We're under a blanket of snow here in Northwestern Ontario, so it's safe to say fall is over and winter is here to stay. The smaller lakes are iced over and it won't be long until the larger lakes are locked up too. The boat is put away for another year and for the most part, my hunting season is over as well. Time to unwrap the snowmachine and get it going for another winter.
As always, fall goes by way too quickly. We got the hunting season underway back in early October with our annual moose hunt. We saw some cows and calves but never did find a bull, so our tag went unused this year. That's the nature of the game. Still, it was a great time on Lac Seul with friends and family.
We managed some ruffed grouse, although numbers were down this year, and I was able to share part of that experience with my son.
In late October I shifted focus to muskie fishing on Lac Seul. It's never an easy game and we put in long hours for the fish caught. No monsters this year but some nice fish for the guests in my boat.
Here's a great shot to wrap up the 2013 open water season. It was taken by my friend Suzie Hughdie of a Lac Seul sunset at the end of a day of trolling. We'll get you a muskie next year, Suzie!
November is whitetail deer time. I got busy filling up some doe tags while waiting for a buck that I wanted to put my tag on.
I was hunting on my birthday when this buck came running into a doe bleat. With the excitement of that experience, I didn't hesitate to shoot.
That's a wrap on another great fall in Northwestern Ontario.
Check out the link below (click the picture) to read an article by Ontario OUT OF DOORS travel editor James Smedley about his trip with OOD fishing editor Gord Ellis to Sioux Lookout to fish with me.
Check it out, my latest video release. I'm really happy with how this one turned out. There's a lot of action and great footage crammed into 4 minutes. Enjoy!
Now's the time for fall trolling here on Lac Seul and I'm looking forward to getting out and collecting some footage for a fall video.
It's hard to believe it's already mid-September. Another summer is in the books and it's time to look ahead to fall. Fall muskie fishing and open hunting seasons make it the best time of year.
For now though, it's time to look back at some of the summer highlights. As title of this post suggests, it's going to be all about big muskies!
Overall it was a great summer for chasing muskie on Lac Seul. The bite really turned on in August and I put a bunch of nice fish in the Beckman net. As usual, bucktails and top-water baits caught most of the fish.
I'm going to let the pictures do most of the talking. I also captured some great video footage this season so look for a muskie video coming soon.
I'll get this rolling with this clean 49-incher that slammed my double-10's half way back to the boat. I was fishing with Brett Erickson of Thorne Bro's and Stephan Nielsen of Attitude Baits, in Sweden.
This chunky low 40's fish went wild after eating my Rad Dog spinnerbait. I just love seeing them come out of the water.... as long as they stay hooked!
Had a couple good days with guests Evan and his Dad from Wisconsin. Evan boated a 48.5" and a 46" and also raised a true giant. It was one of the 2 biggest fish I've ever raised on Lac Seul.... an absolute monster.
Evan's 48.5" was a topwater fish, and so was this 49.5" I got below. It's so awesome watching a big fish come up and hammer your surface bait.
The only thing that makes a topwater hit better is when it's on a figure-8. This four-footer (below) slurped my surface bait in the figure-8 right beside the boat. Talk about adrenaline! I was out with my good buddy Mike and we got 2 muskies that day, both on the F8. Mike's fish was a nighttime F8 hit on a bucktail.
Here's a couple fish from a new spot that I started fishing this year. One of my guests, Stew, got things rolling with this nice fish, 10 minutes into his first day!
I'll wrap things up with a couple of nice pike. One guided and another for the guide. Even a seasoned muskie angler can't argue with pike like these!
Coming up will be more muskie and before I know it our annual moose hunt will be here too. Lots to look forward to this fall so stay tuned for another update.
It's hard to believe it's already August! The summer is flying by as usual. July was busy, with a lot of days on the water and a lot of nice fish in the boat. Big pike, walleye, muskie and lakers have dominated my time.
Predictably, the walleye are on the humps and other structure in and around the main lake basins. Right now we're catching lots of fish in 25- to- 32 feet of water. For all the fish caught though, one that I won't forget was a monster walleye that broke my guest off before I could net it. It was, by far, the biggest walleye I've ever seen.
