The good news is that you can launch at deception and boat around on the south end. The bad news is that Taylor Island to Bear Narrows is still ice. Beyond Bear Narrows is open water. So there's still about 5 miles of ice in the center section. The forecast is kind of cool so my guess is that on opening day (5/21) you could probably break/dodge ice to get to the north shore, but Lac Seul will not be completely ice free on opening day.
This isn't the update I'd like to be making, but this is the reality... Today is May 5th and people are still snowmobiling on area lakes, including Lac Seul. We're 16 days from Opening Day (May 21). Temperatures are on the rise and I suspect snowmobiling will cease any day now, however.....
If you have an opener trip planned, I'd contact your outfitter and make alternate plans. There's going to be some areas of open water on smaller lakes and areas with heavy current, but I have serious doubts about boating very far on Lac Seul. In my opinion, reaching Bear Narrows on opening weekend isn't going to happen. Getting across lost lake or down the Deception arm on opening day is 50/50 at this point.
Hopefully I'm wrong and things change fast. I'll do another update in the week before opener.
I use the word spring very lightly - looking outside it's still very much winter in Northwestern Ontario. We had an unbelievable amount of snow this winter and so far not much has melted.
April is always the 'swing month' when predicting ice out. A warm April will lead to earlier ice out, while a cold April means late ice out. Looking at the long range forecast, I'm beginning to realize that early ice out hopes are fading fast.
BORDER UPDATE - Some good news for US travellers coming to Canada this summer - you will NOT need to provide a negative Covid test to enter Canada. At this time, you still need to provide proof of vaccination in order to cross into Canada.
2022 Bookings - I have availability for walleye trips in May and June. After July 1st I exclusively guide for musky. At this time, I only have TWO musky trips available for the 2022 season. Get in touch soon if you're interested in a Lac Seul fishing trip with me this summer. These availabilities won't last.
Here's a few ice fishing pics to share. Admittedly, I haven't got out on the ice as much this year as I'd like. Fortunately (unfortunately?), there're plenty of winter left!
Happy New Year! I'm going to remain optimistic about the border staying open and continue to take bookings from US clients.
My 2022 schedule has filled up nicely with many returning clients. Thank you to those that have already booked. For those of you considering a trip to Lac Seul in 2022, please get in touch soon. I have dates available during most periods of the season.
Please remember - walleye trips run from opener in May until June 30th. From July 1 on, it's MUSKY ONLY!! I'm the only guide on Lac Seul with this distinction. Dedicating all my efforts to musky fishing puts me in the best position for staying on top of patterns and seasonal movements - resulting in your greatest chance of contacting a fish of a lifetime.
I'm pleased to share the new Logo for Ben Beattie Outdoors. Limited merchandise will be available starting this season.
We're all iced up here on Lac Seul and the 2021 season is a wrap. It was an awesome fall for BIG muskies in my boat. We got to fish later into November this year than most years.
I'm already booking for 2022. I anticipate filling up my schedule before spring. If you've ever wanted to try Lac Seul - get in touch ASAP.
Walleye Trips run from May 21st until June 30th. From July 1 on - it's MUSKY ONLY!
It sure doesn't feel like fall on Lac Seul right now, even though it's October 5th. We've been enjoying summer-like weather lately. This warm spell should guarantee a long fall of fishing this year.
The summer went well on Lac Seul - it was especially great to welcome my American friends/clients back. I had a busy season of guiding and the pictures tell a great story.
In other news, I'm proud to share my new boat... This is the machine that literally drives Ben Beattie Outdoors to success on the water.
A huge thank you to Mascotto's Marine Ltd. here in Sioux Lookout and to Lund Boats for their continued support.
For the next year I'll be running this gorgeous 2022 Impact 2025 XS, powered by a Mercury ProXS 200 hp.
Electronics by Minn Kota and Humminbird.
I look forward to hosting many existing and new clients in this boat during the 2022 season.
Although the remainder of the 2021 season is booked, I'll start filling my 2022 calendar soon. As always I reach out to my repeat clients first, followed by those who have enquired about dates but haven't fished with me before. If you want on the list for possible 2022 dates, please email, call or text me ASAP.
Note - Walleye trips run from 3rd Saturday in May until June 30th. From July 1 on it's musky ONLY!
Stay turned for my fall wrap-up report - it's sure to feature more BIG muskies!
