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Jeff Gustafson - Livewell

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.

Some ideas for summer jobs

Now that things are starting to finally thaw out and the end of the school year is in sight, it’s prime time for students who like to be outdoors to find a good summer job.

When I was in high school and university, I worked at a number of resorts and fishing camps around Lake of the Woods, Rainy Lake, and even at a couple of fly-in outfits.

I wanted to be a fishing guide and would work as many days as I could over the season at these places.

Throughout my time in school, I did not work anywhere else but at these various resorts.

Lots to keep busy during downtime

For all the anglers out there, this time of year always offers up a bit of a breather.

Sure, you can find a place to walk out on the ice to fish for lake trout, or search for those first bits of open water and get a boat wet. But for the most part, we are in a two-week span where fishing takes a break.

Since fishing is my focus for so much of the year, I enjoy the downtime.

Spring is on its way

With the warmer weather that finally showed up this past weekend across Sunset Country, it finally feels like spring is just around the corner.

The snow took a pretty good hit these past few days and it actually was nice to be outside after many months of nasty winter weather.

It’s about time!

This is one of my favourite times of the entire year, likely because we have so much to look forward to in this part of the world. Our summers are some of the nicest on the planet—at least if you like to participate in outdoor activities.

Good way to end trip

The fourth FLW Tour event of the six-event season took place this past weekend at Beaver Lake in Rogers, Ark.

After a tough start to the season for me, with triple-digit finishes at the first two events, I was looking to start some sort of streak of finishing in the money after a decent tournament two weeks ago at the Sam Rayburn Reservoir in Texas.

The Rogers area is corporate home to Walmart, the title sponsor of the FLW Tour, and Beaver Lake has been a stop on the Tour for 15 of the past 16 years.

Redemption down in Texas

Heading into the third FLW Tour stop of the season this past weekend at the Sam Rayburn Reservoir in Texas, I have to admit I was feeling a little bit of pressure to put up a good finish.

My results in the first two events were not good—finishing in the triple digits at both.

With social media and the Internet, it’s easy for everybody to follow along with these events. The support I get from everybody up north is incredible, but I also feel some pressure to do well for everyone back home.

Fishing exhibit a real catch

Growing up in Kenora, one place that I always got really excited to visit when I was a kid was the Lake of the Woods Museum, located at the south end of Main Street.

When I was in school, I always liked history class, especially Canadian history and how people used to live off the land.

I think I would have liked living during the fur trade era, or during the early days of settlement around Lake of the Woods.

Humble pie in South Carolina

It was a large slice of humble pie for me this past weekend down at Lake Hartwell in South Carolina—the second stop on the FLW Tour for 2014.

My 148th-place finish probably was the worst tournament finish I think I’ve ever had, at least that I can remember.

If I did finish worse than that at some point, I can guarantee you I forgot about it already!

Obviously I’m very disappointed. The worst part is that I feel like I let down all of my friends, sponsors, and supporters at home who follow these events.

Prepping to tackle Lake Hartwell

This is officially the worst winter ever! That is the only way I can describe it in a non-offensive way.

Over the past weekend, my parents sent me a photo of the seven-foot tall snow banks in their front yard. It’s depressing.

Down in South Carolina, where I am this week getting ready for the second FLW Tour bass tournament of the year at Lake Hartwell, we are feeling the effects of the cold weather from up north.