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Jeff Gustafson - Livewell

Trout derby slated

Over the past three years, I’ve been fortunate to be down in Florida in late January getting ready for the FLW Tour season to start up.

For the past few years, my first tournament of the year has taken place the first week of February.

It’s been great to get to fish in the boat in February in Florida, but I’ve missed out on what was a tradition since high school with my buddies in Sioux Narrows: participating in the annual lake trout derby on Regina Bay.

Putting perch on the ice

Growing up in Kenora and on Lake of the Woods, it was ingrained in me at a young age that you don’t keep perch.

I think many of you reading this could say the same thing—that you would not get caught dead with a perch in your livewell or bucket.

In my experiences, there are several reasons for this. First off, we have great walleye fishing (they are bigger than perch and generally are thought of with more regard).

Gadgets big help for ice fishing

As a young kid who had an extreme interest in fishing, I was very lucky to have parents who were able to give me the opportunity to go fishing as often as I could.

I also was fortunate that we lived just one block away from Gord Pyzer, who was at the time—and continues to be—one of the most well-known anglers in Canada. He always has been on the leading edge of new products in the fishing industry.

Frigid weather causes woes

After rolling through December with some nice, mild weather, we have been welcomed into the New Year with some real Canadian winter temperatures.

It’s been so cold over the past few days that I’ve been getting flashbacks to the “polar vortex” we experienced last year.

Fortunately, the long-range forecast is looking decent, with some average temperatures coming down the pipe. I can live with that.

Gearing up for trout opener

Since I was a little kid, there always has been one day that I look forward to fishing more than any other in the winter and that is Jan. 1—and most ice anglers probably would say the same thing.

This is the annual opening day for lake trout season, which will remain open until Sept. 30 across Sunset Country.

Pheasant hunting south of the border

Last week, I wrote about my annual late-season moose hunt I take with my friends.

Every year I take off for five-seven days and stay in a cabin with my friends.

This year, my wife, August, decided she would take her own hunting trip at the same time and hit the road south of the border to go pheasant hunting in Minnesota and South Dakota.

Late-season moose hunting fun time

The big game hunting season in Northwestern Ontario wrapped up Monday (Dec. 15).

As has been a tradition for a group of my friends and I for the past several years, we headed north to the Red Lake area to spend the last week of the season moose hunting.

Typically, six or eight of us go and rent a cabin from Five Lakes Lodge, just south of Red Lake. It’s always a fun trip.

All that’s new in ice fishing

Since 2005, I’ve spent the first weekend in December down in Minnesota at the annual St. Paul Ice Fishing Show.

It is a big ice-fishing event held at the Xcel Energy Center, the same place the Minnesota Wild play, in a large event centre next to the arena.

It’s a unique outdoors show because it is great for consumers. Nearly every big retail outfit in Minnesota attends, and sells everything from tackle to fishing rods to shelters and augers.

The retailers are selling everything for very good deals in an attempt to try and get as many sales as possible.

Love to eat wild meat

A couple of weeks ago, I was lucky enough to get to use my deer tag on a small eight-point buck not too far from my house.

The beauty of living out-of-town like we do is that we pretty much can step out the door of our house and start hunting.

In a year when the deer numbers outside of town (Kenora) are way down from where they have been for the past decade, I was happy to get to use my tag.

’Tis the season for giving gifts

I always get pretty good notice of when the holiday season is approaching because the wives and girlfriends of my fishing friends start sending me messages asking for ideas of what they should get their guys for Christmas.

Sometimes this is an easy one for me to answer, especially if there is something that I know they don’t have and could use.

Other times, I’ll throw out a few ideas to try to help. And happy to do so!