I couldn't be happier to welcome back my US friends and clients starting on August 9th, 2021. The border opening has been much awaited and Ben Beattie Outdoors is ready to get back to normal - fishing with both my US and Canadian clients again.
For anyone interested in a trip this summer (August/Sept/October 2021) - please get in touch with me ASAP. I have about 28 days available in my schedule and I know they won't last long. Visit the CONTACT page here on my website for email and phone/text info.
For American visitors - there are plenty of resources out there to help you understand what is required to travel to Canada. I'm also here to help.
The biggest misconception is that US land borders are closed and American travellers won't be allowed back in to the USA.... this isn't true. The US border is currently closed to Canadians. If you have a US passport you can re-enter the USA at any time.
If you can't make it in 2021, I'll be putting my 2022 schedule together after this season ends, sometime in late 2021. Reach out to me to get your name on the list for a 2022 spot.
As always, here are some fishing pictures to share from earlier this season. As you'll see it's been the summer of my boys! They are both becoming multi-species experts! Spending more time fishing with them has been the silver lining to the border closure.
Spring arrived early in Sioux Lookout this year. We didn't get much snow this winter and for the most part it melted by mid-march. All signs point to an early ice out on Lac Seul. Water levels on all surrounding lakes are low. It's normal for water levels to fluctuate over the course of the year, but things are definitely starting out on the low side. Quading around on Minnitaki the last couple weeks, I've seen rocks poking up through the ice that I've never seen before.
With the predicted early ice out and low water levels it should be the perfect year to scout new areas on Lac Seul. I never stop learning new water to fish, and this is the best time to learn new routes and hazards. My prediction is that I'll be launching my Lund at deception on May 1st this year.
THE BORDER - Nobody in the outfitting/guiding/tourism business is expecting the border to open in time for fishing opener on May 15th. The most frustrating part remains that there's no indication/information on WHEN it will reopen. There has been no plan or framework provided for when and what the border reopening will look like. This makes it difficult to plan for the upcoming season.
I'm prepared to endure another season of no US clients by catering/marketing to Canadian fishermen. But rest assured my US friends/clients, as soon as the border opens I'll be ready!
With the ice season pretty much in the rear view mirror, I'll share a picture of my favourite catch of the season. This Minnitaki Lake lake trout is one I'll remember.
I've been busy this winter writing articles for Ontario OUT OF DOORS magazine. Look for several coming out this spring/summer, including one called Record Breaking Musky Water. Any guesses which 3 Ontario musky fisheries made the list?
Here's a look at a recent piece that I did for Ontario OUT OF DOORS magazine about props.
For the first half of the 2021 season I'll be back in my 2021 Lund ProV 1975. I'll run this boat until sometime in late July/early August when my 2022 Lund arrives. I'm on the fence about which boat to run next... either another 1975 ProV or back to a 2025 Impact like I had in 2020. Both amazing boats!
I'm super proud and honored to represent Lund Boats as a Pro-Staff memeber. Running a Lund boat is a dream come true. As always, a huge shoutout and thank you to both Lund Boats and my local Lund dealer Mascotto's Marine here in Sioux Lookout. Exciting happenings at Mascotto's right now with a huge renovation under way. Be sure to check them out next time you're in Sioux Lookout. For those currently interested in a boat, you better act fast... the market for boats continues to be hot and inventory is moving quickly.
Here's some new gear I'm really excited about trying this summer - the all new 10-foot Chaos 20/20 telescopic Assault Stick with Revolution Reel seat. What a beauty!
If you're still on the fence about telescopic muskie rods - after 2 years of exclusively using them - I can tell you there's zero downside. When in use, you'd never know it's telescopic. At the end of the day, collapse it and it fits easily in rod lockers, trucks, SUV's etc. Major win.
Me and my good friend Paul at PDeez Musky Inlines are going to have a big announcement soon. For the last 6 seasons I've exclusively been using Paul's blades on Lac Seul. They're the best out there, and they keep getting better. A couple season's ago his BELL lineup changed the game and this year's product launch is going to send the muskies into a tailspin. Click the picture below to visit the PDeez website. Send me a message and I'll tell you my top 5 all time favorite Lac Seul colors.
