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Jeff Gustafson - Livewell

Fish are in mid-winter lull

Since I returned home from Florida a couple of weeks ago, I haven’t done nearly as much ice fishing as I’d planned to do.

I just couldn’t get all that motivated to head out in that nasty weather we had last week!

Over the weekend, though, I got out trout fishing on Whitefish Bay, near Sioux Narrows, and I’ve also been out a few evenings chasing walleyes.

Overall, the fishing was okay but not as good as it’s going to be in a few weeks once things start melting a little bit.

Research project underway on the Rainy River

This is probably my least favourite time of year across Sunset Country.

I love ice fishing, but right now conditions are not ideal. We have a bunch of snow and slush on our lakes, the weather has not been great, and it’s generally the slowest fishing of the whole winter.

The days are starting to get longer and soon the sun will start to kick out some heat and start beating down the snow a little bit. Once this happens, the fishing seems to pick up for all species.

Hopeful the bite heats up

If you’ve been following this column over the past couple of weeks, you know that I’ve been down in Florida preparing for the FLW Tour bass tournament I’m fishing this weekend at Lake Okeechobee.

Our official practice started Sunday after the lake was off-limits to tournament anglers for the past two weeks.

I was fortunate last year and had a great tournament, ending up with a 20th-place finish. I found one really good stretch of lily pads that gave up nearly all of the fish that weighed in.

Weather nice here in Florida

Last week with my boat in tow, I began my journey south in preparation for the FLW Tour bass tournament that I’m fishing next week at Lake Okeechobee in Florida.

My good friend, Brian McNanney, and I left the frozen tundra of Sunset Country to head to Florida to spend a week fun fishing before I get serious next week for the tournament.

The joys of back lake ice fishing

One of the benefits to winter fishing is that we can access remote bodies of water that are not accessible during the open water season except by airplane.

Portage trails allow us to get back to waters where most fish have never even seen a lure, so the fishing opportunities can be really good.

Though this recent cold snap has not been very motivating for us to get out and go ice fishing, when things finally do warm up a little bit, the ice conditions should be pretty good.

Ice-fishing for trout a tradition

Jan. 1 is a significant date for ice-fishing anglers from all over the place because it marks the opening of the lake trout season across Sunset Country,

For many, it’s a tradition to get out on the ice and fish for lake trout on New Year’s Day.

I spent a couple of days chasing lake trout over the past week and had some mixed results, based mostly on the weather. We did well one day when we were faced with cold weather and light wind, then had a tougher time a couple of days later when the wind was really blowing hard.

Looking forward to living my dream

With the arrival of each New Year, we all think about things in our life that we can look forward to in the coming 12 months.

In a way, we get to start over with a fresh slate and this usually motivates us to do the things that we want.

2013 is going to be a big year for me in that I get to live my dream of fishing the complete FLW Tour professional bass tournament circuit in the U.S.

I have followed these events for many years with hopes that one day I would get the chance to compete and thanks to some tremendous sponsor support, I’m getting that opportunity.

Cold-weather moose hunting

There are many elements to hunting that make it appealing to people.

Some love all the time spent outdoors, most of us enjoying eating what we harvest, and there are deep social and cultural traditions in this activity that most people who participate surely absorb.

For the past several years, my friends and I have had a tradition of heading north to the Red Lake area to hunt moose during the last week of the season. We travel to hunt moose in a beautiful part of Sunset Country and stay in a remote cabin for the week.

Gift ideas for the ice angler

As we get closer to Christmas, I usually receive a few messages from people looking for gift ideas for their friends and family.

If you know somebody who enjoys spending time in the outdoors, then gifts that might improve their outdoor experience probably will be well-received.

This past weekend, I attended the 20th-annual St. Paul Ice Fishing Show—the largest show of its kind in North America. Nearly all of the relevant tackle and ice-fishing companies in the business set up a booth at this event to showcase their product line.

Area hunter bags deer-of-a-lifetime

Early last week, I got a phone call from my good friend and fishing partner, Chris Savage.

He and one of his co-workers, Dennis Chevalier, had been hunting a really big whitetail deer for most of the season. They had been taking turns, putting in many days sitting from dark to dark waiting for this big buck to make an appearance in front of their ground blind.

The phone call from Chris was to let me know that Dennis had taken the big buck with archery equipment.

I immediately packed up my camera to go and check out the big buck with Chris.