It's almost April, but there aren't many signs of spring in Northwestern Ontario yet. I know some of you watch my website for ice out predictions and right now all I can say is NOT EARLY! The long range forecast isn't favourable for melting ice either. I'm going to set my ice out prediction at May 12th.
It's been a great winter for ice fishing with friends and guests at Winoga Lodge. We've been chasing lake trout pretty hard and have several big catches to show for our efforts. Walleye limits have been coming nicely as well.
Here's a sneak peek at the lead page for an ice fishing article I wrote for Ontario OUT OF DOORS. As always the editorial team does a great job with these articles and Tamas, the art director, makes them look fantastic.
Even though we still have a few weeks of ice fishing left up here I'm already thinking about summer. My schedule is nearly full but I have some walleye trips available in June and a handful of muskie dates later in the season. Shoot me a text, email or give me a call to set something up.
First things first... benbeattieoutdoors is now on Instagram so give me a follow @benbeattieoutdoors
Winter is here to stay in NW Ontario. The lakes are locked up and we've had snow on the ground for over a month. I'm still holding on to my buck tag, and that's the only thing holding me back from completing the transition to ice fishing season.
We're taking bookings for ice fishing trips right now at Winoga Lodge. We've got some great dates available, so get in touch with me to set something up.
I'm excited to be running new electronics on the ice this winter. The Humminbird Helix5 G2 GPS/Sonar combo is going to be a nice addition. Onboard mapping means all the same maps and waypoints from my boat and the ability to choose between flasher mode or regular graph mode (or run both side-by-side) makes this unit stand above the competition.
Another exciting equipment addition for 2018 is a brand new snowmachine. I went with a Ski-doo Expedition Sport 900 ACE. After a lot of research I have no reservations about making the jump to a 4-stroke. The 154x16x1.5 track is going to get me where I need to go through deep snow or slush pockets.
The Humminbird 788 from the bow of my boat is going to be doing double-duty as a mapping/GPS solution on the new sled. Can't wait to have all my waypoints on a heads-up display on my snowmachine.
It's also worth mentioning that my summer 2018 schedule is filling up faster than it ever has. I have some June walleye dates available and only a few opportunities for muskie in late June, July and August remain open. So if you're thinking about booking a trip I'd suggest getting in touch with me asap. Email, call or text - all my info is here on the Contacts page.
I'd also like to remind everyone that I'm exclusively working with Winoga Lodge. Last spring I completely rebuilt the Winoga website - if you haven't already, please check it out at winoga.com to learn more about Winoga and what we offer.
Of course I'm still thinking about muskie fishing even though the season is done. Can't wait to get my hands on these new Ratzillas from Water Wolf Lures. These will go nicely with their Shadzillas to make an unbeatable 1-2 punch for big rubber baits.
Thanks for the continued support of benbeattieoutdoors.com The next update should feature some of the early season ice action from NW Ontario... and if I'm lucky and nice whitetail buck!
What's not to like about fall?? Opening hunting seasons and the biggest Lac Seul muskies. It makes it hard to decide if you should be in the woods or on the water. Such tough decisions!
First things first - I drew my first bull moose tag in 9 years so filling that was a priority. Thanks to my partner at Winoga Lodge, Troy Mansfield, we got it done. It's far from a monster bull, but it was an exciting hunt that ended up filling our freezers with the best meat you can get.
Ontario OUT OF DOORS magazine continues to feature my writing. I'm proud to share the Pike & Muskie column with my buddy JP Bushey. Here's a snapshot of my fall column "Casting Big". This is especially cool for me because of the lead picture with 2 of my best buddies, Graham Coulombe and Mike Battistoni.
I've also got into doing my own European Mounts. My moose is whitening right now and earlier I finished a bear and a wolf. Check it out - it's fun to do and I think they look awesome.
Last but not least - muskie fishing! It's been an awesome fall so far and it's not done yet. November 8th is my last day with clients for the fall giant hunt on Lac Seul. A couple weeks ago I set a new personal record for biggest muskie in my boat. Client Dave Fowler hauled in a super tanker FIFTY FIVE inch giant! What a thrill. I'm reasonably certain I was more excited than Dave was.
Chasing big muskies on Lac Seul is my passion. It's rarely easy, but the rewards are huge.... literally. I'm running a 45" average over the last 2 seasons with close to 25% of fish boated being 50-inches and up.
If you're interested in chasing muskies with me, get in touch. I have a few August dates still available and the fall trophy hunt has some openings as well.
In the meantime, check out some of the catches from this summer.
