You are here

Jeff Gustafson - Livewell

Spring usually best for crappie fishing

One of the best things about fishing here in Sunset Country, particularly during the spring, are all of the great multi-species options we have right across the region.

You can catch lake trout, bass, walleye, and pike almost anywhere, with opportunities for plenty of other species, as well.

Black crappies spend nearly the entire year in deep water. But for a few weeks in the spring, these panfish move shallow to spawn and offer some of the most action-packed fishing you'll experience all year.

Tackling the mighty Mississippi

After a brief stint at home where I got to spoil myself and spend a couple of days fishing for bass around Sunset Country I am back on the road in the U.S. this week, albeit a lot closer to home than I usually am.

The sixth stop of the FLW Tour takes place this week at the Mississippi River, out of La Crosse, Wisconsin.

The Mississippi is the largest river in North America, starting in northern Minnesota and stretching all the way to the Gulf of Mexico.

High water level wreaks havoc

The fifth stop of the 2017 FLW Tour took place last week at Beaver Lake, Ark. and it seems like I officially have got myself a little slump going.

After a solid Day 1 that landed me in 36th place, my Day 2 limit was much lighter and I left Arkansas with a 70th-place finish—my third-straight finish in the 70s.

Not good.

As I have said in previous columns, we get points based on where we finish in each event towards qualifying for the season-ending championship, the Forrest Wood Cup. The top 35 anglers in the 165-angler field qualify for the Cup.

Feeling at home on Beaver Lake

Outside of Northwestern Ontario, if you asked me which lake I could say I've spent the most time fishing on over the past several years, it probably would be Beaver Lake in northwest Arkansas.

This is my fifth season fishing the FLW Tour and Beaver Lake has been an annual stop on the schedule every year, so I'm really starting to rack up the days on this body of water.

Why not catch your own bait?

If do much fishing in Northwestern Ontario, you probably like to catch walleye because they are very plentiful across the region and they are great to eat.

And if you fish for walleye, you probably use live bait because minnows, nightcrawlers, and leeches are proven fish-catchers.

While it's convenient to hit the local bait shop to get live bait for your fishing trip, if you have some time this summer, catching your own bait actually is pretty easy.

Disappointment at Lake Cumberland

The fourth stop of the 2017 FLW Tour took place this past weekend at Lake Cumberland, Ky. and I now find myself in a little bit of a slump after these last couple of events.

After cashing a cheque in nine-straight tournaments, my 72nd-place finish gives me a pair of middle-of-the-pack results (in the 70s) in the past two events.

While they aren't terrible bombs, I don't consider it a very good tournament if I don't make some money so I'm disappointed, for sure.

Gearing for next stop on FLW Tour

After a couple of weeks at home, and some quality time on the ice, I'm back in the boat this week down south at Lake Cumberland.

Located in Kentucky, Cumberland is the ninth-largest lake in the United States but it has not held very many high-level bass tournaments. So for many of us fishing there this week, we don't know a whole lot about it.

What I did learn before I got here earlier this week was that Cumberland has populations of smallmouth, largemouth, and spotted bass, which is nice because it gives us options on what species we want to fish for.

Packing up ice gear

It's been really nice to be home for the past couple of weeks after spending much of February and March down in the southern U.S. fishing in bass tournaments.

I've spent nearly every nice day that we've had on the ice chasing walleye, pike, lake trout, and crappies—basically getting in my ice-fishing fix.

In the past couple of columns, I've mentioned how much I love this late March timeframe for ice-fishing for the nicer weather, the longer days, and generally because the fishing is a lot better now than it is earlier in the winter.

Late-season ice action hot

At this point in the winter, it's always exciting for those of us who live in Northwestern Ontario to think about another great summer that's just around the corner.

I'm certainly looking forward to the summer. But if you're like me and you enjoy ice-fishing, the latter part of March is one of my favourite times of the year because the longer days and warmer weather make it so pleasurable to be outside—and the fishing is as good as it is all winter for virtually every species.

I've caught some of my biggest walleye, lake trout, crappie, and pike all during this timeframe!