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Jeff Gustafson - Livewell

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.

Hot largemouth bite on Shoal Lake

The second-last Sunset Country bass tournament of the year took place last weekend at Shoal Lake as 37 teams participated in the annual Last Chance Bass Classic.

Shoal Lake is one of the best bass fisheries we have in Northwestern Ontario because of its clear water and relative remoteness.

My friend, Dennis Favreau, and I have fished the “Last Chance” tournament together since 2001—and have had a lot of fun over the years.

Musky fishing pays off

This past week, I got a nice break from bass fishing before the last two tournaments of the year that are going to take place over the next couple of weekends.

It’s nice for me because I’m kind of rejuvenated to get back at it.

Last week, I spent a few days musky fishing on Lake of the Woods, which was something I’ve not done a lot of over the past few years.

Finally victorious at ‘Bassin’ tourney

Back in 1996, two of Sioux Narrows’ most passionate and successful bass anglers came up with the idea to have a tournament on the second weekend in September.

Former Kenora Bass International champions Chris Bell and Mel Giesbrecht figured it was a way to give businesses in the town an extra weekend of action late in the season, as well as showcase the excellent fishing opportunities around the Sioux Narrows area of Lake of the Woods.