We're under a blanket of snow here in Northwestern Ontario, so it's safe to say fall is over and winter is here to stay. The smaller lakes are iced over and it won't be long until the larger lakes are locked up too. The boat is put away for another year and for the most part, my hunting season is over as well. Time to unwrap the snowmachine and get it going for another winter.
As always, fall goes by way too quickly. We got the hunting season underway back in early October with our annual moose hunt. We saw some cows and calves but never did find a bull, so our tag went unused this year. That's the nature of the game. Still, it was a great time on Lac Seul with friends and family.
We managed some ruffed grouse, although numbers were down this year, and I was able to share part of that experience with my son.
In late October I shifted focus to muskie fishing on Lac Seul. It's never an easy game and we put in long hours for the fish caught. No monsters this year but some nice fish for the guests in my boat.
Here's a great shot to wrap up the 2013 open water season. It was taken by my friend Suzie Hughdie of a Lac Seul sunset at the end of a day of trolling. We'll get you a muskie next year, Suzie!
November is whitetail deer time. I got busy filling up some doe tags while waiting for a buck that I wanted to put my tag on.
I was hunting on my birthday when this buck came running into a doe bleat. With the excitement of that experience, I didn't hesitate to shoot.
That's a wrap on another great fall in Northwestern Ontario.
Check out the link below (click the picture) to read an article by Ontario OUT OF DOORS travel editor James Smedley about his trip with OOD fishing editor Gord Ellis to Sioux Lookout to fish with me.
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!
Its been a great fall in Northwestern Ontario. I spent a lot of time chasing muskies on Lac Seul but also visited Eagle Lake and Lake of the Woods. We are so lucky here in NW Ontario to have three world-class muskie destinations within a few hours from each other. Read more about my muskie adventures next fall in Ontario OUT OF DOORS magazine.
Overall the fishing was pretty good. I had my share of fish-less days - but the days where you catch one or two makes up for that in a hurry. I broke my personal best twice this fall - both on the same lucky 10" Jake.
Trolling dominated for big fish once the water cooled down to the low 50's and into the 40's. I rigged my boat out with Salty Down-East rod holders, mounted on Bert's Custom Tackle bracket and track. My new Thorne Bros custom trolling rod turned out to be a big fish magnet!!
I definitely had luck on my side, or maybe it was just that white Jake that did it all, but I got my share of nice fish. Here's a few shots of some fall-time muskies.
This next fish I caught while out with Ontario OUT OF DOORS writer and photographer Tim Allard. Tim was up for a muskie photo shoot for the magazine and this big girl decided she wanted to be a star! You'll have to wait for next fall to see more pics in Ontario OUT OF DOORS. Thanks to Tim for coming up and capturing some incredible shots!
This next fish stands as my personal best muskie to date at 53". It was the only fish of the day and it came on the last run of the day... I was literally 100-yards from pulling the chute and heading home. I guess the old saying is true - 'It ain't over 'til it's over'.
I had the chance to fish Lake of the Woods with Ryan Marlowe, owner of Figure 8 Baits in Kenora. Figure 8 Baits is the premier muskie shop in Canada.
We battled some rough weather with high winds, cold, rain and snow - but got 5 muskies to the boat. Here's a couple of the better fish.
Ryan with a nice fish that slammed his lure seconds after he popped it free from a snag.
With temperatures remaining below freezing and a few inches of snow on the ground its time to call and end to the 2011 muskie season. Time to start the count down to June 16th 2012!
Shifting gears to another favourite fall past time - Hunting - makes putting away the muskie rods a little easier. After a moose-less moose hunt in October I was really hoping to get a deer for the freezer.
I was more than happy to see this nice buck walk out the other morning. 50-yard shot and he dropped where he was standing.
Looking ahead I see -18C in the forecast and that means one thing.... ICE FISHING is coming soon! I already fired up the snowmobile and I just got my Lindy order in the mail so I'm all set for another season on the ice. Darters, Slick Jigs, Rattlin' Flyer Spoons and much more - check out their awesome selection of ice fishing tackle on their web site www.lindyfishingtackle.com
You can also hear my audio fishing reports for the upcoming ice fishing season on the Lindy National Audio Fishing Reports page. Look for the first report sometime in early-mid December.
See you on the ice!
Ben Beattie is a fishing guide and outdoor writer living in Sioux Lookout, in northwestern Ontario.