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Jeff Gustafson - Livewell

Walleye weekend in Dryden

Anglers from across Sunset Country converged on Dryden over the weekend for the Shaw Dryden Walleye Masters tournament on Wabigoon Lake.

It was a Father’s Day to remember Sunday for the Dryden duo of Michael and Stephen Cortens as the father and son captured the 23rd edition of the tournament. They brought in 10 walleye for a two-day total of 27.42 pounds to edge Michael and Alfred Parenteau, also of Dryden, who finished with 26.84 pounds.

Out and about on the water

With all the great weather we’ve had recently, it’s safe to say that summer is here.

Hopefully, everybody has been able to get out on the water and take in some of the great fishing we have across the Sunset Country region.

I spend most of my days in June guiding anglers from all over the place who come to visit our area. It allows me to spend a bunch of time on the water and it keeps the cash flow going before I get busy fishing in tournaments later in the season.

Fishing sure to get better

It’s hard to believe back in January that we actually get nice, warm weather here in Sunset Country.

Well, it’s finally here and by the looks of the long-range forecast, we’re in the clear with nice weather for the next while.

I love this time of year—and you couldn’t pay me to live anywhere else during the summer. I get to travel quite a bit and have been to many places, but nothing compares to the beauty of our lakes, our summer weather, and all of our top-notch fishing opportunities.

Latest in GPS mapping a real game-changer

When you take a look at most fishing boats out on Lake of the Woods and Rainy Lake these days, it is common to see some sort of GPS unit mounted on it.

GPS technology makes it easy for us to navigate areas of these lakes that we might not have previous knowledge of.

They allow us to record trails and mark hot fishing spots, and the mapping component helps us find fishing spots that we may have missed in the past.

Strong Canadian flavour at Sturgeon Bay

A strong contingent of Canadian teams travelled south last week to fish the annual Sturgeon Bay Open bass tournament on Lake Michigan.

Comparable to the Shaw Kenora Bass International and the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship, this event hosts a large field of between 150 and 200 teams on one of the best smallmouth bass fisheries in North America.

The reason that anglers from Sunset Country travel for 12 hours to bass fish is the size of the fish in this Great Lake is off the charts. Five- and six-pound fish are common while four-pounders are average.

Walleye generally shallow on opener

The biggest fishing weekend of the year for anglers and resort owners across the Sunset Country region is set to go down this coming weekend as the walleye season opens back up after being closed for the past month to protect these fish while they spawned.

The walleye season across our region opens annually on the third Saturday in May, and with this weekend comes the official start of another tourism season.

Gone fishing with a ‘Jet’

One of the best parts of what I do is that I get to meet all kinds of really cool people and usually I get to take them fishing.

Last week, I met up with Winnipeg Jets’ forward Nik Antropov for a day of fishing on Lake of the Woods. Nik also played for the Toronto Maple Leafs for seven years, so as it turned out we had some mutual friends in southern Ontario that hooked us up.

Nik, who actually is from Kazakhstan, is in Winnipeg until June while his kids attend school before he moves back to his home in Toronto for the summer.

Plenty of alternatives to fishing for walleye

Since the season is closed for everybody’s favourite fish for a few more weeks, other less popular species get a little more pressure than they might throughout the rest of the open-water season.

Until the third Saturday in May when we can all start chasing walleyes again, lake trout, pike, bass, and crappies are getting all the attention. I’ve been fishing in the boat quite a bit over the past week and, despite some mediocre weather, have had some pretty good fishing.

Hunting for shed antler an obsession

Those of you who follow my column likely have read some of my stories about shed hunting in the past and know what I’m talking about.

For those of you that have not heard the term shed hunting before, it refers to looking, or “hunting,” for shed deer and moose antlers–not looking for sheds that can be found in the backyards of most area residences.

The reason I make this clarifications is that I’ve had a few people look at me funny and wonder what I’m talking about when I tell them that I’m going shed hunting recently.

Scented soft plastics worth trying

Walk into any tackle shop and you are barraged by the selection of scented soft plastics available to anglers today.

Bright-coloured packages contain every shape and colour imaginable in scented varieties to replicate forage options for the fish we chase.

Do these scented soft plastics help us catch more fish? I don’t think they can hurt. In fact, I rely on scented baits to help me catch more fish.

Although most of these baits are designed for bass, I have used them to catch nearly every fish that swims in Sunset Country at some point along the road.