Fall is pretty much over here in northwestern Ontario as it looks like winter is here to stay. I got my boat put away just in time. It's always a sad day when the boat gets wrapped up but on the other hand it means ice fishing is just around the corner.
I had a great trip in Early November with my buddy George Clark chasing muskies on Lac Seul. It was the last trip of the season for my boat and it's always nice to go out with a couple good fish.
That's a pretty fish with really nice markings, but George was looking for something a little bigger.... and he got it! We had just released a small muskie that came on the the windward side of a prominent point, and on the second pass over the same spot George's rod buckled over.
Check out this beautiful fall fatty!
I've also been chasing deer around the bush but haven't encountered a buck that I want to shoot yet. There's been some really big deer shot in northwestern Ontario this season and I'm going to hold off as long as I can waiting for a shooter. The season closes December 15th so I've got some time left.
Some back lakes are already frozen over and a couple of my buddies kicked off the ice fishing season on Sunday November 25th. That's pretty standard timing for getting out on the ice up here.
Stay tuned for upcoming ice fishing reports and hopefully a nice buck as well.
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!
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.
Its been a great fall in Northwestern Ontario. I spent a lot of time chasing muskies on Lac Seul but also visited Eagle Lake and Lake of the Woods. We are so lucky here in NW Ontario to have three world-class muskie destinations within a few hours from each other. Read more about my muskie adventures next fall in Ontario OUT OF DOORS magazine.
Overall the fishing was pretty good. I had my share of fish-less days - but the days where you catch one or two makes up for that in a hurry. I broke my personal best twice this fall - both on the same lucky 10" Jake.
Trolling dominated for big fish once the water cooled down to the low 50's and into the 40's. I rigged my boat out with Salty Down-East rod holders, mounted on Bert's Custom Tackle bracket and track. My new Thorne Bros custom trolling rod turned out to be a big fish magnet!!
I definitely had luck on my side, or maybe it was just that white Jake that did it all, but I got my share of nice fish. Here's a few shots of some fall-time muskies.
This next fish I caught while out with Ontario OUT OF DOORS writer and photographer Tim Allard. Tim was up for a muskie photo shoot for the magazine and this big girl decided she wanted to be a star! You'll have to wait for next fall to see more pics in Ontario OUT OF DOORS. Thanks to Tim for coming up and capturing some incredible shots!
This next fish stands as my personal best muskie to date at 53". It was the only fish of the day and it came on the last run of the day... I was literally 100-yards from pulling the chute and heading home. I guess the old saying is true - 'It ain't over 'til it's over'.
I had the chance to fish Lake of the Woods with Ryan Marlowe, owner of Figure 8 Baits in Kenora. Figure 8 Baits is the premier muskie shop in Canada.
We battled some rough weather with high winds, cold, rain and snow - but got 5 muskies to the boat. Here's a couple of the better fish.
Ryan with a nice fish that slammed his lure seconds after he popped it free from a snag.
With temperatures remaining below freezing and a few inches of snow on the ground its time to call and end to the 2011 muskie season. Time to start the count down to June 16th 2012!
Shifting gears to another favourite fall past time - Hunting - makes putting away the muskie rods a little easier. After a moose-less moose hunt in October I was really hoping to get a deer for the freezer.
I was more than happy to see this nice buck walk out the other morning. 50-yard shot and he dropped where he was standing.
Looking ahead I see -18C in the forecast and that means one thing.... ICE FISHING is coming soon! I already fired up the snowmobile and I just got my Lindy order in the mail so I'm all set for another season on the ice. Darters, Slick Jigs, Rattlin' Flyer Spoons and much more - check out their awesome selection of ice fishing tackle on their web site www.lindyfishingtackle.com
You can also hear my audio fishing reports for the upcoming ice fishing season on the Lindy National Audio Fishing Reports page. Look for the first report sometime in early-mid December.
See you on the ice!
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.
I'll start this post off with the big news... I'm really excited to announce the purchase of a new boat! Ben Beattie Outdoors is now rolling in style with a 18.5-foot Alumacraft Tournament Series Tiller. The boat is powered by a 2010 Yamaha 90HP 4-stroke motor and also features a colour Lowrance GPS/Sonar unit.
Getting it wet for the first time.
Jigging walleye with Kelly.
It's a big, spacious tiller with lots of room for fishing out of. It's rigged with splash guards for backtrolling for walleye and come spring will have a bow-mount trolling motor for casting.
So far it doesn't have a name, but sometimes these things need to be earned. At any rate, it will be tough to top the name I gave my old boat! :)
On with the fishing report... I'll start off with - what else - muskies! It took a bit of work but the new boat got slimed in fine fashion. This chunky 47-incher slurped a top water bait off the surface at primetime. Textbook!
A real pretty fish for Bryon Cole - I just love the look of Lac Seul muskies.
These last 2 fish were part of a 4 fish night... ALL of them caught on top water!
As always a few nice pike are caught while chasing muskies. Most muskie nuts disregard pike as the lesser of the Essox family but who can argue with gators like these!
That's my good buddy Mike Willems who owns Silver Water Wheel Lodge on Lac Seul. The pike was his consolation prize after we watched his 50+ inch muskie hit on the figure-8 then throw the hooks on a thrilling boatside jump. We'll get em next year buddy!!
The walleye fishing remains excellent on both Lac Seul and Minnitaki Lake. Summertime patterns of catching fish on main lake basin structure is still holding up. All the typical stuff holds fish - humps, reefs, prominent points, steep drop offs, deep flats, etc.
My wife, Kelly, shows off a nice Lac Seul walleye and an even nicer baby bump! :)
Another walleye hits the Beckman net. Overall its been a great year for catching walleye in NW Ontario.
