Great weekend on Crow Lake

The annual Crow Lake Classic bass tournament took place over the weekend in Nestor Falls out of Hanson’s Hideaway Lodge. The Hanson family took over running the tournament several years ago and do a great job hosting this two day event every year. It’s a lot of work to organize one of these event so my hats off to them for making it happen.

Crow Lake is one of the most beautiful, easy to access lakes we have in the Sunset Country Region. I know that’s a bold statement because we have so many awesome waterbodies. But it is a big lake with a ton of water to explore, it’s deep with super clear water, the cedar covered shorelines are unique and the fishing is excellent for bass, musky and lake trout. It’s just a very scenic, fun place to go fishing.

My wife Shelby and I have fished the tournament together since 2017 and it has become an annual event for us. We usually go to prefish for a couple of days before the tournament and stay in a cabin at Hanson’s resort, where the tournament is based out of. It’s nice because we can leave the boat in the water for the weekend and there is a fun group of people that stay at the camp so it’s just a really fun little getaway. 

Jeff and Shelby Gustafson with their beautiful trophies from Steve Hanson at the Crow Lake Classic this past weekend.

The first couple of years we caught some fish but we had to put some time in on the lake to learn where the bigger fish tend to hang out. We figured out last year that there are some nice bass in shallower water than many of the teams where fishing so we expanded on that this year and found a few good spots. We were looking for weed edges in six to twelve feet of water and fishing them with Ned rigs and crankbaits. We used the crankbaits, a Bagley Diving B1, to cover water then when we found a little stretch with fish we would slow down and fish our Ned rigs, which consisted of a Z-Man Hula StickZ rigged on a 1/6 oz jig head.

We had a good first day, bringing in a limit weighing 16.74 pounds to land us in second place. We had a little better average sized fish on the second day and brought in a limit worth 18.02 to win the tournament. The bass fishing is really underrated on Crow Lake. We caught a bunch of fish each day and while the smaller bass definitely outnumber the big ones on this lake, the steady action keeps things interesting.

In addition to the bass, Crow Lake has the best musky population of anywhere I have fished. We caught one each day we were there on our bass baits, had a couple steal our lures and I heard stories from other teams who caught them or saw them over the weekend. My dad and his partner had a huge one trying to steal a nice bass while they were fighting it. If you have never caught a musky before, consider hiring a guide from Hanson’s to get out there for a day and you’ll probably catch a few!

The tournament schedule across Northwest Ontario remains busy this coming weekend with a few different events taking place. There is the Shoal Lake Last Chance tournament taking place Saturday and Sunday. Shoal Lake is probably my favourite tournament lake because of the excellent fishing for both largemouth and smallmouth bass so I’m excited for that. There is also the Labelle’s Fall Classic happening Saturday at Rainy Lake, the Crawford’s Camp Mega Bowl Saturday and Sunday in Sioux Narrows and the Nestor Falls Musky Cup on Saturday and Sunday for the anglers who enjoy chasing the big toothy critters. Good luck to all of the anglers out there competing this weekend!