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!
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.