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.
There's no doubt in my mind that fall is the best time of the year. There is so much to do in the outdoors, with open hunting seasons and the years best chance to catch a giant muskie.
October got off to a tough start with muskie, however. My good buddy Mike Owen and I chased dragons for a few days and despite some close calls we came up empty handed. Water temps were in the low 50's and I always find that time of the fall to be challenging.
The Rice brothers from Barrie arrived just in time to see the water temps cross into the 40's. We were facing an awful looking longterm forecast with rain, snow, cold and wind coming our way. We caught a window on the first afternoon and put 2 muskie in the Beckman.
The same bait, a 12" white Big Game, got crushed again an hour later and both the Rice brothers were on the board.
The weather turned nasty and those were the only muskie we caught. We did get some nice pike, including this monster for Jim.
Next up was our annual moose hunt on Lac Seul. I figured it would be a good year after I got a limit of ruffed grouse on the way into camp.
Some years you really work for a moose, and some years it happens fast. This year was the fastest I've ever seen our bull tag get filled. Cory drew our groups tag and fittingly he filled it - about 2 hours into the first afternoon! Great bull!!
There's still more muskie fishing to come and deer hunting to look forward to in November.
Here's some more exciting news - another awesome muskie cover shot. This time it's Hooked magazine. Thanks to Mike Owen for snapping this awesome picture and to Steven at Hooked for putting it on the cover. I'm honoured!
Fall is my favourite time of the year. What's not to love about big muskies, fat walleye and open hunting seasons? There's so much to do on the water and afield that it sure makes the weeks go by quickly.
Lately I've been putting in time on Lac Seul chasing muskies. Casting with big rubber baits and trolling plugs has been getting fish into the Beckman net. I'll get some pictures going, starting it out with a good one! This is the biggest muskie I've ever caught - 52.5". It hit a 10" jake while trolling just after sunset. My good friend Mike Owen was with me and got some great photos - thanks Mike!
This fish ate a Bulldog on the first spot of the morning. Great fight from this chunky 49-incher!
Had the pleasure of fishing with George Clark, from Thunder Bay, for a few days on Lac Seul. George boated this nice muskie trolling a Jake.
Here's a big Lac Seul walleye I guided a few weeks back at Silver Water Wheel Lodge. Check out that girth!
It was also my pleasure to host James Smedley and Gord Ellis from Ontario OUT OF DOORS magazine for some fishing on the lakes around Sioux Lookout. We caught some lake trout and walleye and chased muskies as well. Here's a shot of Gord and James doing their thing. For more on this trip you'll have to wait to read about it in Ontario OUT OF DOORS.
Another great thing about fall is the hunting opportunities. Here's a shot of my friend Graham with a nice Ruffed Grouse from last week.
Stay tuned for Fall Part 2 coming up soon with more muskies and a moose hunt.
Ben Beattie is a fishing guide and outdoor writer living in Sioux Lookout, in northwestern Ontario.