Wow, time flies. It's hard to believe its been over a month since my last update. Since then there's been a lot of days spent on the lake and a lot of fish in the boat. All that translates to many happy guests at Moosehorn Lodge.
Overall fishing has been good this summer, with high numbers of walleye hitting the net. This time of year, walleye are scattered on main lake basin structure like humps, reefs, flats and islands with deep water access. 100-plus fish days are the norm. Jigging Lindy Jigs tipped with minnows is all it takes to catch fish.
Here's a typical Lac Seul over-slot summertime walleye.
Corey from Wisconsin with another nice 'eye.
Here's a walleye with a big appetite - That's a 10" muskie bait in its mouth!
Speaking of muskie - these big predators have also been making regular appearances in the Beckman net.
Here's Kevin from Thunder Bay with his first muskie ever, caught on a top-water bait.
This feisty muskie crushed a topwater bait at the side of the boat. Always a thrill!
Bruce, from Minnesota, got this nice muskie on the first spot of the morning. Everyone in the boat got to see it eat a spinnerbait about 30-feet out.
Lac Seul muskie love topwater baits... here's another boat side topwater fish caught on a Psycho Sister.
Here's a beautiful muskie I caught trolling recently. It hammered a Legend Perch bait 25-feet behind the boat.
Check out those teeth on the release shot!
I had a great time with Rocco and Amy from Illinois. Check out these awesome pike they caught last week. It was Amy's first fishing trip to Canada but that didn't stop her from catching the big fish of the trip. Great pike Amy!
I'm happy to announce a partnership with 50 Inch Apparel. Check them out online at www.fiftyinchcrew.com They make some awesome muskie themed clothing.
In other news, I'm happy to share this photo from a project I called 'pimp my ride'. My boat got a serious upgrade thanks to Humminbird and Minn Kota.
That's an 80-lb Minn Kota Terrova complete with iPilot and a Humminbird 788 ci HD combo. Fish beware!
Stay tuned for more muskie and walleye fishing as we get closer to fall. I know August will go by as fast as July did.
Summer is here in a big way in northwestern Ontario. The recent weather has been hot and so has the fishing. Water temps are way up, with mid 70's on the main lake today. The mayfly hatches are done and the walleye have been on the move. 100+ walleye days are still the norm - its really been an excellent year.
Over the last week or so walleye have moved en masse to structure in the main lake basin. Traditional summer patterns are working very well. Over the last 2 days I've caught 300 walleye all from 28-34 feet-of-water. Lindy jigs tipped with minnows have been catching all the fish. Hot colors are glow, chartreuse, orange and white.
Here's a shot of one of my guests, Lucas, with a nice walleye that won him the 'biggest fish of the trip' prize.
Here's another nice humpback Lac Seul walleye from an overcast day. Even the guide gets lucky sometimes :)
The Bruley party had a blast fishing with me at Moosehorn Lodge. They timed their trip just right for some awesome top-water smallie action.
June 16th was a special day in these parts - muskie opener! I had a chance to chase these monsters with Nick and Rocco, a couple muskie obsessed guys from Chicago. Last year Rocco set the bar pretty high with a 53.5" giant! This year, however, it was Nick's turn. Nick boated 3 nice muskies, all caught on bucktails. On average we saw about 6-7 fish a day.
Here's a sight I've been waiting a long time to see - a muskie in the Beckman Net!
Let 'em go, let 'em grow!
Coming up soon - more muskie, walleye, pike and lakers. Check out weekly audio reports at the Lindy website.
My spring fishing update is a bit overdue as things have been really busy around here since getting back from turkey hunting. My guiding work is in full swing and the days are flying by.
Overall fishing has been excellent, despite the non-typical weather patterns we've had this year. The ice went out really early and since then we've had everything from seasonal weather to the extremes of heat and cold. It snowed in Sioux Lookout on May 29th and now less than a week later it feels like summer.
If I could generalize the effect on the fishing, I would say the fish are more scattered than usual. Recently, I've caught walleye as deep as 34-feet and as shallow as 4-feet, and everywhere in between. Everyday is different and most patterns don't last very long.
