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Jeff Gustafson - Livewell

Making a living in the fishing industry

Brainerd, Mn. is a small city, a little bit bigger than Fort Frances and Kenora, but it is one of the epicenters for the fishing community in North America.

Back in the 1970s, Al and Ron Lindner, two brothers from Chicago, moved to Brainerd because of its proximity to countless bodies of water with great fishing for various species of fish. The Lindners subsequently started the In-Fisherman empire that included a TV show, magazine, radio show, and professional walleye tournament circuit, among several other activities.

Hunting season ramping up for me

While hunting seasons for most birds and animals have been open for weeks already, for people like me who like to get in every bit of fishing we can, the hunting season only is starting to ramp up now that the fishing has begun to cool down.

Over the past week, I've spent much of my time in the woods getting ready for some deer hunters that I have visiting me this week. I really enjoy spending time in the woods, scouting for deer sign and keeping my eyes peeled for all of the wildlife I can.

Be smart out on the water

Two American anglers had quite the scare last week when they went missing for three days on Lake of the Woods during the first snowfall of the season.

It’s unclear exactly how the father and son ended up some 50 km up the lake from where they were staying at Buena Vista Resort in Morson.

Bass tournament season wraps up

The bass tournament season in Northwestern Ontario wrapped up over the weekend with the last few tournaments of 2018.

While the weather was not great, it's a long winter for those of us who enjoy chasing bass and competing in tournaments, so we get in all of the events we can before the end of the season.

The annual Frank McClymont Memorial Tournament took place Saturday out of WSL Marina in Kenora. Some 39 teams participated so it was a great turnout considering the cold weather.

Chilly weekend on lake

It wasn't exactly nice weather for bass fishing but it's a long winter here in Northwestern Ontario so for many of us who enjoy competing in these tournaments, we're fishing no matter what Mother Nature throws at us to get in all the fishing we can before another season comes to an end.

Some 25 teams fished the annual Shoal Lake Last Chance tournament this past Saturday and Sunday in strong winds, rain, and even some snow. The team count was down from most years but the forecast probably didn't help with motivating anglers to show up Saturday morning.

Weights tight at 'Classic'

For the past several years, the Crow Lake Classic bass tournament has been a fun, smaller event that attracted 20-something teams each year and consisted of mostly local anglers as well as a few out-of-town duos.

While the event has been going on for about 15 years, the Hanson family who operate Hideaway Lodge on Crow Lake took over running the tournament around 2010.

They are a great host for the tournament because they have a boat launch on-site and the out-of-town anglers have a place to stay in their cabins.

Great time in Sioux Narrows

It's been 22 years since Sioux Narrows' anglers Chris Bell and Mel Giesbrecht started the first “Bassin' For Bucks” tournament on Lake of the Woods there.

They wanted a three-day tournament that offered rewards for daily catches and aggregate catches, which is a great way to spread the prize money around.

That first year, the tournament started out with 38 teams competing. But it only took a couple of years to reach a full field of 120 boats, which it consistently gets year after year to this day.

Walleye action hot on area lakes

After a few weeks of my focus being on bass fishing, it was nice to get a break from the tournament scene last week to fish around home and catch some fish to eat.

I had a few guide trips booked and most of the clients wanted to fish for walleyes. I was quite excited to change things up and cook up a couple of shore lunches.

Success on Rainy Lake

The 14th-annual International Falls Bass Championship took place this past weekend and a full field of 60 teams competed for two days on Rainy Lake and the Rainy River.

The tournament has evolved over the years from the format it started with where teams competed on the U.S. side of Rainy Lake for one day and the Rainy River for one day.

Three years ago, the lake was opened up to include the Canadian side of the south arm of Rainy Lake with the boundaries being that boats could not go under any bridges.

We should have more appreciation for pike

As a bass angler, pike tend to annoy me quite often because when we fish for bass, we don't use leaders so they bite off our baits all the time.

And it seems like the more expensive the lure, the shorter its life span.

When we're bass fishing, it's usually the smaller pike that bite our lures and they're the ones that bite the baits off most frequently because they take wild swings at the lures.

Those are the ones we're going to call annoying. Bigger pike have much more precision when they strike and actually don't bite off your tackle nearly as much.