Catch of the day

Lots of tour­na­ments in NW On­tario

Kenora Daily Miner and News - - LIFE - JEFF GUSTAFSON

The bass tour­na­ment sea­son in North­west On­tario got busy this past week­end with events tak­ing place at Shoal Lake and Lake De­spair. Musky an­glers also got to try their luck at the sec­ond an­nual Lake of the Woods Musky Bowl, held at Wi­ley Point Lodge.

Other than a quick storm or two and some mod­er­ate wind on Satur­day, the weather was pretty nice all week­end mak­ing it quite en­joy­able to be in the boat. It was for me at least. Af­ter spend­ing as much time as I have down in the south­ern US in the sum­mer I can ap­pre­ci­ate the weather we have here in North­west On­tario be­cause it gets so hot down there.

Down at Lake De­spair a pair of up and com­ing an­glers smoked the rest of the field en route to their first tour­na­ment win to­gether. The Fort Frances pair of Dave Cham­bers and Dono­vanCousineauhada two-day to­tal of 29.40 pounds giv­ing them a pound and a half cush­ion over sec­ond place fin­ish­ers Larry Foss and Joel Pagnac of In­ter­na­tional Falls. The Fort Frances fa­ther and son team of Dar­rin and Kobi Ward rounded out the top three.

An­other pair of young an­glers got their first tour­na­ment win out at Shoal Lake on Sun­day when Winnipeg an­gler Ian Waterer and Kenora’s Jay­den Sy­monds won the first place tro­phy with a two-day to­tal of 32.18 pounds.

My part­ner Karl Engstrom and I had a good week­end at Shoal Lake and ended up with a sec­ond place fin­ish af­ter lead­ing the tour­na­ment fol­low­ing day one of the event. Our to­tal of 31.60 gave us a solid fin­ish and we made a few bucks. For me it felt good to fi­nally have a good tour­na­ment af­ter the slump I have been in since March with the US tour­na­ments that I have been fish­ing.

We weighed in eight small­mouths and two large­mouths over the course of the tour­na­ment. Most of the small­mouths we caught were taken on a Jack­all SK-Pop Grande top­wa­ter pop­per and the large­mouths we caught by flip­ping soft plas­tics in shal­low bul­rushes.

Both of the bass tour­na­ments had around 60 teams par­tic­i­pat­ing. The Shoal Lake tour­na­ment has been go­ing on now for over 25 years and while the tour­na­ment does not at­tract as many teams as it did years ago and the fish­ing may not be quite as good as it used to be, Shoal Lake is still a beau­ti­ful lake and the or­ga­niz­ers do a great job mak­ing this derby hap­pen every year.

I have fished the Lake De­spair tour­na­ment for the past ten years and missed it this year for the sec­ond time but it is right up there on the top of my list for a fun tour­na­ments to fish. The chain of lakes is fun to run around on and Bill and Nell Godin make sure ev­ery­body has a great time at Lake De­spair Lodge. Hope­fully, next year th­ese tour­na­ments will fall on dif­fer­ent week­ends so I can fish in both of them.

Wi­ley Point Lodge on Lake of the Woods hosted the sec­ond an­nual Musky Bowl and for the sec­ond year in a row Jess Swen­son and his daugh­ters won the tour­na­ment and it’s $5,000 first-place prize. An­glers catch, mea­sure and re­lease the muskies that they catch and the team with the most inches of fish wins. Jess fished with each of his two daugh­ters, Reese one day and Emily the other. It’s pretty awe­some when you con­sider they are both not even teenagers yet and they are beating some of the most no­to­ri­ous musky an­glers and guides on the lake.

Con­grat­u­la­tions to all of the win­ners over the week­end. The tour­na­ment scene takes a break next week be­fore the Fort Frances Cana­dian Bass Cham­pi­onship and the Bronze­back Clas­sic in Kenora get un­der­way the fol­low­ing week­end.


Dono­van Cousineau and Dave Cham­bers with the first place tro­phy at Lake De­spair.

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