Bassin’ in Nestor Falls

While most of the bass tournaments across the region happen on the bigger waterbodies, like Rainy Lake and Lake of the Woods, there are a few that happen each year on smaller lakes. This past weekend, the annual Crow Lake Classic was put on again out of Hanson’ Hideaway Lodge and it was another fun weekend for the anglers competing.

Crow, also known as Kakagi Lake, is a one of the gems of Northwest Ontario. It is a trout lake, with really clear water, scenic pine and cedar covered shorelines and it is full of bass. It doesn’t have the best average size of all the lakes around the region, but the numbers of fish might be the best that I’ve ever seen and then there are some giants, like the 5.66 pound lunker smallmouth that was caught on day two by Jon O’Connor and Jordan Wilson. It is also a fairly big lake, with plenty of water to fish. Both smallmouth and largemouth are found throughout the lake, but the smallmouths are bigger at this point. There are excellent numbers of smaller largemouths, so I would expect to see them become more of a factor in the coming years.

My wife Shelby and I have fished the tournament for the past six years and it’s become an annual event for us. We rent a cabin at Hanson’s and it’s a fun little getaway weekend for us. We get to see some people that we don’t get to see very often the rest of the year and like I said, the fishing is fun.

We have been fortunate to have a nice little run at this tournament the past few years. We were fortunate to defend our title and we won it again this past weekend. This time around we had a nice little battle with my brother Ben Gustafson and his girlfriend, Ali Crandall. They were the leaders after day one with 16.59 pounds, that included the big bass of the day at 4.62 pounds. We were in second, almost a pound back.

The fishing was a little bit tougher on day two, as it usually is in these tournaments, mostly due to pressure from other anglers on many of the best spots. Throughout the day we slowly upgraded our fish, one here and one there. We didn’t have any really big ones, but four solid ones and one smaller bass, then with about ten minutes remaining in the day, we were just fishing fast along the shoreline near the check-in area and Shelby caught a three pounder on a topwater bait. It was one of our biggest of the day, culling the small one that we had. It was a big difference maker for us.

We always fish right up to the last minute because every so often you’ll get one of those big fish when you least expect it. That’s putting yourself in the position to get lucky. Our total of 30.73 just nipped Ben and Ali, who totalled 30.28 pounds. Third place on the weekend went to Derek Shebagegit and Mick Copenace. Dan Meckling and Travis Cook were fourth, while Jess and Emily Swenson took fifth.

Big thanks to Kylie Hanson and the rest of the volunteers who make the tournament happen year after year, it’s a fun weekend. If anybody is looking to fish a tournament next year with a laid back atmosphere and some fun fishing, this is a good one to consider.

Jeff Gustafson, Shelby Gustafson, Ben Gustafson and Ali Crandall hold up their trophies from the Crow Lake Classic over the weekend, hand made by Steve Hanson.

The busy September for tournament fishing continues this coming weekend with the Shoal Lake Last Chance tournament Saturday and Sunday, while down at Rainy Lake, the Labelle’s Fall Classic takes place on Saturday.