Despite this, the catching has been very good. Most of my walleye are being caught out of 15-feet of water, give or take. The bigger fish, however, seem to be in 15-plus feet. Another pattern that is producing is the may-fly larva pattern. During sunny afternoons when the shallow water heats up, the walleye move into shallow bays to gorge on may-fly larva. It's one of my favourite patterns of the year - catching lots of walleye, and big ones too, out of 4-8 feet-of-water.
Here's one of my guests, Bob, with a typical Lac-Seul over slot walleye.
Bob and Mike toughed it out through some of the worst conditions - cold, wet and wind - but we caught a lot of fish!
Not long after they left, the weather got warm (sorry guys!) and the fish kept biting. Here's a nice one that I caught out of 18-feet on a Lindy jig tipped with a minnow.
The pike fishing has been kind of hit-or-miss lately but I have to show off this P-I-G I caught earlier in the season.
I also had a chance to spend 3 days in my boat with my good buddy Mike Battistoni hunting for big lakers on Minnitaki Lake. Minnitaki is known for trophy lake trout, but it's not a 'numbers' lake by any means. We were hoping for a couple of big-bigs but it didn't happen on this trip. The laker bite was tough and we only boated 1 fish. We covered a lot of water trolling with planer boards, dipsey divers and long-lines. We also jigged deeper areas but couldn't get on a big laker.
Here's Mike with our one-and-only lake trout.
Since I didn't get to 'scratch my lake trout itch' I hit up Big Vermilion for some jig fishing recently. The action was much better and we boated a lot of lakers jigging with white tube jigs. We caught fish from 35-feet down to 70-feet. Here's one of the better fish from the day.
Since I got home from turkey hunting I put together this video. Check it out - I think it turned out pretty well.
Coming up - a lot more fishing! I'm really looking forward to muskie opener on June 16th.
Also, the Johnson Outdoors santa arrived and I can't wait to rig my boat up with a Minn Kota Terrova with I-Pilot and Humminbird 898CX Side Imaging combo, plus a 788 HD combo on the bow.
Spring came early this year in NW Ontario. Usually we're still ice fishing in early April, but not this year. The ice has been unsafe for weeks now and a lot of areas are open water. The ice isn't totally gone from the big lakes, but it will be any day now.
Early ice out like this gives us a unique opportunity to fish walleye from a boat before the season closes on April 15th. It's been a real treat with some awesome action and big fish. We're getting fish in 15-25 feet as they stage near spawning areas. Males are already milty and the females are fat with eggs.
This is the earliest I've ever fished Lac Seul in a boat. It sure felt great to get out and set the hook on some walleye.
Coming up - ice out lake trout and wild turkey hunting. Gotta love springtime!
The 2012 ice fishing season is off to an amazing start here in northwestern Ontario. Unlike our friends in more southerly areas, there is lots of ice and snow to play on up here. We’ve had some great days on the lakes with some really big fish caught already.
Walleye and Lake Trout get most of my attention during the winter but we get other great species like pike, whitefish, bass, specks and other trout as well.
One of the coolest fish I’ve seen hit the ice so far this winter is this Rainbow Trout that my buddy Greg caught.
The MNR stocked these fish a few years ago and needless to say, they’ve grown to an impressive size!
We’ve been getting good numbers and sizes of walleye from Lac Seul and Minnitaki Lake. The morning and evening primetimes have had noticeably better action than mid-day. We’re getting fish in classic wintertime spots like prominent points, humps and bottleneck areas in and around the main lake basins. Depths of 25-to-30 feet have been best. Hot baits are Lindy Darters, jigs/minnows, Jigging Rapalas and Rattlin’ Flyer Spoons.
Lake trout are one of my favourite fish and there’s no better time than during ice fishing season to catch big lakers. I have the same philosophy with lakers as I do with muskie – I’d rather catch fewer big fish than a bunch of small ones. Luckily a couple of my buddies feel the same way, so we set off on a hunt for big lakers last week. We landed multiple fish over 30-inches, including 4 over 35-inches. I'll let a few of the pictures do the rest of the talking!
This is my good buddy Mike with one of the biggest lakers I’ve ever seen hit the ice. A beautiful 38-incher.
Here’s Mike releasing another big lake trout. Congrats buddy!
Another nice lake trout for Greg.
Turns out Mike was on a big fish hunt… check out this FAT 41-inch pike!!
Rounding off the great multi species action from the past couple weeks are small mouth bass, splake and whitefish.
Big hump-back whitie that slurped down a Lindy Slick Jig.
