Long overdue update here folks, sorry about that. It's hard to believe another season on the water has come to an end. It's snowing in Sioux Lookout today and the mercury is well below freezing. Won't be long till ice fishing season is here!
It was a great year on Lac Seul for me and my guests. My muskie obsession only grew bigger with a record setting year for numbers of fish boated. Thanks to everyone who fished with me in 2018.
Here's a sample of some of the pics from late summer and fall.
Also had the pleasure of hosting famed muskie angler and TV personality Pete Maina back in September. Pete was filming with Sunset Country Tourism and made a stop at Winoga Lodge to fish Lac Seul with myself and Troy. We had a great 'trip' and I'll be sure to share the video once it's released. Here's a snapshot of Pete and I with one of the fish we boated.
It's always cool to see my writing come to life in the pages of Ontario Out of Doors magazine. It's even better when friends are featured on the cover and in the pages of my article. Check out these shots from the Fall 2018 issue.
2019 is already shaping up to be a busy season. Dates are filling up fast, so get in touch with me ASAP if you're interested in a trip. Ice fishing packages are also available for this winter. Check out www.Winoga.com for more info.
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.
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.
Summer is flying by here in northwestern Ontario. Its been a wild ride weather wise - right now we're in the middle of a heatwave, but just 10 days ago we were battling high wind, rain and cool temps. One day the high didn't even reach 60F.
Despite the wild weather, the fishing has remained good. Of course some days are better than others, but that's fishing. Summertime walleye spots like humps, prominent points and deep flats produce steady action. The best depths can range from 15-30 feet, depending on the day. One thing I've noticed is that the stronger the wind, the shallower the big walleye will position themselves on structure.
It's hard to beat jigging with live bait for catching walleye. I use Lindy Jigs and my top colors are glow, chartreuse, pink, orange and red. There's something about feeling the classic 'walleye tap' then setting the hook that I'll never get tired of.
Targeting pike is a great way to spend an afternoon on Lac Seul. There's a lot more action than muskie fishing and we run into some great pike out here.
The muskie chase is never easy, but as I say it's a lot of work for a lot of reward.
I caught these 2 muskies on the same night on my new favorite color PDeez bucktail - Italian Stallion. Click the link to visit the website and check out that hot color.
This next fish was an awesome boat side top-water strike for my guest Mark. Good times!
Check out the lead page for my latest Ontario OUT OF DOORS feature article. All the photos in this article are by my friend Suzie Hughdie, who did a great job. The article is about jigging for summertime lake trout. It's a great way to catch lakers in the summer without the hassle or cost of downriggers.
Just this past week we put this technique to the test. Here's my guest Mike with a nice summertime laker.
There's still plenty of summer left, but fall - the best time of the year - is within sight. Stay tuned!
Both last season and this season, August had great muskie fishing. Both years were late ice out years and I think it just took until August for the water temps to stabilize in the 70's and the fish to be more predictable and reliable.
Top-water baits and blades burned over cabbage are the top producers for summertime muskies on Lac Seul. This year I've been exclusively using PDEEZ MUSKIE INLINES - specifically the LSG's and the BIG TENS, and they are flawless. They run true, are well built and straight-up catch fish. The colour combinations available are unreal - take a look at their website.
Big muskies aren't the only Esox game on Lac Seul. Check out this monster 44-inch pike I caught. Biggest of my life. Long and thick.
I don't chase walleye as much late in the season as I do in May and June, but they are still very catchable. Humps, reefs, flats and other structure in main lake basins are where the fish are. They are chasing big pelagic forage like this cisco that a walleye purged in my net. It's no wonder Lac Seul produces big, fat walleye.
Fall is just around the corner in Northwestern Ontario. Lake surface temperatures are are on the decline and there's a smattering of yellow starting to appear in the trees. Hunting season is fast approaching and so is the hunt for monster fall muskies. Lots to look forward to.
Its taken a while, but summer weather is finally here. After an unusually cool and wet June and beginning of July we've finally had some warm weather. The lake surface temperatures are finally sustaining around the 70 degree mark. It has scattered the walleye a bit, with big fish heading shallower than they were a few weeks ago. The good news is that the warmer water has turned the muskies on. Overall fishing has been great for walleye. As always muskie fishing is a lot more work, but the rewards make it worth it.
It's always a treat to watch guys get their first muskie. Paul and Jeff both scored nice fish for their firsts - and both on the figure-8 no less! Two more muskie addicts are born.
Even the guide gets lucky once in a while - this clean fish smoked my PDEEZ LSG Missile bucktail over a cabbage bed in the middle of the afternoon.
