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.
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!
Ben Beattie is a fishing guide and outdoor writer living in Sioux Lookout, in northwestern Ontario.