In other news, be sure to check out the new Ontario OUT OF DOORS. I’ve got an article in there about a fly-in trip I went on back in September to Richter Lake, north of Nakina, Ontario.
Check out this video I made from the trip too.
Keep up-to-date with all my ice fishing reports by visiting the Lindy National Audio Fishing Reports page. Click on the National Audio Fishing Reports logo on the top of the Lindy page, then click on Ontario on the map, and then click my name/picture. An up-to-date audio report that I recorded will play, giving you the details on what's happening on the ice.
Be sure to check back soon for more ice fishing action here in NW Ontario.
Cheers and good fishing!
With the summer heat on Lac Seul upon us the muskies are really hitting the Beckman net lately. Late July is typically our warmest weather of the season in NW Ontario. With the exception of a cold front last week, it's been warm and dry here this summer.
The fish have really turned on lately and it's been fun watching people catch muskie. I even snuck in a few myself :)
As always, top water is a real producer for muskies on Lac Seul. Both prop baits and walk-the-dog baits are catching fish. Most of the other fish have been on bucktails. Double 8 and double 10 blades are both producing. Fish are relating to areas with cabbage weeds and fast access to deeper water. Throw some stumps and a reef in the mix and that's a Lac Seul hot-spot for muskies!
The ladies got the muskie party started and after that we were rolling.
Paige gets her first Lac Seul muskie on a top water hit.
Missy lands her first muskie EVER on the F8 no less!! Congratulations Missy!!
This fish hammered my Shumway Flasher.
As I mentioned earlier, we had a nasty cold front come through. This was just before a 2 day trip with John and his buddies from Iowa. Day 1 was cold with a strong E wind. I knew it would be tough going and we only moved 1 fish that day. Day 2 conditions were improving so I figured we'd have a shot at prime-time. The boys had a couple good chances earlier in the day but no hooks were buried. Talk about down to the wire.... John hooked up on a top water on the LAST spot of the day!! Immediately I could see it was a good fish. To say I was a little excited when it went in the Beckman net is an understatement. Congrats John on such an awesome fish!!
52-inches of pure Lac Seul adrenaline!!
Next up I had the opportunity to fish with Brett from Thorne Bros. Thorne Bros, based in Minnesota, is the muskie headquarters of North America.
We went on a good run and boated 6 muskies in 2.5 days. The tale of the tape went like this; 44, 45, 46, 47, 49 and 51.
Brett gets a nice one in the dark.
Greg capped off a 3-fish night with this chunker about 5 mins after Brett released his fish.
Day 2 started off with a real low for me when I lost a good fish less then 10-feet from the net. Anyone who's ever fished muskie can relate to losing a fish. It's a tough pill to swallow.
We rallied hard when Brett put this fish in the Beckman. It came to the boat like a missile and absolutely crushed Brett's bucktail on the first outside turn of the figure-8. Immediately after it proceeded to clear the surface of the water by a good two-feet - not once, but twice! Just awesome!!
Two spots later and my luck changed in a big way! I was throwing the same Shumway Flasher that I lost the fish on earlier. Truth-be-told, it is the oldest and most beat up bait in my box. I think there's about 3 feathers left on it. It looks more like a rat-tail with double-8 blades then anything. Anyhow, we were making our way around a sandbar and throwing casts between the cabbage weeds when my bait got stopped. The muskie came to the surface shaking its head and we saw it was another good fish. Thankfully this one stayed pinned and Brett slid the Beckman under her.
I popped my 'fifty-cherry' with this beautiful 51-incher!!
Back on your way, thanks sweetheart!!
On day three a high-pressure system settled over us and brought with it strong west winds. We moved a few fish but nothing seemed overly interested in committing. Persistence paid off later in the day when we went back on a fish we had raised earlier. This fish absolutely hammered a Phantom Viper top water in one of the most insane and violent top side strikes I've ever seen.
What a great way to cap off an exciting muskie hunt!! Thanks to everyone I've shared a boat with recently.
Check out my audio fishing reports on the Lindy Fishing Tackle website. This is an awesome program that Lindy has set up where a team of guides and pro-staff from across North America call in with regular reports for many popular fisheries.
Until next time, good fishing!
Ben Beattie is a fishing guide and outdoor writer living in Sioux Lookout, in northwestern Ontario.