On the walleye front it was all about beginners luck for these big fish - here's a couple guys who scored big walleye on their first trip to Lac Seul.
This 30-incher is the biggest walleye to grace my boat in a few years. Jeff Frantz caught it on the first day of his trip.
And here's another thick walleye - a 28 inch fish caught by Clare Fredstrom.
The dog-days of summer are here now. It's time to grind out some more big walleye from main lake basin structure and get after the monster muskies that live in Lac Seul.
Until next time, good fishing to all.
June absolutely few by! It was a strange month weather wise with a lot of wet and cool weather. After heat at the end of May, early June saw the water temperatures plummet back into the 50's. Currently temps have rebounded to low 60's on the main lake and high 60's in the shallow bays.
All this extreme weather has definitely affected the fishing. We're still catching high volumes of fish - 200 walleye days aren't uncommon - but the fish are very scattered. On any given day walleye can be caught in a few feet of water or 30+ feet of water. They are showing up on the main lake basin (Summer spots) but still hanging on in the shallows as well. The mayfly hatch hasn't happened yet and the shallow fish are still gorging on mayfly nymphs. Main lake basin fish are spitting up smelt and ciscos. So there's a lot happening all at once and depending on the conditions of the day the walleye can really be anywhere.
I expect the walleye will begin to show up in great numbers on main lake basin structure very shortly. Summertime walleye fishing is just around the corner.
With the rise in the water temperatures last week it made for prime conditions for shallow water bass fishing. Top-water in fact. What a blast these guys are on top-water baits.
Another fun fish to target this time of year are lake trout. They are moving out to deeper water as well. We got into some nice fish on a windy day last week jigging heavy tube jigs and vibrating blade baits.
Muskie season also arrived and although I haven't had a chance to chase them yet I'm super excited talk about a new product I'm going to be using. PDEEZ Muskie Inlines are the new standard in double bladed tinsel muskie bucktails. They are durable and well made but what sets them apart is the no jam flash (Tinsel won't tangle with hooks) and how easy they pull in the water. They are perfectly balanced and tuned. I got really tired of other double-bladed bucktails who's blades wouldn't engage right away. PDEEZ are the solution. Made in Ontario and built tough for the big muskies we have all over this province. Be sure to look em up and check out some of the awesome color combinations.
This year has to go down as the latest ice out on record. Even today, May 22nd, there's still lots of ice in the central basin of Lac Seul. Here on the SE end, we're iced out. Deception arm opened up on a few days ago, and as of Thursday May 22nd it's clear sailing up to Chamberlain.
On opener I dodged ice on Pelican Lake and ran the falls into Lac Seul. The water on Pelican is as high as I've ever seen it and Lac Seul is also high for this time of year.
Fishing was great with a lot of big walleye landed. It was pre-spawn, with males milting, but the females were holding eggs still. Water temps were only 39 deg.
Lindy Jigs and big minnows worked best and fish were a little deeper than normal for opener. I found that 12-to 20-feet was the best depth. Things are going to warm up this week and that'll bring the fish shallower and they'll wrap up the spawn.
These pictures are from Thursday morning, May 15th.
Two days before opener and the Hudson launch on Lost Lake is still iced in.
Still lots of ice at Big Vermilion too.
At Deception all the snow melted off the road since last saturday and the ice is gone from in front of the launch too. Only a couple hundred yards of open water before deception arm is iced across though. I still wouldn't count on getting anywhere on Lac Seul from Hudson or Deception launch on opening day.
Pelican lake opened up quite a bit today and it looks like you could boat from Frog Rapids under the Iron Bridge now. So even if Lac Seul is a no-go on saturday there's still options closer to town on Pelican, Abram and Sturgeon River.
Its been a slow transition from winter to spring this year. The lakes are slowly opening up but with opener just around the corner it's going to be close. The current areas around Sioux Lookout and on the southeast end of Lac Seul will be open, but I wouldn't put money on being able to get to Bear Narrows on opening weekend.
Stay tuned for more ice updates as opener approaches.
Pick up a copy of the May issue of Ontario OUT OF DOORS. I've got an article about early season walleye fishing with jigs and Lindy Rigs.
Another good one is the 2014 In-Fisherman Pike and Muskie Guide. My buddy Jeff Gustafson from Kenora who is a top guide, tournament angler and writer, has an article in there on Canadian Shield pike fishing. Jeff interviewed me for the article and they ran a big picture on first page. Here's a sneak peak.
After seeing articles like these hit the shelves open water can't come soon enough.
Ben Beattie is a fishing guide and outdoor writer living in Sioux Lookout, in northwestern Ontario.