You are here

Jeff Gustafson - Livewell

Preparing to take on Beaver Lake

After a couple days of travel over the past weekend, I made to Beaver Lake, Ark.—site of the next FLW tournament taking place later this week.

It is my first time fishing Beaver Lake, but my initial impression after a couple of days of practice is that I like it.

It is not known for big bass, but it is home to all three species—smallmouths, largemouths, and spotted bass. I’ve also caught walleyes, crappies, and white bass in Beaver this week.

Fishing fun in the Dominican Republic

Each week in my column I generally try to include tricks and tips for my readers to help them catch more fish, mostly focusing on the Sunset Country Region.

This week I am going to talk about the basics when fishing away from home, as I just returned from a week long trip to the Dominican Republic where I had an interesting last-minute fishing experience.

The reason for our trip to the Dominican was that my friends Scott Dingwall and Joanna Ripley got married down there last week.

Prime time for ice-fishing now

For those us who like to spend time fishing, the winter in our region is always long.

We have a lot of ambition for those first few trips of the season. Once we get into January and February, however, we go because we like to be out there—though most days we really don’t enjoy the cold temperatures, deep snow, and tougher fishing all that much.

As we get into March, there is renewed ambition because the weather usually is better, the days are longer, and the fish bite better than they have all winter.

Out practising on Smith Lake

My thought heading south to Alabama this past weekend was that the weather and temperatures would be a lot nicer than in Sunset Country.

Well, there isn’t any snow on the ground down here but the temperatures are not much warmer than they are back home.

It’s been about minus-four C in the mornings when we get up and gets only a little bit warmer during the day.

The good news is there’s a warming trend coming this week. I know, nobody has any sympathy for me at home but it’s cold to be fishing in a boat.

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.