Plenty going on around Sunset Country

For those of us across Northwestern Ontario who like to fish, the summer goes by way too fast.
Already nearing the halfway point, it’s almost depressing.
But that being said, there still are plenty of good days ahead for us to look forward to.
After a weekend off without any tournaments, two big events are coming up this weekend. Up in Kenora, the 10th-annual Bronzeback Classic is taking place on Lake of the Woods.
A full field of 100 boats is signed up to try and win some money.
The Bronzeback has become a popular event with anglers because it has a laid-back atmosphere, the prize money is spread out pretty good, and the smallmouth fishing in the north end of the lake is great.
The tournament is taking place this Saturday and Sunday out of WSL Marina in Norman, with weigh-ins beginning at 3 p.m. each day.
Down on Rainy Lake, meanwhile, the 22nd annual Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship is set to take-off tomorrow (July 21). The three-day tournament wraps up Saturday afternoon at the Sorting Gap Marina.
This long-running tournament always is one of the highlights of the summer for me every year. I’ve fished this event every year since 2000 and have had some of the best memories of my life while fishing on Rainy Lake and under the tent at the Sorting Gap.
It’s a really fun event all around.
My partner, John Peterson, and I had a rough tournament last year after being very fortunate to win it in both 2013 and 2014, so we are looking forward to getting back into the mix this week.
All I know is I am going to have fun week—I’ve been looking forward to spending the week on Rainy Lake for a long time. It really is a beautiful lake.
It looks like we’re going to have some pretty nice summer weather this week, which should help the fishing with all species. In fact, I’ve been getting some good reports from anglers musky fishing on Lake of the Woods, with good numbers of fish being caught.
Most muskies still are going to be in fairly shallow water, around shallow reefs and weed beds. In-line bucktail spinners are the best baits for catching these big critters right now.
Winnipeg Jets’ star Dustin Byfuglien was fishing on Lake of the Woods last week, doing a little pre-scouting for the upcoming KBI tournament, and told me that he caught a 47-inch musky up shallow on a small bass crankbait.
He was by himself so he didn’t get a picture, but was pumped up about it.
As for walleyes, I’ve been out for them a few times over the past week and did well fishing in 26-30 feet of water on main lake humps and flats.
I really trust my Humminbird electronics, so my usual routine is to drive around looking for fish on the screen. Then when I find a school, I drop a marker buoy over the side and we start fishing.
If they are biting good, I usually just use a quarter-ounce jig with a three-inch soft plastic minnow on it. But if I am guiding or the fishing is tough, then we’ll use a jig tipped with a minnow or leech.
Expect the walleye fishing to get better overall on most bodies of water as the fish get more congregated on these main lake spots.
Have a great week everybody and get out on the water!

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