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Jeff Gustafson - Livewell

Hard lessons learned at KBI

The 27th-annual Kenora Bass International went down as one of the best ever this past weekend on Lake of the Woods.

Some 140 teams participated in this year’s event—the highest number in several years.

The weather also was great throughout the event and by the time things were said and done, a bunch of big bass were brought to the scales.

Another KBI is upon us

As has been the case for the past 15 years, the past couple of weeks have been a whirlwind for me.

The week in Fort Frances for the Canadian Bass Championship was hectic to say the least. Then I spent most of last week guiding clients on Lake of the Woods, chasing walleyes for the most part.

Then this past weekend, I started my pre-fishing for the annual Kenora Bass International, which starts tomorrow.

This has been a pretty standard routine since I started fishing the FFCBC back in 2000.

Our weekend on Rainy Lake

The 20th-annual Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship took place this past weekend on Rainy Lake.

It’s hard to believe it’s been 20 years since the tournament started thanks to a group of people in Fort Frances who saw the great smallmouth fishery that exists on Rainy Lake and made it into a world-class fishing event.

In my column last week, I talked about my love of the event and the lake. I’ve had a lot of great memories over the years and look forward to the tournament all year long.

It and the KBI both are at the top of the list for me.

Tournament week at Rainy Lake

The last week of July is a week that I look forward to as much as any throughout the entire year since I started fishing the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship back in 2000.

That first year my buddy Pat James and I got into the tournament off the waiting list a few days before the tournament.

At that time, the tournament had an extensive waiting list and it was tough to get in. The top 90 finishing teams were guaranteed a spot the following year, while those that finished between 90 and 135 went into a draw with new anglers that wanted to enter the tournament.

Bass tournament season set to start

It’s that time of year again for bass anglers across Sunset Country—tournament time.

Although the bass season is open year-round, it is a catch-and-release season essentially until July 1, which is the reason there are no tournaments earlier in the year.

But from now through the end of September, there is tournament to fish somewhere in Northwestern Ontario almost every weekend.

Musky season ready to open

Across Northwestern Ontario, we have a lot of anglers who love to fish for the biggest fish in our lakes.

Muskies also attract many anglers to Sunset Country because we have some of the top waters in the world for both numbers of fish and truly big fish.

In fact, there’s a good chance the next world record could come from Lake of the Woods, Rainy Lake, Eagle Lake, or one of many others in our part of the world that have a reputation for kicking out big fish.

Walleye fishing now heating up

Since we’re finally ice-free across Sunset Country, anglers are able to get out in the boat to catch some fish.

After a long winter, it’s a welcome activity for many of us.

Since I’ve been on the road for most of the past month, I’ve not been fishing much around home. But I’ve been getting some good reports from some of my friends.

I’m down in Alabama this week getting ready for an FLW Tour bass tournament on Pickwick Lake, but I’m looking forward to getting out on Lake of the Woods next week when I return home!

Road trippin’ in B.C.

There certainly are some benefits to being self-employed and working within the fishing industry.

Along with my wife, August, we get to go on some awesome trips—mostly fishing-related in some way or another.

Over the winter, Shelley Bujold and Jack Dawson from CJBN in Kenora reached out to B.C. Tourism to see if they had any interest in us heading out there to film a couple of episodes of “Fishing with Gussy.”

Second-place finish at Sturgeon Bay

The 24th-annual Sturgeon Bay Open bass tournament took place this past weekend in eastern Wisconsin on Lake Michigan and it was well-attended by Sunset Country anglers.

A big event much like the KBI and FFCBC, the Sturgeon Bay Open attracts teams from across the U.S. Midwest and Canada because of the monster smallmouth bass that are caught there each May.

With the exception of last year, when I missed it because of an FLW event scheduled on the same weekend, Kenora angler Dave Bennett and I have fished the Open together since 2006.

Keep an eye out for tagged fish

Although it certainly doesn’t happen every day, if you fish enough, chances are you’ll eventually catch a tagged fish.

The tags—typically small yellow plastic pieces that are attached to the dorsal fin area of the fish—are used by natural resource agencies to measure the health and age structure of a fishery, among other things.

Around home, I’ve caught tagged bass on Lake of the Woods and Rainy Lake. I also have caught a couple of tagged lake trout on Lake of the Woods.