We're 2 weeks in to the 2017 season and things are running at full speed now. We completed some cabin renovations on Winoga Island prior to opening day, and we continue to finish the inside of the new main lodge.
The cabins are all full of fisherman and bear hunters now. The season is off to a great start with good action on walleye and bears. A real highlight for me this season was fishing on opening day with my wife and our 2 boys. Our little guy just turned 3 and he caught his first 'unassisted' walleye.
In case you missed it, the brand new Winoga Lodge website is now up and running. Have a look, www.winoga.com Check back often as we add new content to the site. You can also follow us on Twitter @WinogaLodge
It's 2 weeks until muskie season opens in NW Ontario and I am counting down the days. I'm sharpening hooks and waiting for my new order of PDeez bucktails to arrive.
Here's a product review of some new Costa Del Mar sunglasses I've been wearing this spring. The "Bloke" frame with blue lenses are prefect for sunny days, while the "Permit" frame with green lenses are ideal for lower light conditions. Both lens's are Costa's 580 Glass and offer the industries best clarity and polarization. I spend so many hours on the water and these products protect my eyes and eliminate eye strain and fatigue.
Spring has arrived in Northwestern Ontario - a little bit earlier this year too. My ice out prediction of on-or-before May 1 is going be pretty accurate. Here's a look at the Deception boat launch on April 16th.
Yes, the water looks low. That's completely normal for this time of year. It will come up. It always does.
As soon as the ice is gone and we can get to Winoga Island, Troy and I will be over there daily getting ready for the upcoming season. We'll be finishing the inside of the new main lodge and doing some other tweaks and repairs to other cabins. One thing is for sure - we'll be ready to rock by opener!
I'd like to thank all of you for continuing to support benbeattieoutdoors.com. This website gets over 10,000 page views per month. Thanks for checking in and following my outdoor adventures. For those of you on Twitter, please give Winoga Lodge a follow @WinogaLodge for more pics, updates and snippets of life in the outfitting business.
We finished strong on the ice this season at Winoga! Our last group of the year put over 100 lake trout on the ice in the final 2 days of fishing. Talk about an awesome way to end it! Here's a handful of pics from our last few groups.
In case you missed it - I'm no longer with Moosehorn Lodge. Read the post below for full details on my move to Winoga Lodge. I have some holes to fill in my guide schedule - but not many - so get in touch soon if you're interested in a trip.
I'm happy to announce that I have taken a new position with Winoga Lodge in Sioux Lookout. I have joined the Winoga family as co-manager and guide. This change takes effect immediately. All of my guiding will now take place through Winoga Lodge.
Winoga is Located on Abram Lake, minutes from Sioux Lookout. We offer housekeeping cabins, fully guided fishing adventures on the area lakes, fly-in outpost camps, and bear and moose hunts.
For more information about Winoga please visit www.winoga.com - please note that a complete overhaul to the Winoga website is coming soon.
I would also like to thank the Moosehorn Lodge owners, staff and guests for 8 great seasons.
Fall is the best time of the year in Northwestern Ontario. If I'm not hunting big muskies I'm after big game - moose and deer. A friend and I had an archery Bull Moose tag this year and we hunted hard at the end of September. We saw several moose and had a couple close encounters with bulls, including one coming to 54 yards. No shot was attempted and that was as close as we got to filling our tag.
Muskie fishing is still going strong. I'll be on the lake until Mid-November chasing monster fall muskies on Lac Seul. Until then, here's some pics of recent catches.
The magnum shadzilla has been the bait of choice lately. On my last trip the 'zilla' caught all 7 muskies!
Earlier in August was a hot time on Lac Seul for muskies. In 7 days we put 13 in the boat with 6 going 50 + inches. PDeez bucktails, top water and big plastics did the damage. I was introduced to the Magnum Shadzilla by Water Wolf Lures and watched it get crushed by a 50 and a 53.5 on the SAME DAY. Talk about a game changer! Here's a look at my new favourite bait. If you haven't used one or don't have one - do yourself a favour and order a bunch now. They're a straight up fish catcher.
Now check out the highlight reel of muskie pictures in this slide show. If this doesn't make you want to start casting, nothing will!
Another long overdue report here…. what can I say, its been such a busy season. So far, so good with lots of great guests and lots of great fish in the boat. Muskies are in full swing and walleye are all over classic summer structure in the main lake basin.
Ive had some articles come out in Ontario OUT OF DOORS magazine - so be sure to check those out.
I'm just going to let the pictures do the talking. Enjoy!
Ben Beattie is a fishing guide and outdoor writer living in Sioux Lookout, in northwestern Ontario.