I apologize for the lack of updates here lately. The truth is, I didn't do a lot of ice fishing this winter, and when I did I didn't take many pictures.
I did get out last week with my buddy (and fellow Moosehorn Lodge guide) Colin Gosse for a combo day of walleye and lake trout. Colin did the guiding and put us on solid action. Walleye limits by noon, then 14 lakers to cap off a great day on the ice.
One bait that I always have tied on a rod all winter that caught both walleye and lakers is the Lindy Rattlin' Flyer Spoon. You can see it in the lake trout picture above, and that blue/silver is my favorite color.
I also had the pleasure of introducing my oldest son to ice fishing this winter. As expected, he loved the entire experience.
For anyone interested in ice out predictions, here's what going on around here... We had a huge melt last week and lost a lot of our snow. There is a lot less ice than usual for this time of year, too. I measured 18 inches of solid ice the other day. Although we are back in another cold snap, it's not cold enough to make ice, but it's currently not melting either. Once the ice starts to go it should go pretty fast. I have no doubt ice will be gone before May 1 this year.
It's shaping up to be a really busy season this year. If you're thinking about booking a trip get in touch with me ASAP as I have a limited number of days left in May-Aug. September -November muskie hunt dates are filling up too.
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.
June absolutely few by! It was a strange month weather wise with a lot of wet and cool weather. After heat at the end of May, early June saw the water temperatures plummet back into the 50's. Currently temps have rebounded to low 60's on the main lake and high 60's in the shallow bays.
All this extreme weather has definitely affected the fishing. We're still catching high volumes of fish - 200 walleye days aren't uncommon - but the fish are very scattered. On any given day walleye can be caught in a few feet of water or 30+ feet of water. They are showing up on the main lake basin (Summer spots) but still hanging on in the shallows as well. The mayfly hatch hasn't happened yet and the shallow fish are still gorging on mayfly nymphs. Main lake basin fish are spitting up smelt and ciscos. So there's a lot happening all at once and depending on the conditions of the day the walleye can really be anywhere.
I expect the walleye will begin to show up in great numbers on main lake basin structure very shortly. Summertime walleye fishing is just around the corner.
With the rise in the water temperatures last week it made for prime conditions for shallow water bass fishing. Top-water in fact. What a blast these guys are on top-water baits.
Another fun fish to target this time of year are lake trout. They are moving out to deeper water as well. We got into some nice fish on a windy day last week jigging heavy tube jigs and vibrating blade baits.
Muskie season also arrived and although I haven't had a chance to chase them yet I'm super excited talk about a new product I'm going to be using. PDEEZ Muskie Inlines are the new standard in double bladed tinsel muskie bucktails. They are durable and well made but what sets them apart is the no jam flash (Tinsel won't tangle with hooks) and how easy they pull in the water. They are perfectly balanced and tuned. I got really tired of other double-bladed bucktails who's blades wouldn't engage right away. PDEEZ are the solution. Made in Ontario and built tough for the big muskies we have all over this province. Be sure to look em up and check out some of the awesome color combinations.
This year has to go down as the latest ice out on record. Even today, May 22nd, there's still lots of ice in the central basin of Lac Seul. Here on the SE end, we're iced out. Deception arm opened up on a few days ago, and as of Thursday May 22nd it's clear sailing up to Chamberlain.
On opener I dodged ice on Pelican Lake and ran the falls into Lac Seul. The water on Pelican is as high as I've ever seen it and Lac Seul is also high for this time of year.
Fishing was great with a lot of big walleye landed. It was pre-spawn, with males milting, but the females were holding eggs still. Water temps were only 39 deg.
Lindy Jigs and big minnows worked best and fish were a little deeper than normal for opener. I found that 12-to 20-feet was the best depth. Things are going to warm up this week and that'll bring the fish shallower and they'll wrap up the spawn.
Its been a slow transition from winter to spring this year. The lakes are slowly opening up but with opener just around the corner it's going to be close. The current areas around Sioux Lookout and on the southeast end of Lac Seul will be open, but I wouldn't put money on being able to get to Bear Narrows on opening weekend.
Stay tuned for more ice updates as opener approaches.
Pick up a copy of the May issue of Ontario OUT OF DOORS. I've got an article about early season walleye fishing with jigs and Lindy Rigs.
Another good one is the 2014 In-Fisherman Pike and Muskie Guide. My buddy Jeff Gustafson from Kenora who is a top guide, tournament angler and writer, has an article in there on Canadian Shield pike fishing. Jeff interviewed me for the article and they ran a big picture on first page. Here's a sneak peak.
After seeing articles like these hit the shelves open water can't come soon enough.
The 2014 ice season is well under way now and I've been slow to get a report and pictures up. Better late than never, eh!
It's been a cold and snowy winter here in NW Ontario so far. Conditions on the lake are great though, with a solid base of ice and plenty of snow on top for the snow machines. The slush is minimal, too, which is a major bonus.
Fishing has been pretty good so far with a steady pick of walleye and pike. Haven't had the chance to chase lakers and whitefish yet, but that should change soon.
Every year I catch big active walleye on Lindy Darters. This Lac Seul 'eye is a perfect example.
Last winter I did an article for Ontario OUT OF DOORS about catching big pike with gear and tactics normally used for walleye fishing. It never fails that some of the years biggest pike come while jigging for winter walleye in 30-feet of water. This big girl was a treat to pull through the hole the other day.
My buddy Joe traveled up from southern Ontario for a visit earlier in January. Of course we went fishing…. here's Joe with a nice walleye.
Back in December I had the chance to fish with longtime guide buddy Brandon Ouelette on the legendary Bay of Quinte in SE Ontario. Brandon operates Quinte Hard Water Specialists guide service, based in Belleville Ontario. Quinte is well regarded as the premiere destination for monster walleye. Every time you drop your jig down you've got a realistic shot at a 10 + pounder. These guys don't even bat an eyelash at 5-pounders.
True to form, Quinte produced a monster for Brandon's good buddy Justin. This is - by far - the biggest walleye I've ever laid eyes on. Anywhere. Ever.
14- pounds, 4-oz and 32-inches
If you're anywhere near southern Ontario this winter give Brandon a call and book a trip to chase one of these giants for yourself.
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.
The first month of walleye season has been fantastic on Lac Seul. Right from opener - which happened at ice out - until now, the walleye have been hitting well. It all adds up to happy Moosehorn Lodge guests and a happy guide.
It's late June right now and they walleye are in full on transition mode. They're well on their way towards summer structure but they're not quite there yet. This time the time of the year where you can catch walleye in 5-feet or 20-feet and anywhere in between.
Here's one I caught recently from 17-feet of water off a big underwater saddle that the wind was blowing in on.
It won't be long now until the walleye are on their summer structure in the main lake basin.
Anyone looking for a trip, here's a great last minute deal from Moosehorn Lodge. Check it out, you can't beat this price for an all inclusive package.
Ben Beattie is a fishing guide and outdoor writer living in Sioux Lookout, in northwestern Ontario.