Of course, some nice fish have managed to hit the Beckman net. Here's just a few.
It's nice to shift gears every once and a while and do something a little bit different. Jigging for lake trout in the summertime is a really fun way to catch them vs. downrigging. We use 4-inch tube jigs with 1 oz lead heads and are able to fish as deep as 100-feet of water. We got on some today in 74-feet on a deep hump. It's a blast to battle lakers from the depths on spinning gear.
I love catching all kinds of different fish, but deep down I'm an Esox junkie! Big pike and especially big muskie really get my heart pumping.
I've put some really nice fish in the net lately.
Big pike are amazing creatures, but their size and appeal is shadowed by the other Esox that inhabits Lac Seul - Muskie! They're never easy to catch but the rewards are huge.
Tom's first muskie ever came on the figure-8.
Dave has caught a lot of muskies, but we both still got a trill from watching this one eat on the figure 8 as well.
Last week an old friend of mine came up with his dad to chase muskies. I've never seen July weather like we had - cold, wet and windy. Highs were in the low 50's - and this is usually the warmest week of the year in Northwestern Ontario. We battled the elements and were rewarded for our efforts with some nice fish.
The icing on the cake was this fat 50-incher that Todd's Dad, Ben, caught on a bulldawg.
They are already talking about another trip next summer to collect some of the other big ones that we saw but didn't catch.
I'll wrap this update up with a beautiful Lac Seul sunset shot that Todd took. Anyone that fishes muskies would want to be on the water at this time of day, with a sky like this.
The first month of walleye season has been fantastic on Lac Seul. Right from opener - which happened at ice out - until now, the walleye have been hitting well. It all adds up to happy Moosehorn Lodge guests and a happy guide.
It's late June right now and they walleye are in full on transition mode. They're well on their way towards summer structure but they're not quite there yet. This time the time of the year where you can catch walleye in 5-feet or 20-feet and anywhere in between.
Here's one I caught recently from 17-feet of water off a big underwater saddle that the wind was blowing in on.
It won't be long now until the walleye are on their summer structure in the main lake basin.
Anyone looking for a trip, here's a great last minute deal from Moosehorn Lodge. Check it out, you can't beat this price for an all inclusive package.
After one of the latest ice-outs that I can remember on Lac Seul, the 2013 open water season is underway. Late ice out years are typically great for catching big walleye. This year didn't disappoint.
The ice went out the night before opener, leaving us with clear sailing to my favourite early season area on Lac Seul.
Jigs tipped with minnows or soft-plastics are all it takes to catch big walleye
Other than walleye fishing in the spring I also love to chase pike and lake trout. Check out this big pike my buddy Ian caught last week.
This big spawned-out female was sitting in 2-feet of water in the back of a large bay
My good buddy Mike and I took a shot at lakers on Minnitaki this past week. We went with the quality over quantity approach and that's exactly what we got.
Both fish hit a blue jointed minnow bait 125-feet behind the planer board
June is one of the best months for fishing in northwestern Ontario. Big walleye, pike and bass are on the menu and muskie opener is also coming up quick. Stay tuned for another report in a couple of weeks.
With walleye opener just a few days away it's going to be down to the wire with ice out. I think there will be some areas to launch and fish but I really believe we will be restricted on where we can go because of ice. If so that will be a first for me on opener. The weather forecast is in our favour so things will melt before saturday, it's just a question of how much will it melt.
That's the Deception boat launch on Lac Seul on Tuesday May 14th. You can see the ice about 200 yards out.
In the meantime I got down to business rigging my boat with Humminbird
and Minn Kota
electronics. Here's what's onboard now.
- 80lb Minn Kota Terrova with iPilot Link
- Humminbird 788 HD combo graph on the bow
- Humminbird 898 HD Side Imaging combo at the back
The new iPilot Link is a slick deal. It lets the graphs talk to the trolling motor so you can control the trolling motor through the graphs. It takes boat control to new levels, allowing hands free tracking of contours and GPS tracks. If you mark a school of fish, just drop a waypoint and tell the trolling motor to hold the boat on that waypoint.
