Rainy weekend in Sunset Country

While the weather was not awesome for fishing this past weekend, many anglers hit the water anyway to compete in a couple of area tournaments.
The way we look at it, it’s a long winter so we’re trying to enjoy every bit of fishing we can before the end of the season.
If you dress for the conditions, you usually can get through the day just fine.
The sixth-annual Nestor Falls Musky Cup took place Friday and Saturday on Lake of the Woods. Teams could catch, measure, and photograph their two biggest muskies each day, with the team garnering the most total inches being crowned the champs.
The Nestor Falls duo of Bart Gallant and Ryan O’Donnell won the tournament this year with four muskies that totalled 177 inches, anchored by a 48-inch fish they boated on Day 1.
Second place went to Dan Herbeck and Dale Barker, who totalled 170.5 inches, followed by Thatcher Haggberg and Dave Bonke (169 inches).
Gallant and O’Donnell’s 48-inch fish tied for the big musky of the weekend with Steve Hanson and Jamie Krukowski, who boated a 48-incher on Day 2.
This tournament has a pretty good following of anglers fishing in it, and has become a great event to showcase the excellent musky fishing on Lake of the Woods.
Up at Shoal Lake, the annual “Last Chance” tournament took place Saturday and Sunday. A total of 36 teams showed up for the tournament, which featured some miserable weather on Sunday when it rained all day.
My pal, Dennis Favreau, and I have fished the tournament together since 2001 and it has become an outing we always look forward to every year.
Things went pretty good for us over the weekend and we were able to squeak out the win with a two-day total of 36.62 pounds. We split our time between fishing for largemouth and smallmouth bass, and ended up weighing in five of each over the two days.
We were fortunate to have a couple of big fish each day that helped us. It is hard to win any of the tournaments we have here in Northwestern Ontario so when it works out, it sure feels good!
Second place went to the team of Darren and Jack Neniska, whose two-day total of 35.74 pounds consisted of a mixed bag of largemouth and smallmouth, as well.
Tournament organizers Vern Fair and Randy Paishk finished third with 35.60. They were able to find a really good spot that they told me they caught all of their fish from, which were all smallmouths.
Typically by this time of the season, most of the smallmouths in the lake are in deeper water, where they group up on main lake humps and points. But the water still is relatively warm and while there are plenty of fish in the deeper water, a lot of bass still are shallow.
We spent most of our time fishing shallow because we were catching good numbers of nice smallmouths, but we also wanted the opportunity to catch a big kicker largemouth. We were fortunate and ended up catching a few big fish that we needed.
We caught our fish on a variety of baits, including a wacky rigged worm, an Impulse tube jig, and a Chatterbait.
The big bass of the weekend was caught by Terry McClymont and Tim Strempler, who brought in a 5.24-pound largemouth on Day 1.
Thank you to the folks out at Shoal Lake who put the tournaments on out there every year, particularly Randy and Vern. It is a great lake to host these events and the anglers always have fun fishing it.
I recommend it to everybody who wants to fish on a big, pristine lake with clear water and a bunch of fish.

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