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Jeff Gustafson - Livewell

Southward bound

For the past five years around this time in late January, it's become a tradition for me to hook up my truck and boat and head south.

I'm very fortunate to be able to chase a dream that I've had since I was a youngster of making a living as a professional bass tournament angler on the FLW Tour.

Lake trout tips, tricks

When people think ice-fishing in January, lake trout come to mind first for many of the serious anglers out there.

Sure, we all get out and catch walleye, crappie, and whitefish in January, but the lake trout season opens annually on Jan. 1 and we have more great lake trout water across Sunset Country than anywhere in Canada.

Further adding to the appeal is lake trout prefer cold water and are eager to bite throughout the ice season.

Snow affecting ice conditions

Last week, it was mentioned on the radio that we had a record amount of snowfall for the month of December in the Kenora area.

That was before the big dump we got just after New Year’s, so we certainly are experiencing a real Canadian winter thus far because we’re getting plenty of cold weather mixed in, as well.

For those of us who enjoy the outdoors, it influences our activities and certainly has effects on wildlife across the region.

Year of fishing thrills

Every day that I wake up, I always give a quick thought to how lucky I am to be able to be my own boss and make my living through all of the different fishing and outdoor activities I participate in.

Over the last few years, I’ve been able to travel all over North America to go fishing, whether it is competing in a tournament, filming a TV show, or documenting a trip through a writing project.

Finally ice-fishing

After our first good cold snap of the winter a couple weeks ago, lakes across Northwestern Ontario finally are frozen after an unseasonably warm fall.

For those of us who enjoy ice-fishing, a new season is now upon us.

Ice conditions early in the season can be tougher to predict because the ice simply hasn’t had a lot of time to form. But it is typically good, strong ice since it has not been through any melting stages yet.

It is recommended there should be at least four inches of ice for walking, eight inches for a snowmobile, and 14 inches for a truck.

Love late-season moose hunting

In what has become a tradition over the past decade for me and my friends, we took our annual late-season moose hunting trip up north last week for the last few days of the 2016 Ontario rifle season.

We like the late-season hunting because we can use snowmobiles to get around and access remote areas while the cold weather gets the moose up on their feet and moving around a little more than earlier in the fall.

What’s new in ice-fishing gear

Ice-fishing really has evolved over the past couple of decades when you consider that we’ve gone from sitting on a bucket using tree branches for strike indicators to having insulated portable shelters, power augers, and high-end graphite rods.

The annual St. Paul Ice Show took place this past weekend and it is the place to see all of the new stuff that becomes available to anglers each season.

It’s a show I’ve attended nearly every year since 2005 and one I always look forward to checking out.

Walleye fishery on Shoal Lake should re-open

Over the past weekend, I was invited out to Shoal Lake #39 to participate in its second-annual fisheries conference.

Headed by band councillor Karen Kejick, there’s a push being made by Shoal Lake #39 to open the walleye fishery on Shoal Lake for both sport-fishing and commercial fishing activities to start taking place after being closed for more than 30 years.

Making TV in Sunset Country

Other than a three-month stint working for a contractor friend of mine just out of university, and a couple of years on the supply teacher list in Kenora, the only jobs I’ve ever had have been related to the fishing and outdoor industry in some manner.

My first guide trip was at age 15 when I was working weekends at Ash Rapids Lodge on Lake of the Woods. And since then, I’ve kept the cash flow going by guiding anglers and hunters, my outdoors writing and photography, tournament fishing, and by working on promotional activities with all of the my fishing sponsors.

Deer starting to rebound

While I understand the healthy deer population in our city centres across Northwestern Ontario drives everybody nuts, especially who want to have a garden or grow flowers, it really isn’t an indication of the deer numbers outside of town, where deer took a massive hit following tough winters in 2013 and 2014.

For nearly 10 years, I spent a significant part of my fall guiding deer hunters, mostly Americans who came to Sunset Country in search of a big buck.