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Jeff Gustafson - Livewell

Thinking about Christmas

It’s pretty safe to say that winter is here to stay across Sunset Country.

It’s also probably time for all of us to start thinking about Christmas.

That means it’s time to get your shopping done now so you’re not stuck trying to put something together at the last minute, which is what usually happens with me.

This year I’m going to change things up a little bit and get everything done well in advance of Christmas (usually I even wait until a week before Christmas to write this gift idea column every year).

Ice-fishing season upon us

My fishing buddies, Jamie Bruce and Sean McAughey, are about as hard-core as it gets for getting out on the water or on the ice.

They don’t let weather conditions stop them and every free day they have, they find someplace to wet a line.

In fact, they’ve been on the ice a few times already, catching stocked brook trout, crappies, and walleyes on a number of small lakes around the Kenora area.

Already gearing for another FLW Tour

With the close of the non-resident deer-hunting season late last week, my guiding business that’s kept me busy for the past month-and-a-half or so is finished up.

After a busy summer fishing, then a shift right into deer season, I’m looking forward to a little bit of downtime around home.

I can’t say that I’m not still busy, but it’s a little more relaxed than all of the fishing, hunting, and travelling that I’ve been doing over the past several months. Since May, there really haven’t been that many mornings when I haven’t woken up at 5 a.m.

Ice-fishing provides fun

Late fall always is an interesting time of year.

The changing of the season is very noticeable as temperatures start dipping below freezing quite frequently. Yet we still get those nice days, with light winds mixed in, that allow us to get outdoors, in the woods, or in the boat and be comfortable.

There always is some disappointment with the end of the open-water fishing season, which is upon us very soon, because we know that for the next five months, we don’t have the option to fish out of a boat.

Skunks trying to move in

One night last week, I was walking out to my garage to turn some lights off just after supper.

As I got closer, I could hear something under a tarp behind the garage where I was keeping some peas that I like to feed deer with (my wife and I live outside of Kenora, so we get all kinds of wild animals passing through our yard from time to time).

In the past year, we’ve had plenty of deer, a couple of bears, a pair of great grey owls, a bobcat, a few wolves, and even a fisher. So I was thinking, “Who knows what was making noise under that tarp?”

Deer hunting tough so far

Over the past seven or eight years since I finished university, my fall season has been totally consumed with deer hunting.

In 2005 and 2006, our deer population really peaked in Northwestern Ontario. At that time, my interest in deer hunting was very high.

I was spending much of my time in the woods learning how to get close these animals in the wild. And for me, the biggest benefit was getting to spend a lot of time outdoors.

A successful moose hunt

One thing about the fall season, for me, is it’s always far too busy and goes by way too fast!

Between all the bass tournaments and great fall fishing for other species like walleye, pike, and crappie, and getting ready for my deer-hunting season, you only can do so much.

One thing that I’ve been missing out on, which I’m going to have to make time for one of these years, is the archery moose season we have here in Northwestern Ontario.

Plenty of options on area lakes

One of the perks to participating in all of the fishing-related events that I do (i.e., the tournaments, sport shows, and guide trips) is that I get to meet a lot of very interesting people.

Over the past couple of years, through some mutual fishing friends, I met Winnipeg Jets’ hockey player Dustin Byfuglien. If you follow the Jets, you know who he is because he’s a big dude who is very noticeable on the ice with his end-to-end rushes, heavy shot, and hard hits he lays out on other players.

On the road in Texas

It should come to no surprise to anybody reading this column that fishing plays a big role in my life throughout the year.

I have loved to fish since a very young age and have chosen a career path in the fishing industry.

Some months are better than others for work opportunities. But over the course of a year, I’m fortunate to get the opportunity to visit some pretty interesting destinations where I can just go fishing.

Bass tourney season wraps up

The last bass tournament of the year in Sunset Country, hosted by Whitefish Bay First Nation, took place over the weekend in Sioux Narrows.

Two dozen teams showed up to brave a full day of rain on Saturday, followed by a beautiful day of weather Sunday.

The organizers collected the entry fees at the boat check Saturday morning, so it sounds like the weather hurt the turnout a little bit because people looked out their window in the morning and knew it was not going to be a pleasant day to be in the boat.