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.
'Tis the season for ice fishing!! With hunting season behind us, that means it's time for hardcore ice fishing action until spring. Winter is one of the seasons I look forward to the most. Big walleye, lake trout, pike and more are going to be hitting the ice this winter.
I got my snowmachine running in time for some early ice action. The maiden voyage was a trip to Lac Seul on a solid 8-10 inches of ice. It wasn't long before walleye started biting.
This nice walleye couldn't resist a Lindy Darter in 31 feet of water.
The Darter is one of my go-to baits for all species through the ice
My good buddy Colin was sitting a little deeper and landed a handful of walleye between 18- to- 23 inches, including this chunky fish.
It's shaping up to be another great year on the ice here in Northwestern Ontario.
In case you missed it, check out my new ice fishing video. This action packed highlight reel was put together with footage from last winter on the ice.
Some people can't wait for winter to be over.... I say bring on the snow and ice!
I'm really happy with how my 2013 Ice Fishing video turned out. I put it together using footage I shot last winter. It's pretty action packed and if this doesn't get you pumped up to hit the ice, nothing will! Check it out!
Remember my Ontario OUT OF DOORS cover shot with the muskie from this past fall?
For those of you who didn't get to read the article that I wrote, here's your chance. It's about fall muskie fishing on Lake of the Woods, Eagle Lake and Lac Seul.
Just click the link below to view a .pdf version.
And last but not least, I filled my buck tag with a nice 6-point buck. It's not the biggest deer I've ever shot but it was - by far - the most adrenalin filled hunt I've been a part of.
I was walking through a clearing and as I neared the back, I jumped 2 bucks. They ran up a ridge at the back of the clearing and I quickly hit my doe bleat. One buck kept running but the other stopped on the ridge and looked back at me, and I took him at about 125 yards. It happened so fast, what a rush! I'd only been hunting for 10 minutes.
I got some awesome pictures thanks to my friend Suzie who is a great photographer.
Hunting deer, or anything for that matter, really reminds me of muskie fishing... the thrill of the chase, the rush you get, and memories that will last a lifetime. I'm already looking forward to next fall.
Currently, the ice is building on the lakes here in Northwestern Ontario and it won't be long until we're out in full force drilling holes and catching big fish. Stay tuned for some ice fishing reports because it's going to be another great winter on the lakes!
My spring fishing update is a bit overdue as things have been really busy around here since getting back from turkey hunting. My guiding work is in full swing and the days are flying by.
Overall fishing has been excellent, despite the non-typical weather patterns we've had this year. The ice went out really early and since then we've had everything from seasonal weather to the extremes of heat and cold. It snowed in Sioux Lookout on May 29th and now less than a week later it feels like summer.
If I could generalize the effect on the fishing, I would say the fish are more scattered than usual. Recently, I've caught walleye as deep as 34-feet and as shallow as 4-feet, and everywhere in between. Everyday is different and most patterns don't last very long.
Despite this, the catching has been very good. Most of my walleye are being caught out of 15-feet of water, give or take. The bigger fish, however, seem to be in 15-plus feet. Another pattern that is producing is the may-fly larva pattern. During sunny afternoons when the shallow water heats up, the walleye move into shallow bays to gorge on may-fly larva. It's one of my favourite patterns of the year - catching lots of walleye, and big ones too, out of 4-8 feet-of-water.
Here's one of my guests, Bob, with a typical Lac-Seul over slot walleye.
Bob and Mike toughed it out through some of the worst conditions - cold, wet and wind - but we caught a lot of fish!
Not long after they left, the weather got warm (sorry guys!) and the fish kept biting. Here's a nice one that I caught out of 18-feet on a Lindy jig tipped with a minnow.
The pike fishing has been kind of hit-or-miss lately but I have to show off this P-I-G I caught earlier in the season.
I also had a chance to spend 3 days in my boat with my good buddy Mike Battistoni hunting for big lakers on Minnitaki Lake. Minnitaki is known for trophy lake trout, but it's not a 'numbers' lake by any means. We were hoping for a couple of big-bigs but it didn't happen on this trip. The laker bite was tough and we only boated 1 fish. We covered a lot of water trolling with planer boards, dipsey divers and long-lines. We also jigged deeper areas but couldn't get on a big laker.
Here's Mike with our one-and-only lake trout.
Since I didn't get to 'scratch my lake trout itch' I hit up Big Vermilion for some jig fishing recently. The action was much better and we boated a lot of lakers jigging with white tube jigs. We caught fish from 35-feet down to 70-feet. Here's one of the better fish from the day.
Since I got home from turkey hunting I put together this video. Check it out - I think it turned out pretty well.
Coming up - a lot more fishing! I'm really looking forward to muskie opener on June 16th.
Also, the Johnson Outdoors santa arrived and I can't wait to rig my boat up with a Minn Kota Terrova with I-Pilot and Humminbird 898CX Side Imaging combo, plus a 788 HD combo on the bow.
It's hard to believe, but we're already at the mid-way point of the 2012 ice fishing season. Normally mid-winter is the toughest bite of the ice season but we're still going strong with a lot of great days on the ice and big fish being caught. We've been having a relatively mild winter so maybe that has something to do with it. I wouldn't mind another deep-freeze though... we need to build more ice so we can fish into early April.
