For the first time in many years, I hung my buck tag on the Christmas tree. Since I hunted late in the season, I missed all the good early ice we had this year. I got on the ice the day after hunting season closed and hit the ground running.
Just in time for ice fishing season is the current issue of Ontario OUT OF DOORS magazine. It's aways a huge honour to be on the cover of a magazine. Big thanks to my friend James Smedley for coming up last winter to snap this picture.
The boat's put away and the lakes are icing up as I write this - the 2014 soft-water season is officially over. It was another great year with a lot of big fish and memories made on the water. Thanks to everyone who fished with me, all my sponsors, supporters, family, friends and everyone who reads my website.
Although I didn't get as much time on the water this fall as I'd have liked to I certainly ended the year with a bang. This trophy muskie is a prime example of the girth Lac Seul fish can get late in the season.
To make it even more exciting, this fish hit boatside on a Figure-8.
With a little bit of luck I'll be posting my 2014 whitetail deer hunt report soon. Just need that right buck to appear. And the first ice fish report isn't that far off either.
Fall is the best time of year here in Northwestern Ontario with hunting seasons open and fat fall fish to be caught. We've had weather that's all over the charts - from snow and howling cold wind to sunny, hot and calm. Overall things have been going well in the woods and on the water.
Last month I snuck out with my photographer friend Suzie Hughdie for a photo shoot for an upcoming Ontario OUT OF DOORS article. We fished hard all day for muskie and had half-a-dozen follows but no takers. Suzie still captured some great images that will surely run in the magazine. Here's a peek at one of my favourites.
Tossing big rubber baits and trolling big cranks for muskies on Lac Seul is a staple in the fall. It's never easy to catch a muskie, but the rewards are huge.
Two nice fish on the same day that couldn't resist big bulldawgs.
My good buddy Graham got it done trolling a 10-inch Jake for this Lac Seul 'lunge.
Although my walleye fishing effort slows down in the fall while I chase muskies, I still do manage to get out a bit. The fish are so chunky this time of year. We even caught one trolling for muskie on a 10" plug. Everything's strapping on the feed-bag in the fall!
Hunting season got off to a good start with ruffed grouse. Numbers are decent this year. Here's my buddy Graham with a limit of mature ruffies.
Our group didn't get an adult moose tag this year. Tag numbers were cut by 87% in our area. We still hunted a few days for a calf but came up empty handed. Finding fresh sign - or much sign at all - was a chore. We looked around at our usual go-to areas and it's pretty evident moose numbers are hurting here. Lets hope for an easier winter than we've had the last 2 years. Less hunting pressure should help as well.
Still some more muskie fishing and deer hunting coming up this fall. I'm pretty sure the next walleye picture you see on here will be when I'm standing on the ice. Not too far off now.
Both last season and this season, August had great muskie fishing. Both years were late ice out years and I think it just took until August for the water temps to stabilize in the 70's and the fish to be more predictable and reliable.
Top-water baits and blades burned over cabbage are the top producers for summertime muskies on Lac Seul. This year I've been exclusively using PDEEZ MUSKIE INLINES - specifically the LSG's and the BIG TENS, and they are flawless. They run true, are well built and straight-up catch fish. The colour combinations available are unreal - take a look at their website.
Big muskies aren't the only Esox game on Lac Seul. Check out this monster 44-inch pike I caught. Biggest of my life. Long and thick.
I don't chase walleye as much late in the season as I do in May and June, but they are still very catchable. Humps, reefs, flats and other structure in main lake basins are where the fish are. They are chasing big pelagic forage like this cisco that a walleye purged in my net. It's no wonder Lac Seul produces big, fat walleye.
Fall is just around the corner in Northwestern Ontario. Lake surface temperatures are are on the decline and there's a smattering of yellow starting to appear in the trees. Hunting season is fast approaching and so is the hunt for monster fall muskies. Lots to look forward to.
Its taken a while, but summer weather is finally here. After an unusually cool and wet June and beginning of July we've finally had some warm weather. The lake surface temperatures are finally sustaining around the 70 degree mark. It has scattered the walleye a bit, with big fish heading shallower than they were a few weeks ago. The good news is that the warmer water has turned the muskies on. Overall fishing has been great for walleye. As always muskie fishing is a lot more work, but the rewards make it worth it.
It's always a treat to watch guys get their first muskie. Paul and Jeff both scored nice fish for their firsts - and both on the figure-8 no less! Two more muskie addicts are born.
Even the guide gets lucky once in a while - this clean fish smoked my PDEEZ LSG Missile bucktail over a cabbage bed in the middle of the afternoon.
On the walleye front it was all about beginners luck for these big fish - here's a couple guys who scored big walleye on their first trip to Lac Seul.
This 30-incher is the biggest walleye to grace my boat in a few years. Jeff Frantz caught it on the first day of his trip.
And here's another thick walleye - a 28 inch fish caught by Clare Fredstrom.
