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Jeff Gustafson - Livewell

Long-sought win for my dad

The annual Shoal Lake Big Bass Classic was a special one for me this past weekend because I got to watch my dad, Jim Gustafson, and his partner, Dean Smith, whup everybody to win the tournament after fishing in it together for many years.

In fact, it was my dad who mentioned after the tournament that although he has a number of second- and third-place finishes, it was his first victory since he started fishing in bass tournaments 19 years ago.

It was in 1993 that he took me in the KBI for the first time (I was 10 years old) and we have never looked back.

Another great time at ‘Castin’ for Cash’

The 12th-annual “Castin’ for Cash” bass tournament took place this past weekend and it was another successful event. Put on by Bill and Nell Godin, who own Lake Despair Lodge, this has become a very popular event with area anglers. It’s a fun chain of lakes to fish and the atmosphere at the resort is always great. Some familiar faces ended up on top of the leaderboard come Saturday afternoon as the husband-and-wife team of Wayne and Pat Howard whupped everybody to become two-time winners of this tournament.

Bass tourney season is here

This is always one of my favourite weeks of the year. The first week in July is significant because bass tournament season is here. It’s no secret that I live for fishing these events. Big or small, I love the competition and I really enjoy the camaraderie with all the anglers and volunteers at these events. July is going to be a busy month for me as I’m fishing tournaments four weekends in a row starting this weekend at Lake Despair in the annual Castin’ For Cash event. Put on by Bill and Nell Godin at their resort on the lake.

Big Manitoba cats

The best thing about working on this fishing show that I have teamed up to do with CJBN is that it encourages me to fish more different places.

The reality is there isn’t a lot of reason to leave Sunset Country or even Lake of the Woods or Rainy Lake, my two favourite bodies of water.

I say it all the time; we have the best multi-species fishing opportunities in the World right at our doorstep.

There is one species we don’t have, however—the mighty channel catfish.

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.