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Jeff Gustafson - Livewell

Time to adjust non-resident deer hunting regulations

Back in the early 2000s, Northwestern Ontario emerged as one of the top deer-hunting destinations in North America.

At the north end of the whitetail deer range, several favourable factors contributed to an explosion in the deer population. Multiple winters without major snow, low hunting pressure, and a surplus of quality forage created the perfect storm for whitetails.

Enjoy writing columns

It has been more than 10 years since the newspapers in both Kenora and Fort Frances gave me a shot at writing a weekly outdoors column.

Over all these years, it has been a great platform for me to share my passion for fishing and outdoor activities with our communities, as well as spread the word on all of the great fishing events that take place across Sunset Country.

It's hard to believe but that is more than 530 columns since I started in the summer of 2007.

Deer kicking into high gear for rut

The seasons changed literally overnight last week across Sunset Country when we got hit with a strong winter storm, which knocked out power for several days in some areas.

Heavy snow, combined with strong winds, knocked down thousands of trees—wreaking havoc on power lines, roads, and property.

For me, this storm pretty well signalled the end of the fishing season for me. I have a few friends who still are chasing muskies around and there is a good chance I'll get out on Lake of the Woods one last time to try and catch one.

Don't neglect to winterize your gear

While there still is some time to get out in the boat and catch a few fish, the open-water season is nearing its end here in Northwestern Ontario.

That means that after you're finished up with using your boat, you need to take care of it, the motor, the accessories on your boat, and your fishing tackle so that you're ready to hit the water again next spring when a new season begins.

If you are anything like me, the best idea is to bring your boat to a mechanic who knows what they are doing to take care of your motor before winter.

Sunset Country offers great fall fishing

Since the weather has been so nice across Sunset Country this week, it's only fitting that we take advantage of the excellent fall fishing we have here before things cool down.

That's not too far off, unfortunately.

Fall is a great time to go fishing because seasons are open for most species, the lakes are quiet, and the fish are biting. Except for lake trout, which closed after Sept. 30, seasons are open for all of the major sport fish in our lakes.

Perfect time for fall crappies

Aside from a few weeks in May and June when they show up in shallow water to spawn, crappies typically disappear in most waters across Sunset Country over the course of the summer.

That's a shame because they are fun to catch and great to eat.

Fortunately for anglers, they school up into large groups in the fall in deeper basins of the bays and lakes that they live in, where they will spend the winter.

Last weekend of bass fishing for me

The 2017 bass tournament season came to an end for me this past weekend at the annual Whitefish Bay Fall Classic, which took place on Lake of the Woods.

Some 31 teams signed up to fish for the $5,000 first-place prize.

Over the years, this event has seen some high-end weights and big fish brought in, including Brian McNanney and Matt Rydberg's 25-pound limit as well as Darren and Ray Marcine's 7.10-pound largemouth, both happening in 2010.

My regular partner for this tournament, Mike Reid, was not able to make it this year so I teamed up with Mike Richards.

Rainy weekend in Sunset Country

While the weather was not awesome for fishing this past weekend, many anglers hit the water anyway to compete in a couple of area tournaments.

The way we look at it, it's a long winter so we're trying to enjoy every bit of fishing we can before the end of the season.

If you dress for the conditions, you usually can get through the day just fine.

Fun weekend on Crow Lake

It had been several years since I last fished at Crow Lake. So when my girlfriend and I made plans to fish in the annual Crow Lake Classic bass tournament this past weekend, we didn't have really high expectations.

It also would be Shelby's first bass tournament so the first goal was to have fun.

We headed down to Nestor Falls to spend one day pre-fishing the day before the tournament. My plan was to explore a different part of the lake than I had fished before, mainly because my results in the couple of tournaments that I have fished there in the past were not that good.

Tourney big boost for small community

The 22nd-annual “Bassin' For Bucks” tournament took place over weekend on Lake of the Woods out of Sioux Narrows.

The tournament, which has become a favourite of many local anglers, as well as visitors to Sunset Country, attracted another full field of 120 teams.

“Bassin' For Bucks” is a great event for Sioux Narrows because it basically adds another busy week of economic activity in the small community where tourism and fishing are so important.