The dog-days of summer are here now. It's time to grind out some more big walleye from main lake basin structure and get after the monster muskies that live in Lac Seul.
Until next time, good fishing to all.
June absolutely few by! It was a strange month weather wise with a lot of wet and cool weather. After heat at the end of May, early June saw the water temperatures plummet back into the 50's. Currently temps have rebounded to low 60's on the main lake and high 60's in the shallow bays.
All this extreme weather has definitely affected the fishing. We're still catching high volumes of fish - 200 walleye days aren't uncommon - but the fish are very scattered. On any given day walleye can be caught in a few feet of water or 30+ feet of water. They are showing up on the main lake basin (Summer spots) but still hanging on in the shallows as well. The mayfly hatch hasn't happened yet and the shallow fish are still gorging on mayfly nymphs. Main lake basin fish are spitting up smelt and ciscos. So there's a lot happening all at once and depending on the conditions of the day the walleye can really be anywhere.
I expect the walleye will begin to show up in great numbers on main lake basin structure very shortly. Summertime walleye fishing is just around the corner.
With the rise in the water temperatures last week it made for prime conditions for shallow water bass fishing. Top-water in fact. What a blast these guys are on top-water baits.
Another fun fish to target this time of year are lake trout. They are moving out to deeper water as well. We got into some nice fish on a windy day last week jigging heavy tube jigs and vibrating blade baits.
Muskie season also arrived and although I haven't had a chance to chase them yet I'm super excited talk about a new product I'm going to be using. PDEEZ Muskie Inlines are the new standard in double bladed tinsel muskie bucktails. They are durable and well made but what sets them apart is the no jam flash (Tinsel won't tangle with hooks) and how easy they pull in the water. They are perfectly balanced and tuned. I got really tired of other double-bladed bucktails who's blades wouldn't engage right away. PDEEZ are the solution. Made in Ontario and built tough for the big muskies we have all over this province. Be sure to look em up and check out some of the awesome color combinations.
The first week of June I fished with a great group of guys staying at Moosehorn Lodge. The weather brought everything from hot sun to cold wind and rain. Water temperatures ranged from 51 on the main lake to 65 in shallow bays. Fishing was excellent with bass, pike and walleye mixed on the same spots. We caught a lot of fish on mainland points in 10-14 feet of water and another bite started up in shallow bays in 6-8 feet. These shallow fish are gorging on may-fly nymphs.
Lindy jigs and minnows did most of the damage and some good fish also came on a variety of crankbaits. This report wouldn't be complete without a shout-out to Dave and his treasured 'pink lady' crankbait.
June is a great month for fishing on Lac Seul. 100-200 walleye days are the norm this time of year.
Check back again soon for another report with more pictures.
This year has to go down as the latest ice out on record. Even today, May 22nd, there's still lots of ice in the central basin of Lac Seul. Here on the SE end, we're iced out. Deception arm opened up on a few days ago, and as of Thursday May 22nd it's clear sailing up to Chamberlain.
On opener I dodged ice on Pelican Lake and ran the falls into Lac Seul. The water on Pelican is as high as I've ever seen it and Lac Seul is also high for this time of year.
Fishing was great with a lot of big walleye landed. It was pre-spawn, with males milting, but the females were holding eggs still. Water temps were only 39 deg.
Lindy Jigs and big minnows worked best and fish were a little deeper than normal for opener. I found that 12-to 20-feet was the best depth. Things are going to warm up this week and that'll bring the fish shallower and they'll wrap up the spawn.
These pictures are from Thursday morning, May 15th.
Two days before opener and the Hudson launch on Lost Lake is still iced in.
Still lots of ice at Big Vermilion too.
At Deception all the snow melted off the road since last saturday and the ice is gone from in front of the launch too. Only a couple hundred yards of open water before deception arm is iced across though. I still wouldn't count on getting anywhere on Lac Seul from Hudson or Deception launch on opening day.
Pelican lake opened up quite a bit today and it looks like you could boat from Frog Rapids under the Iron Bridge now. So even if Lac Seul is a no-go on saturday there's still options closer to town on Pelican, Abram and Sturgeon River.
No need to sugar coat this… it's not looking good. There will be some fishable water around Sioux Lookout on opener but in my opinion, a lot of Lac Seul will be inaccessible.
Here are some pictures from the Deception boat launch, taken today (Saturday May 10), 1 week from opening day.
There's still about 8 - 12 inches of snow covering most of road.
The Deception arm is still locked up tight. The launch itself is covered with sheets of ice 16-inches thick.
I'm having serious doubts about using this launch to access much water on opener. Lost Lake (hudson launch) is going to be the same thing. Last year both lost lake and the deception arm went out the same day. Accessing the north shore (bear narrows) in my opinion, isn't going to happen for opening weekend. I know a lot of stuff on the lake is open right now (Manitou, Chamberlain etc.) because of the current, but getting there will be restricted by ice.
Sadly, the weather doesn't look favourable this week either. Highs in the 40's and lows down to freezing.
I'll get another report up later this week.