Fall is in the air up here. Water temps are slipping out of the 70's, the nights are getting cool, the days are getting shorter and there's a smattering of yellow on the birch and aspen trees when you look in the bush on your way across the lake. That means a couple things... moose hunting and fall muskie fishing are just around the corner. I'm also looking forward to some late season lake trout fishing on Minnitaki Lake. So much to look forward to in the fall!!
Coming up, I've also got a fly-in booked for an Ontario Out of Doors article that will come out this winter. Stay tuned for some pics from that trip and more.
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!
With Canada Day 2011 in the books, that means we're solidly in the summer stretch of the 2011 season. You know it's summer when the walleye are in the main lake basin, big muskies are on the prowl, lake trout are in 70-feet, the cabbage weeds are at the surface and water temps are over 70F.
There's been big changes in walleye location over the last couple of weeks on Lac Seul. Most importantly, they have arrived in large numbers on their summer haunts in and around the main lake basin. Reefs, humps and islands in the big water are holding fish. Looking back, the last couple weeks have been some of the best walleye fishing of the year. High volume days and big fish too.
I had a great time with Wendy and her husband, Rob, from Winnipeg. As usual, lady luck came through and Wendy landed two 28-inch walleye.
Clayton Johnson from Illinois shows off a nice walleye while his nephew, Gage, unhooks another one in the background.
Tim Rowley from Acton, Ontario took his buddies money two days in a row.
Happy guests at Moosehorn Lodge!
The best depths on the main lake basin structure has been 18-24 feet. Vertical jigging with 1/4 oz Lindy Jigs has been catching all the fish. Hot colours are glow, chartreuse, orange and pink. I really like the googly eyes on these jigs and also how there's never any paint covering the line tie!
Not to be overlooked is the weed walleye bite that is also happening on Lac Seul right now. Drop a jig and minnow in 8-12 feet in front of a weedline and see if you can count to 10 before getting a bite. For the most part there are high numbers of fish in the 14-18 inch range in the weeds, but don't be surprised if a trophy makes an appearance as well.
The muskies continue to hit the Beckman net as well. Had a chance to fish with Brett Ericson from Thorne Bros. last week. Thorne Bros. is the premier muskie shop in the US and they also specialize in custom rod building, ice fishing and much more.
We had a 1 hour window where were we moved 5 muskies and caught 2 of them, including my first of the season. A 46-inch fish that ate a top-raider.
Fast forward a week and I had the chance to fish with a couple good buddies as well as my wife for an evening hunt. It was a picture perfect night for muskies and Dave 'iced the cake' with this chunky 49.5-incher. Congrats Dave on your PB muskie!! This fish ate a double 10 bucktail on the figure-8.
I had a chance to fish lake trout last week on Big Vermilion Lake for an afternoon with Rich and Matt from Chicago. These guys are a laugh a minute and we had a fun afternoon jigging up lakers out of 70-feet.
Double header for Matt and myself.
Rich with an over-slot lake trout.
Matt with a dark grey laker.
Looking ahead, more hot summertime action on Lac Seul. I'm looking forward to chasing more walleye, trout and monster muskies. Also looking forward to getting out for walleye on the deep summertime humps on Minnitaki. Minnitaki is another walleye factory in our system of lakes here in Sioux Lookout. Too often it lives in the shadow of Lac Seul, but every year some of the best days of the season happen on Minnitaki.
Cheers everyone, and good fishing.
Summer has been kicked into high gear in Sunset Country with the opening of muskie season last Saturday. As luck would have it, my guests for the weekend were hardcore muskie guys!! We spent the mornings jigging walleye and after shorelunch we were throwing the big stuff till dark. Three 15-hour days on the water were just what the Doctor ordered for some big muskies and walleye. I'll kick this report off with a bang and show off the prize catch. My guest, Rocco, and his new personal best muskie. A monster 53.5 inch fish caught on Lac Seul.
Rocco just got home to Illinois and he's already emailing me about another trip in July. Can you blame him?? The experience of boating this fish is one that I'll never forget. Rocco put it nicely when he said, "We are bonded by 53.5 inches of muskie!".
The boys tied into a couple more muskies on their trip and some nice pike too.
Here's Jake with his first of the season.
Rocco with another one.
Rocco adds a 40" pike for good measure.
Jake's muskie hit a bucktail but Rocco got both of his on a Jimmy. They just couldn't resist the slow, enticing movements of that big plastic Jimmy tube!
The walleye bite continues to be strong on eastern Lac Seul. For the most part, I'm fishing within a few miles of Bear Narrows. As the walleye filter down from spawning areas they pass through this area on their way to the main lake basin. A prolonged east wind over the last couple of weeks has really helped to stack the fish up, especially on spots with an eastern exposure.
The best depths vary from day-to-day, but in general 15-feet is a good bet at this time of year. When conditions are warm, sunny and calm I'm still finding the fish will pulse shallow into bays to feed on mayfly nymphs. Overcast, with a good chop puts the deeper water bite into high gear. I've been checking islands and humps in the main lake basins but only with limited success so far. One thing is for sure, they're on their way and it won't be long until the summer structure is going strong.
Would you look at that? Mr. Rocco slams a beautiful 29" walleye!
Chicago John with a beauty!
The guide even gets lucky once in a while :)
Looking ahead, more of the same! Walleye and muskie will dominate the rest of the summer, with a nice side of lake trout, smallies and pike. Gotta love Northwestern Ontario!!
Ben Beattie is a fishing guide and outdoor writer living in Sioux Lookout, in northwestern Ontario.