Catch of the day
Lots of tournaments in NW Ontario
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.