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!
Another long overdue entry here on benbeattieoutdoors.com. It's hard to believe the season has been open for a month already. So far this season has been - in a word - busy. But busy is good. And many great days have been had and many nice fish in the boat.
It's been somewhat of a different spring so far. Ice out was normal (not late, not early) but the weather has been anything but normal. Early heat was followed by cold, then hot, then cold etc. Water temps have been going up and down like a yo-yo and the result is scattered fish. On any given day I could (and have) caught walleye in 5-feet of water and 30-feet of water and everywhere in between. They are hard on the mayfly nymphs in the shallows - the big hatch still hasn't happened. I've been checking the humps in the main lake with limited success, but it won't be long until the graph lights up on the bigger basin structure.
Earlier this spring I took advantage of the first spring bear hunt in this area in 17 years. I was fortunate to harvest a color phase (cinnamon) bear with my bow. Big thanks to my buddy Troy Mansfield (Winoga Lodge) for his help and expertise. If you're looking for a bear hunt (Spring or Fall) Troy is the premier outfitter in the area.
I also had the pleasure to fish with Gord Ellis this spring. Gord is a colleague at Ontario OUT OF DOORS magazine as well as a fishing promoter and radio broadcaster with CBC. It was a huge honor to be featured on CBC radio as well as in a video on their website and FaceBook page and in an article on the CBC website. Click here to read the article. The link also contains the video and a link to the radio interview.
My old friend Cory McKiel also used a picture of me in an ad for his optometry business in Thunder Bay. Cory now sells Costa Del Mar sunglasses. Costa is a sponsor of mine so I just happened to have a photo lying around for him to use. Thanks Cory!
The next phase of the season is upon us as spring transitions into summer
In my previous update I predicted May 3rd for ice out on Lac Seul…. I was pretty close. The first day that Lac Seul was completely ice free was May 5th. I know guys on the west end and SE end will say it was a few days earlier, but the last part to go out is always the centre islands between Manitoba Pt and Eagle Island. I was there, and May 5th was the day.
Yes, the water is low on Lac Seul… BUT THAT IS COMPLETELY NORMAL! It's always low at ice out. I've seen it much lower than this in previous years. It will come up, but we need rain badly. It's dry and we are currently under fire ban.
I did some exploring and pike fishing last week. The water was cold, ranging from 43 on the main lake to mid 50's in the back back back of bays. The pike were sluggish, but catchable. Jerkbaits and spoons seemed to work best.
I've been guiding on Lac Seul for 12 years now and this is the fist time I ran across this. Anyone know where this is? If you do, then you've been exploring!
A respectable pike that I caught while fishing with my good buddy Graham. Jerkbaits are hard to beat in cold water.
Opening day of walleye season is this saturday, May 21st. My schedule is booked pretty solid from opener till mid-september. I'll try to get some reports and pictures up when I can. Anyone interested in fall (Sept-Oct) Muskie trips let me know asap!
After cold and snow for the first half of April, it seems winter has finally given up here in Northwestern Ontario. The 2 week forecast looks warm and wet, which is good for melting the ice. It's going to be close to May 1st for ice out, but my guess is May 3rd for complete ice out on Lac Seul.
Walleye season closed on April 15th, but there's still fishable ice (for the time being) and lake trout and whitefish season remains open.
I had my buddy Brandon visit for a couple days and we chased the lakers and whities around.
We could use some rain to bring up the water levels. Here's a picture of pelican falls from a week ago - definitely not runnable with current levels
The upcoming season is going to be busy. If anyone is looking to book a trip please get in touch with me soon. I'll be back working with Moosehorn Lodge - cabins are filling up quick but some great dates remain available. Give me a call or email for details.
I apologize for the lack of updates here lately. The truth is, I didn't do a lot of ice fishing this winter, and when I did I didn't take many pictures.
I did get out last week with my buddy (and fellow Moosehorn Lodge guide) Colin Gosse for a combo day of walleye and lake trout. Colin did the guiding and put us on solid action. Walleye limits by noon, then 14 lakers to cap off a great day on the ice.
One bait that I always have tied on a rod all winter that caught both walleye and lakers is the Lindy Rattlin' Flyer Spoon. You can see it in the lake trout picture above, and that blue/silver is my favorite color.
I also had the pleasure of introducing my oldest son to ice fishing this winter. As expected, he loved the entire experience.
For anyone interested in ice out predictions, here's what going on around here... We had a huge melt last week and lost a lot of our snow. There is a lot less ice than usual for this time of year, too. I measured 18 inches of solid ice the other day. Although we are back in another cold snap, it's not cold enough to make ice, but it's currently not melting either. Once the ice starts to go it should go pretty fast. I have no doubt ice will be gone before May 1 this year.
It's shaping up to be a really busy season this year. If you're thinking about booking a trip get in touch with me ASAP as I have a limited number of days left in May-Aug. September -November muskie hunt dates are filling up too.
Ben Beattie is a fishing guide and outdoor writer living in Sioux Lookout, in northwestern Ontario.