Bridging the Gap
Every year there's a period of time between the end of ice fishing season and the start of the softwater season when there's not much going on fishing wise in NW Ontario. No safe ice and nowhere to launch a boat. This is the perfect time to check out some fishing and hunting opportunities in other parts of Ontario.
First stop, Lake Superior Provincial Park for a day on the river chasing steelhead with my good buddy and fellow guide Graham Coulombe.
The walk in was about an hour long and the trails were still snow covered. Absolutely beautiful scenery though.
Fishing wasn't on fire but we had our chances. I hooked up first but the bright chrome steelhead jumped and spit the hook. We moved around a bit and fished a few other runs but returned to where I hooked up earlier. This time around my float popped under and I set the hook into a nice little buck that hit the bank for a photo shoot.
After that Graham broke off a good fish and that was it for the action. Great day with a good friend!
Next up was ice-out Lake Trout with another good buddy JP Bushey. Every year we gamble weather wise with the timing of this trip and this year mother nature got the best of us. Parts of the lake were still iced in and we battled high winds, cold, rain and snow. We ground it out a few hours each day and put a couple fish over the gunnels and lost a few others.
Here's JP with a Laker that hit a spoon behind a Dipsey-Diver.
The next adventure was a trip with my Dad and guide Steve Piggott of Angler's Way Guide Service on the Grand River for catfish. I was out with Steve two years ago and we had an incredible day with the cats so I was really excited to get my Dad out there. Once again, however, mother nature had other plans. It was cold, wet and really windy which made it almost impossible to hold anchor. We had a few pick-ups and Dad had a couple on but both of them came unpinned before reaching the net. That's fishing!
The only catfish picture of the day was of 'Muddy' who lives in a park in Dunnville.
Next up, time to put the rods away and grab the shotguns - the spring wild turkey hunt in southern Ontario is hands-down my favourite hunt of the year. My good friend Jotham 'Jocko' Dumesnil lives near Brantdord, ON and is a turkey fanatic. He hosts myself and our other buddy Rob each spring for a week in the woods chasing gobblers.
This year was no exception to Jocko's amazing track record of putting us on the long-beards! How about doubling up with Toms on opening morning? Sure!
We had action all week, seeing birds gobbling on the roost then flying down is a sight to see. It's a very interactive and up-close hunt which adds to the excitement.
In Ontario you are allowed to shoot two bearded birds during the spring hunt and I tagged-out with my second Tom on Friday.
A huge thanks to Jocko for another unforgettable hunt!
Back in NW Ontario the ice is almost off and I'm gearing up for some more ice-out lake trout action as well as spring pike. Walleye opener is just around the corner too. What a great time of year!!
Ben Beattie is a fishing guide and outdoor writer living in Sioux Lookout, in northwestern Ontario.