I just need the ice to go so I can get out there and put it to good use.
It's hard to believe it's May already. There's still a few piles of snow in my yard and the lakes are covered with ice.... enough to still fish on. It's definitely going to be a later ice out year, and with walleye opener on the 18th I wouldn't be surprised if there's still ice in places.
This was a couple weeks back, but here are the last ice fishing shots of the season. Minnitaki walleye that fell for the Lindy Darter.
It was a seamless transition this year from ice fishing to spring turkey hunting. I switched the snowmachine for the quad in the back of my truck and headed to southern Ontario to hunt turkeys with my good buddy Jocko.
Jocko has the turkey thing really dialed in and as always we were on birds right from opening morning.
I got this nice 3 year old Tom on the 2nd day of the hunt. Inch and 1/8 spurs, 9" beard and 25 pounds on the digi scale.
Some sweet redemption after missing one on opening morning!
Looking ahead, it's time to uncover the Alumacraft and get rigging it for the coming season. I'm pumped to add the i-Pilot Link system this year. The Link system lets the Minn Kota trolling motor and the Humminbird graphs talk to each other for easy navigation and unmatched boat control.
Once the ice is gone it's going to be full speed ahead for big walleye, lake trout and pike.
The weather this week couldn't be any more different from a year ago. Last march break we were in T-shirts on the ice while this year it's been 20 below. As I type this the snow continues to fall outside, adding to the foot we've already got in the last 24-hours.
It sure doesn't seem like spring is just around the corner. If it wasn't for the longer days, the fish would think it's still mid-winter.
Big fish continue to find their way onto the ice. With dedication, patience and effort come rewards.
My wife Kelly joined me recently, and of course she caught the big one. Kelly can jig walleye with the best of them, whether it's through the ice or in the boat. Check out this big, beautiful, dark walleye.
Another one that couldn't resist the Lindy Rattlin' Flyer Spoon
My pursuit of big winter lake trout continues. For me, these fish are the best substitute for muskie fishing. The drag peeling, rod bending runs of a wintertime laker fill the adrenaline void created by the closed muskie season. In other words, they're the biggest bang for your buck on the ice.
I've been fortunate to catch some really nice lakers lately.
I also wanted to share a product that has made a huge improvement to my ice fishing program.
The Digger Auger Carrier
by Digger Anchor makes carrying your auger so easy and convenient. It makes me so much more portable and efficient on the ice now that I don't have to load and unload my auger from the sleigh every time I move.
Even though we've still got a few weeks of ice fishing left here in Northwestern Ontario, spring really is just around the corner. Check out the current issue (April 2013) of Ontario OUT OF DOORS for an article I wrote about using strutter decoys as a part of your spring turkey hunting strategy.
Also, click HERE
for an on-line article I did for Ontario OUT OF DOORS called 'The ABC's of Backtrolling'.
Before open water and turkey hunting, however, the year's best ice fishing is still to come. Stay tuned for one more ice report.
It's hard to believe that we're mid way through the winter season already. With February half over that means the warmer spring fishing in March is just around the corner.
Mid-winter means cold, and we've had our share of 40 below already. We also have a ton of snow. From the fishes perspective, it's a dark and cold world under the ice. They move pretty slow at this time of year so downsizing and slowing down presentations definitely helps.
We've been getting our share of nice walleye. Lindy jigging spoons like the Frostee and Rattlin' Flyer Spoon have been producing, and so has a jig and minnow.
Jigging Raps are always a staple through the ice.
Lake trout get a lot of my attention during the winter and I've landed some really nice ones.
Using a tip-up with deadbait on a quick strike has proven to be a big fish magnet. Along with the previous lake trout, this monster pike was caught on a quick strike rig by my good buddy Mike.
There is still a lot of ice fishing season left here in northwestern Ontario. I've got some dates available in March for ice trips so get in touch with me if you're interested in booking a trip.