I'm going to start off this report on a bit of a sidetrack with some news and housekeeping from benbeattieoutdoors.com. First, you'll notice a new page on bbo.com - Videos. I really enjoy putting together videos of my adventures, so look for the Videos page to grow with content. In fact, I just made a new video of an exciting musky catch from 2 seasons ago while fishing with some good friends. Here it is!
Some other exciting news to share - I'm presenting a seminar on musky fishing at the Central Canada Outdoor Show in Thunder Bay. The show is at the Sports Dome and my talk is on Saturday Feb. 25th at 12pm. If you are in the area come on out to the show and lets talk muskies!
Alright, back to ice fishing. It's hard to beat the multi-species action we have at our doorstep here in northwestern Ontario. Who could argue with catching walleye, lake trout, whitefish and pike from the same hole?
Lake trout are my favourite fish to chase in the winter. They get big and fight hard, giving the best chance for some serious reel-peel on the ice. I have the same philosophy with lake trout that I have with muskie - target big fish! It often means catching less fish, but when you do get one it's well worth the effort. I'll start off with a few pictures of some really beautiful lakers.
Here's my buddy Mike with a beauty that hammered a jigging spoon and gave him an awesome fight.
This next fish crushed a Lindy Darter, 5-minutes after I dropped it down the hole.
Another philosophy from muskie fishing that I share with lake trout is the importance of catch-and-release. I let all my big lake trout go. There's nothing wrong with keeping a trout for the table, but I much prefer smaller fish for eating. Three-to-four pounders make great table fare.
Walleye fishing has also been excellent this winter with lots of action and some big fish in the mix as well. Here's a couple nice walleye from recent trips. Both fish hit a Lindy Rattlin' Flyer Spoon tipped with a minnow. That spoon has been my hottest bait this winter, catching every species under the ice.
While I don't often target pike during the winter until last ice, it's common to catch them while fishing for other species. Here's a trophy I landed while jigging for walleye.
One of the most underrated species we have here in northwestern Ontario is the whitefish. They are super fun to catch and when you land on a school of them the action can be non-stop. We do get incidental catches while chasing walleye and lake trout, but we also target whitefish too. Here's a few big hump-back monsters from recent trips. Notice the difference in colours between the first two that were caught on different lakes.
Believe it or not, but these big whitefish are smelt eating machines!
I also had the opportunity to fish at Brown's Clearwater West Lodge near Attikokan, Ontario with Ontario OUT OF DOORS travel editor, James Smedley. We had a great trip, exploring new water on Clearwater Lake, White Otter Lake and Grey Trout Lake. These waters are known for producing BIG lake trout, including the current ice fishing world record. James and I landed some really nice trout - no giants - but that's reason enough to go back again.
Here's a shot that James snapped of me with a nice Clearwater Lake trout.
James is an award winning photographer and outdoor writer from Wawa, Ontario. For more information check out his website www.jamessmedleyoutdoors.com
Here's James with a nice trout that he caught on the first day of our trip.
Another cool thing we got to check out on this trip was White Otter Castle. Hand crafted by Jimmy McQuat on White Otter Lake in the early 1900's, the Castle tells a story of one man's triumph and tragedy in the rugged Ontario wilderness. Read more about it here.
This is a picture of the Castle today, after restoration.
Coming up, there's still a lot more winter to enjoy here in northwestern Ontario. Believe it or not, the best ice fishing is yet to come! March offers the best action of the year and usually the nicest conditions too. Get in touch with me to book an ice fishing trip you'll never forget.
Until next time, good fishing.
Winter always comes quick here in NW Ontario. It seems like yesterday I was cranking in muskies on Lac Seul, and now it's -20C and the lakes are frozen over. It's a welcomed change though. One thing I really love about NW Ontario is having 4 distinct seasons - each bringing with it exciting opportunities out of doors.
My frist ice fishing trip was November 26th, chasing brook trout. We fished on 4" of solid ice and 2 of us managed limits of 13-to-18 inch brookies. Such pretty fish... and delicious too!
There's a lot I'm looking forward to this winter on the ice. My number one favourite species to target is lake trout. There's nothing like watching a thick red band on your flasher as it closes in on your bait... the anticipation and the unmistakable thump of a solid hit followed by some serious reel-peel!! January 1st can't come soon enough. In the meantime, there's brook trout, splake, walleye and pike to keep us busy. The auger is gassed up and the snowmobile is ready to go.
Check out this video I made highlighting some of the amazing ice fishing we have here. All of the footage and photos were from last season and all within 30-minutes of Sioux Lookout.
If that doesn't get you pumped up to hit the ice, I don't know what will!!
Also be sure to check out the Novmeber/December issue of Ontario OUT OF DOORS magazine. It's loaded with great content, including a feature article I wrote called 'Size Small' - A downsized approach for icing winter walleye. To view the article, download the .pdf here.
Keep up-to-date with all my ice fishing reports by visiting the Lindy National Audio Fishing Reports page. Click on the National Audio Fishing Reports logo on the top of the Lindy page, then click on Ontario on the map, and then click my name/picture. An up-to-date audio report that I recorded will play, giving you the details on what's happening on the ice.
Be sure to check back soon for more early ice action here in NW Ontario.
Cheers and good fishing!
Ben Beattie is a fishing guide and outdoor writer living in Sioux Lookout, in northwestern Ontario.