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Jeff Gustafson - Livewell

Plan a dream fishing trip

When most of us think about going on a fishing trip, it usually means stepping out the door, driving to the boat ramp down the road, and heading out for the day.

Right across Northwestern Ontario, we are blessed with some many great bodies of water that offer some of the best fishing in the world.

It is for this reason that people travel from all over Canada and the U.S. to visit our area for their dream fishing trips. Across the region, we have hundreds of outfits that offer accommodations on a variety of waters.

Spoon-feeding walleye works great

When I was a youngster, I had quite an appetite for absorbing as much fishing information as I could.

My Grandpa used to have subscriptions to a few different fishing magazines, so I always was excited about trips over to his place in case he might have a new issue or two.

One of the techniques I read about from the U.S. magazines was using jigging spoons for walleyes when ice-fishing.

Growing up in Northwestern Ontario, the only technique I had ever seen anybody use for ice-fishing for walleye was putting a minnow on a jig and letting it down to the bottom.

An update on ice conditions

Over the past few days when I looked at my social media pages, I couldn't help but notice all the fish pictures that my friends have been taking on the ice-all across Sunset Country and in neighbouring areas.

While I haven't been fishing on the ice yet, I'm going to start getting out over the holidays.

Even though I haven't been fishing, I spent a few days last week moose hunting up around Red Lake, and my friends and I travelled across several lakes to get to some of the areas that we hunted.

High school fishing coming to our area

Some good news broke last week in Fort Frances when high school teacher Jason Cain announced he is moving forward with starting a high school fishing team.

South of the border, high school and college competitive bass fishing has emerged as an extremely popular extra-curricular activity, so it makes sense to bring it north of the border, as well.

Gift ideas for the hunter

Last week, I threw around some Christmas shopping ideas for anglers. So in this week's column, I'm going to do the same thing for hunters.

While hunting is not for everybody, it is part of the culture in Northwestern Ontario—and for good reason. We have more public land that anybody can hunt than most places.

Across southern Ontario and much of the U.S., by comparison, hunters that do not have private property to hunt may never be able to find a place to go.

Gift ideas for the angler

At this time of year, it is quite common for me to get messages from friends and their significant others as they begin their Christmas shopping campaign.

Usually I wait until a week or two before Christmas to write this column, but since I started getting a few of these messages last week, I figure I can throw some ideas around for everybody now since most people should be starting to think about finding gifts.

Fun with underwater cameras

As somebody who makes their living in the fishing business, I try to stay on top of all of the tools and gear that can help me put an extra fish or two in the boat.

In a tournament situation or on a guiding trip, one or two extra bites can make or break the day, so it pays for me to have the latest and greatest gear if it might help.

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.