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Jeff Gustafson - Livewell

Busy weekend of bass fishing

This past weekend was a busy one for competitive bass anglers across Northwestern Ontario.

The 22nd-annual Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship took place on Rainy Lake while up in Kenora, the 10th-annual Bronzeback Classic took place on Lake of the Woods.

Both events had fields of over 100 teams and were successful once again.

Plenty going on around Sunset Country

For those of us across Northwestern Ontario who like to fish, the summer goes by way too fast.

Already nearing the halfway point, it’s almost depressing.

But that being said, there still are plenty of good days ahead for us to look forward to.

After a weekend off without any tournaments, two big events are coming up this weekend. Up in Kenora, the 10th-annual Bronzeback Classic is taking place on Lake of the Woods.

A full field of 100 boats is signed up to try and win some money.

Fun time once again at Shoal Lake tournament

The Shoal Lake Big Bass Classic has been going on at the Shoal Lake #39 First Nation since the early ’90s.

One of the longest-running competitive fishing events in Northwestern Ontario, this tournament always is well-attended because everybody loves to fish the lake.

Good numbers of fish, clear water, and some nice scenery are the main attractions.

While several individuals have been in charge of running this tournament over the years, Vernon Fair and Randy Paishk have been getting the entry forms out and making the tournament happen for the past few years.

Busy weekend on the water

It was a busy weekend on the water across Northwest Ontario as beautiful weather combined with the long weekend seemed to bring everybody to the lake.

The Lake Despair “Castin’ for Cash” tournament took place on Friday and Saturday while the second-annual Kenora Walleye Open took place on Lake of the Woods Saturday and Sunday, so anglers looking to compete in a tournament had some options.

My friend, Sean McAughey, and I traveled down to Lake Despair on Thursday last week to partake in the bass tournament there.

It’s tournament time in Sunset Country

The final FLW Tour regular-season event wrapped up this past weekend down at Lake Champlain, N.Y. and while I had a good tournament, ending up in 29th place, I fell a little short of winning the coveted Angler-of-the-Year title I have been mentioning over the past few weeks.

In the end, the leader headed into this final event, Tennessee angler Andy Morgan, capped off a great season with a 13th-place finish to win the AOY award (his third time winning it in the past four seasons).

In home stretch

When the FLW Tour fishing season started back in early February down at Lake Okeechobee in Florida, I couldn’t count down the days fast enough until it was time to hit the road.

Getting a break from winter was welcomed, and the opportunity to put the boat in the water and go bass fishing after a three-month break was pretty nice.

With five of the six tournaments on the season now in the books, the end is in sight—and I’m looking forward to it. Getting to fish for a living, specifically fishing bass tournaments, long has been a dream of mine.

Still in running for top angler

The fifth stop on the Walmart FLW Tour took place this past weekend at Kentucky Lake, which straddles the Kentucky-Tennessee boundary.

Hot weather and tough fishing were the two things I dealt with during this tournament.

After what I considered the best practice I had all year for one of these tournaments, I ended up having a tough event. But the final result wound up being pretty good.

My limit of 15.09 pounds on Day 1 landed me in 39th place—not exactly what I was hoping to catch but it could have been worse.

Getting ready at Kentucky Lake

The final swing of the 2016 FLW Tour is coming up over the next few weeks, so it’s back on the road for me.

The fifth stop takes place this week at Kentucky Lake on the Tennessee-Kentucky border, one of the larger bodies of water in the U.S. and one of the best bass fisheries in the country.

Then after Kentucky, we have a week off before the final event of the season at Lake Champlain in New York.

I left home this past weekend and will be logging some serious miles in my truck over the next few weeks!

Where are the walleye?

Now a couple of weeks into the 2016 open-water walleye season, conditions are changing and walleye are on the move towards where they’ll spend much of the summer.

Walleye are the most sought-after fish species across Sunset Country, evident by the fact thousands of anglers visit our region each year to take advantage of the best walleye fishing in the world that we have right outside our door.

Many local anglers target walleye, as well, because they are plentiful and they are the best-eating fish we have in our lakes.

Crappies move shallow in spring

Across much of Sunset Country, we are fortunate that black crappies have established themselves in many of our watersheds.

While they are not native to our region, it is believed they likely were incidentally dropped into some of our lakes while they were being stocked with smallmouth bass nearly a century ago.

Over time, illegal stocking by individuals likely lead to crappies being introduced to even more bodies of water and today we are where we are, with some of the best crappie fisheries on the planet.