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Jeff Gustafson - Livewell

Ice-fishing in Sunset Country

After a month of travelling the southern U.S. to fish for bass out of a boat, it was nice to spend the last week at home and get some ice-fishing in.

While we're still not in that late-season timeframe when the days are long and the fish seem to bite as well as they do all winter, the weather over the past week has been pretty decent so it was good to be out there.

While I wish the fishing report was a little better, the fishing was not as good as I expected the few times I got out over the past week. My feeling was that the weather made things a little bit tough.

Good week for me in Texas

The second FLW Tour stop of the season took place last weekend at Lake Travis in Texas.

After a decent three-day practice period, where I had the help of my brother, Ben, I was able to grind out a pretty solid 13th place finish on a lake that was fishing tough.

Early on in the practice period, I committed to fishing deep water, which was something I felt comfortable doing.

And it was evident during the practice that much of my competition was focused on beating the bank and fishing shallow, so I liked that I would have most of my spots to myself.

Getting tuned up at Lake Travis

After a week of fun fishing in Texas between the first two stops on the 2017 FLW Tour, it was back to the grind for me at Lake Travis in south-central Texas before the second tournament of the season starts later this week.

The FLW Tour has strict rules regarding who we are allowed to pre-fish with during the three-day official practice before the tournament starts. We only are allowed to be in the boat with co-anglers who are registered in the event or immediate family members.

Good start to FLW season in Alabama

The 2017 FLW Tour bass tournament season got underway this past weekend down at Lake Guntersville, Alabama.

Although it was some of the toughest fishing that I've encountered in my travels south over the past five years competing in these events, I was very fortunate to leave Guntersville with a solid 22nd-place finish.

In these tournaments, anglers bring in five-fish limits each day and over the two days of the tournament that I fished, I only caught five keeper-sized fish each day, which had to be at least 15 inches in length. So I was pretty fortunate.

A new season starts in Alabama

After months of planning and preparation, the 2017 FLW Tour bass tournament season starts this week at Lake Guntersville, Ala.

Some 165 anglers are fishing the circuit this year and everybody is looking to get off to a good start, with the end goal for most anglers being to qualify for the Forrest Wood Cup in August.

There are seven regular-season events this year—up from the six events that we have fished the past few years.

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.