2018 Wrap-up Report
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.
The best fall has to offer...
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.
The Heat of Summer
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.
Fall Wrap-up Report
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.
Summertime Muskie Video
Check it out, my latest video release. I'm really happy with how this one turned out. There's a lot of action and great footage crammed into 4 minutes. Enjoy!
Now's the time for fall trolling here on Lac Seul and I'm looking forward to getting out and collecting some footage for a fall video.
It's hard to believe it's already mid-September. Another summer is in the books and it's time to look ahead to fall. Fall muskie fishing and open hunting seasons make it the best time of year.
For now though, it's time to look back at some of the summer highlights. As title of this post suggests, it's going to be all about big muskies!
Overall it was a great summer for chasing muskie on Lac Seul. The bite really turned on in August and I put a bunch of nice fish in the Beckman net. As usual, bucktails and top-water baits caught most of the fish.
I'm going to let the pictures do most of the talking. I also captured some great video footage this season so look for a muskie video coming soon.
I'll get this rolling with this clean 49-incher that slammed my double-10's half way back to the boat. I was fishing with Brett Erickson of Thorne Bro's and Stephan Nielsen of Attitude Baits, in Sweden.
This chunky low 40's fish went wild after eating my Rad Dog spinnerbait. I just love seeing them come out of the water.... as long as they stay hooked!
Had a couple good days with guests Evan and his Dad from Wisconsin. Evan boated a 48.5" and a 46" and also raised a true giant. It was one of the 2 biggest fish I've ever raised on Lac Seul.... an absolute monster.
Evan's 48.5" was a topwater fish, and so was this 49.5" I got below. It's so awesome watching a big fish come up and hammer your surface bait.
The only thing that makes a topwater hit better is when it's on a figure-8. This four-footer (below) slurped my surface bait in the figure-8 right beside the boat. Talk about adrenaline! I was out with my good buddy Mike and we got 2 muskies that day, both on the F8. Mike's fish was a nighttime F8 hit on a bucktail.
Here's a couple fish from a new spot that I started fishing this year. One of my guests, Stew, got things rolling with this nice fish, 10 minutes into his first day!
I'll wrap things up with a couple of nice pike. One guided and another for the guide. Even a seasoned muskie angler can't argue with pike like these!
Coming up will be more muskie and before I know it our annual moose hunt will be here too. Lots to look forward to this fall so stay tuned for another update.
It's hard to believe it's already August! The summer is flying by as usual. July was busy, with a lot of days on the water and a lot of nice fish in the boat. Big pike, walleye, muskie and lakers have dominated my time.
Predictably, the walleye are on the humps and other structure in and around the main lake basins. Right now we're catching lots of fish in 25- to- 32 feet of water. For all the fish caught though, one that I won't forget was a monster walleye that broke my guest off before I could net it. It was, by far, the biggest walleye I've ever seen.
Of course, some nice fish have managed to hit the Beckman net. Here's just a few.
It's nice to shift gears every once and a while and do something a little bit different. Jigging for lake trout in the summertime is a really fun way to catch them vs. downrigging. We use 4-inch tube jigs with 1 oz lead heads and are able to fish as deep as 100-feet of water. We got on some today in 74-feet on a deep hump. It's a blast to battle lakers from the depths on spinning gear.
I love catching all kinds of different fish, but deep down I'm an Esox junkie! Big pike and especially big muskie really get my heart pumping.
I've put some really nice fish in the net lately.
Big pike are amazing creatures, but their size and appeal is shadowed by the other Esox that inhabits Lac Seul - Muskie! They're never easy to catch but the rewards are huge.
Tom's first muskie ever came on the figure-8.
Dave has caught a lot of muskies, but we both still got a trill from watching this one eat on the figure 8 as well.
Last week an old friend of mine came up with his dad to chase muskies. I've never seen July weather like we had - cold, wet and windy. Highs were in the low 50's - and this is usually the warmest week of the year in Northwestern Ontario. We battled the elements and were rewarded for our efforts with some nice fish.
The icing on the cake was this fat 50-incher that Todd's Dad, Ben, caught on a bulldawg.
They are already talking about another trip next summer to collect some of the other big ones that we saw but didn't catch.
I'll wrap this update up with a beautiful Lac Seul sunset shot that Todd took. Anyone that fishes muskies would want to be on the water at this time of day, with a sky like this.
Video, Article and a Buck!
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!
Ben Beattie is a fishing guide and outdoor writer living in Sioux Lookout, in northwestern Ontario.