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Jeff Gustafson - Livewell

Great grouse hunting this year

Every year around this time, I usually write a column about hunting—and make mention of the great grouse hunting we have right across Sunset Country.

We’re now a good way through the 2016 season and I’m going to say that this year has been one of the best I can ever remember for grouse.

These tasty birds probably are my favourite thing to eat on this entire planet and they are so much fun to hunt.

Fall crappie action usually really good

It’s no secret we have a long winter up here in Sunset Country. So like many anglers, I try to keep the boat wet as long as the weather permits.

We still have at least a few weeks of open water left before things start to freeze up—and the fall season offers some of the best fishing of the year for several species.

Since all of the bass tournaments are finished, it really allows me a lot more time to focus on fishing for other species.

Tournament fishing season wraps up

The bass tournament season in Sunset Country wrapped up this past weekend with the fourth-annual Frank McClymont Memorial Tournament, which took place Saturday in Kenora.

Frank McClymont fished bass tournaments in Northwestern Ontario since they started back in the late 1980s and was a positive influence on many of us who eventually got involved with tournament fishing over the years.

He was friends with everybody in the fishing community before he was taken quickly from us back in 2012 after a tough fight with cancer.

Stewner wins again on Whitefish Bay

The 12th-annual Whitefish Bay Fall Classic bass tournament took place over the weekend in Sioux Narrows.

In what is becoming a trend for our fall tournaments on Lake of the Woods, Winnipeg angler Ted Stewner once again found himself atop the leaderboard after the two-day event.

Stewner, who usually fishes with his wife, Louise, was teamed up with friend, Steve Ellie, for this event and their consistency over two days was rewarded with a $5,000 first-place prize.

Busy weekend in Sunset Country

This past weekend was a busy one across Sunset Country for anglers competing in fishing tournaments as four were taking place.

LaBelle’s Birch Point Camp on Rainy Lake hosted a one-day bass tournament on Saturday, and there was a two-day musky tournament in Nestor Falls, a two-day bass tournament at Shoal Lake, and the two-day Rainy River Walleye Tournament in Rainy River.

My good pal, Dennis Favreau, and I have fished the Shoal Lake Last Chance tournament together since 2001 so we have a lot of history fishing that event and have been fortunate to win it a few times.

Road trip to Lake Nipigon

Just about anyone who enjoys fishing has a “bucket list” of places where they would love to wet a line if they ever got the chance.

For me, there are several high-end bass fishing lakes that have been on my list and then a few special places (usually remote) that offer world-class fishing for something.

I would love to go anywhere in the Northwest Territories, the Yukon, or Labrador.

Last week, I had the chance to knock one place off my “bucket list” when I visited Lake Nipigon to catch world-class brook trout.

Bassin’ weekend in Sioux Narrows

The 21st-annual Bassin’ For Bucks tournament took place over the weekend in Sioux Narrows with a full field of 125 teams participating in what many consider one of the most fun events we have in Northwest Ontario.

Great weather greeted anglers all weekend and the fishing was pretty good overall—despite slightly lower weights than we’ve seen over the past few years.

Bob Izumi visits Sunset Country

This past week has been a busy one for me after a few weeks of focusing most of my time on bass tournaments.

It was fun and productive, though, as I got the chance to do some multi-species fishing around home and get some work done.

I spent six-straight days on the water last week as I did some guiding for bass and walleye, filmed a couple of TV shows, and also got to spend a day on Lake of the Woods with Bob Izumi and a small crew that he brought up to our part of the world.

‘River Rats’ win Falls tourney

The 12th-annual International Falls Bass Championship took place over the weekend on Rainy Lake and the Rainy River—and another successful event is in the books.

A full field of 60 teams showed up again this year to participate in the event, and several tournament records were set by eventual winners Nathan Brigham and Brett Meyers of Emo.

This tournament has a unique format in that anglers spend one day fishing on Rainy Lake and one day on the Rainy River—two totally different bodies of water.

Fishing with a legend on Rainy Lake

When it became a reality a few years ago that I would get the chance to fish the Walmart FLW Tour bass tournament circuit, it really was a dream come true for me.

Competing on a big stage against the best bass anglers in the world was something I had wanted to do for a long time and, thankfully, great sponsor support has allowed me to get to do it.

While there certainly has been some sacrifice in travelling around the U.S. all year to fish in bass tournaments, the opportunities that have come from my doing this—and the friends that I’ve made—have been a blessing, for sure.