks the opening day of a new walleye season in Northwest Ontario.

As a kid, my Dad always planned an outing on this day. We usually went to Tranquil Channel on Lake of the Woods, a known early season hot spot, we caught walleyes and cooked them up after.

I have a bunch of good memories from these trips as a kid.

Back then we fished out of an old boat without a livewell so we kept the fish on a stringer.

Great week at Lake Fork

Stop number five of the Bassmaster Elite Series season took place this past weekend at legendary Lake Fork in Texas.

If you saw last week's column you read a little about the history of this popular bass fishery on the outskirts of Dallas.

It is the gem of bass fishing lakes in Texas, with special slot limits protecting all bass between 16-24 inches.

While it is not a huge lake, I learned this past week that Lake Fork attracts more anglers for bass fishing than any other lake in America so as you can imagine, it's a busy place.

Big bass bonanza in Texas

After a nice little stint at home I am back down south for the next stop on the Bassmaster Elite Series taking place this week at Lake Fork in Texas.

If you are a fan of bass fishing you have likely heard of Lake Fork before. It is the shining star in Texas bass fishing, kicking out more trophy fish than any lake in the state, including the state record, an 18.18 pound specimen.

Here's to another great season on the water

After a long winter the run of warm weather over the past week has been a welcome relief for everybody I think.

While we're still likely a couple of weeks from full ice-out, we're getting there.

My plan was to do some ice fishing over the past weekend, try to hunt down a big pike and maybe a lake trout or a crappie to eat but having not been out on the ice for a few weeks I wasn't really on top of the ice conditions so I decided to stay home and put my ice gear away for another season.

My tail got kicked at Winyah Bay

Throughout my tournament fishing career in the U.S., I have fished a few tournaments on tidal waters along the east coast and my results have not been very good.

These rivers that flow into the Atlantic Ocean like the Potomac in Maryland, the St. Johns in Florida and the ones we just fished at Winyah Bay in South Carolina are all influenced by the Oceans tide so their water levels fluctuate by a couple of feet every six or eight hours.