Shoutout to my fellow Ontario OUT OF DOORS writer and local Bass fishing legend Jeff Gustafson. Incase you live on another planet, Jeff won the Bassmaster ELITE event at the Tennessee River Back in February. Jeff is a Kenora guy who grew up fishing Lake of the Woods. It was awesome to watch him hoist that trophy over his head and also to see the unbelievable amount of support from the local and national fishing community. Gussy represents Canada well and we're all super proud of his accomplishments.
Another cool product I'm looking forward to using this season is some new Costa Del Mar sunglasses. Every year I like to try new frames - this year they're DIEGO.
My all-time favourite frame is Reefton, so we'll see how DIEGO compares. These Blue Mirror lenses are perfect for bright sunny days. When it's overcast I use Green Mirror and when it's really low light conditions I use Silver Sunrise Mirror.
The next update should include an on the water fishing report! This should be a great year for chasing ice out lake trout.
2020 will definitely be a season to remember - and not necessarily for the wrong reasons. Yes, the border was closed and none of my US friends/clients could come here, but that opened the door to different things. I fished more with my kids than I ever have - huge win! And I also got to fish with friends and other guides who are normally too busy to get together with. I did manage to book a fair number of Canadian clients as well - some returning and some new. Seems that Lac Seul was generous to a couple new clients who landed the 2 biggest muskies in the Lund this season. The most memorable fish wasn't the biggest one, rather the first muskie for my 8 year old son. The smile in the picture says it all!
The truth is I don't know what to expect for the 2021 season. I'm optimistic that the border will be open, but can't be certain. Having said that, I have opened my schedule to both US and Canadian clients. Get in touch if you're thinking about fishing Lac Seul next summer. Walleye trips run from the 3rd Saturday in May until July 1.... after that it's muskie only!
It wasn't the summer I planned for, but I made the most of it. I got to fish more with friends and family, and I also got to meet some new Canadian clients.
My 2021 Lund ProV 1975 Pro-Staff boat arrived mid July - and what a boat it is! A dream to drive and to fish in. I'm looking forward to the next year in this amazing rig. It will be available for purchase from Mascotto's Marine here in Sioux Lookout, ON sometime during the summer of 2021.
Of course there's been some great fish caught this summer, including a massive 54.5 - inch muskie for one of my first time clients. Talk about a warm Lac Seul welcome for this guy!
Quick product review - the all new Chaos Assault Stick "20/20" muskie rods... to put it simply, they're the best muskie rod I've ever seen or used. They are SO light! I went with 9'6" rods - I love longer rods both for casting ease and improved figure 8's. The entire line-up of these 20/20 rods telescopic, another feature I love. There is zero downside to telescopic rods - anyone who says there is hasn't used one. I actually had a client of mine using a telescopic Chaos rod this summer and the topic of telescopic rods came up and he commented that he'd like to try one sometime.... Ah, you've been fishing with one all day! The strength isn't compromised at all, the balance is fantastic and best of all a 9'6" rod collapses down to 7'11" for easy transportation or storage in a rod locker. Huge advantage! The other thing I love about the Chaos muskie rods is how much longer the butt section is compared to Croix's. Makes casting so much better!
Check em out and order direct from the Chaos Tackle website or in Canada from Lake of the Woods Sports Headquarters in Konora/Winnipeg.
Another new product I started using this season is leaders from Doug Wegner Fishing. They make a full line-up of muskie leaders for trolling and casting made from fluorocarbon, single strand wire or 49 strand wire. Every muskie fishing application is covered and the components are high end and the construction is rock solid. Check em out here.
The thing I really like about the casting leaders is they are shorter than conventional muskie fishing leaders. At 9-inches, they're long enough to serve their main purpose - preventing bite off's - but the shorter length really shines in the figure 8. You'll immediately notice that your bait does't lag behind the tip of your rod in the 8. Cleaner, bigger turns in the 8 will result in more strikes - guaranteed.
As always I'm keeping up with my writing assignments. The real fun is when you get to see your work come to life in a magazine. My muskie column in the August issue of Ontario Out of Doors featured an epic fish and Pic from last season by my friends and clients from the Ugly Pike Podcast. Check them out and check out this whale!
There's still lots of fishing coming up before Lac Seul freezes! I don't anticipate the border opening at all this season so that's going to free up some time in my October schedule for some Canadian muskie fishermen. Hit me up if you're ready to hunt a late season giant with me on Lac Seul!
Ben Beattie is a fishing guide and outdoor writer living in Sioux Lookout, in northwestern Ontario.