Chilly weekend on lake

It wasn’t exactly nice weather for bass fishing but it’s a long winter here in Northwestern Ontario so for many of us who enjoy competing in these tournaments, we’re fishing no matter what Mother Nature throws at us to get in all the fishing we can before another season comes to an end.
Some 25 teams fished the annual Shoal Lake Last Chance tournament this past Saturday and Sunday in strong winds, rain, and even some snow. The team count was down from most years but the forecast probably didn’t help with motivating anglers to show up Saturday morning.
For those of us who did, the fishing actually was pretty good despite the tough conditions. Dennis Favreau and I have fished the tournament together ever since 2001 and we have won the event several times over the years.
I spent a lot of time fishing on Shoal Lake growing up so I really enjoy every chance I get to go and fish out there these days. It’s a beautiful lake and it’s loaded with fish.
We spent much of our time fishing for largemouth bass over the weekend (there is a great population of them on Shoal Lake) and probably caught around 25 each day to go along with 15-20 smallmouth bass.
Our 35.88-pound total for 10 bass landed us in sixth place at the end of the weekend.
In what was one of the closest finishes that I can remember in a tournament around here, Terry McClymont of Kenora and Tim Strempler of Winnipeg emerged victorious thanks to 19.18-pound catch on Day 2 that gave them a total of 36.54 pounds.
They also had the big fish of the tournament with a 4.88-pound smallmouth on Day 2. These guys have won several Sunset Country bass tournaments over the years and knew how to get the job done under some tough conditions.
Mike and Vern Fair of Shoal Lake finished second with 36.10 pounds. They brought in the biggest catch of the weekend on Day 1 at 19.92 pounds.
Third place went to Bart Stebnitsky and Mark Libitka of Kenora with 36.06.
Fall offers some of the best fishing of the whole year for most species of fish–not only for numbers but big fish, as well. The key to staying on the water is keeping warm and dry.
If you like to fish at this time of year, it’s certainly worth spending some extra money on a quality rain suit and good outerwear. I’ve been wearing a Simms Pro-Dry rain suit all season and while they are an investment, they keep you dry. So for someone like me who makes their living on the water, it’s an easy decision.
On those days when it’s chilly but dry, it’s all about layering up to stay warm and comfortable. Keeping your feet, hands, and head warm are the key to happiness on those cold days when the fishing is sometimes really good!
We still have a couple of weekends of bass tournaments left in Northwestern Ontario and you can bet you’ll find me competing in them. This weekend, there’s a two-day tournament going on out of Crawford’s Camp in Sioux Narrows on Lake of the Woods.
Anglers interested in fishing can sign up Saturday morning.
There also is a tournament taking place this Saturday out of LaBelle’s Resort on Rainy Lake (you can contact the resort for more information on signing up for that).