In late December, my brother in law found some bear tracks in a field in the snow. There was atleast a foot of snow on the ground, and the bear was coming out, digging down through the snow, and eating corn from the cut corn field. It had been coming out quite regularly, and we decided to follow its tracks to see if we could find its den. It was quite interesting, we found the den in the bush, on a field edge, and could see the bear inside. I setup a couple trail cameras on it, and checked just over a week later. It was quite amazing what we found! The accompanying video shows what we found, and is a compilation of the trail camera photos, showing his activity.
I am a big fan of creating, monitoring, and hunting scrapes when chasing whitetails. They are by no means the be all and end all for killing bucks, but in the right circumstances, they can be a huge aid to hunters. They can act as an attractant for deer, allow you to monitor bucks with trail cams to see what is around, and when, and they can seriously help you at a key moment during a hunt. When a buck is running around looking for does, they are often in constant motion, and don't often stop long. Having scrapes in key locations around your stand, may give that buck a reason to pause long enough for a shot, while he investigates a scrape, works it or works the licking branch above.
I have a very active scrape line on one property I hunt, that has been used for the 9 years I have hunted it. It was well established the first year I explored the property, and those same scrapes get worked year after year.
I have added a couple more to it, and the deer have instantly taken to them, working these scrapes as well. It's a great little hunting spot, and is a sheltered, tucked away area that bucks feel comfortable in during daylight hours.
As nice as scrapes on big clearings and field edges are, they often don't get near as much daytime activity, and scrapes tucked deep into woods, along trails, etc, seem to get far more daylight action.
I use scent on my scrapes, and even add it to the real scrapes the deer make, making those bucks think that other deer are around, and hopefully encouraging them to keep checking in, and hopefully doing so when I'm in the stand! I use scrape starter, then set a scrape dripper above scrapes.
It is an easy way to increase your odds, and well worth trying out!
Corine and I made a quick trip out to Wabigoon Lake, near Dryden On, to try and catch a fall muskie. We've never been on Wabigoon before, but did some exploring, and despite some rather unpleasant, windy fall weather, we managed to find some fish! Late in day 2 I managed to hook up with a muskie, pitching a bucktail in some weedy shallows. After boating a muskie, we decided to investigate a hot tip we got from the owner Len, and did it ever pay off! We got into a serious school of Crappie, and over the next several days we had an absolute blast catching some serious slabs. Mixed in with the odd walleye and sauger, it was an absolute blast, and those crappie made for some spectacular table fare. Definitely a trip I would love to do again! Bonny Bay Camp was a wonderful place to stay, in a beautiful location right on Wabigoon, and the fishing opportunities appear to be endless!
This is definitely a strange year, and unfortunately for me, due to the Covid pandemic, I am unable to take my annual turkey hunting trip this Spring. Going to be a strange Spring, in many ways, but I will really miss this annual trip. It's always a great time, usually with lots of turkey action, but equally important, it is a trip I do with my dad and uncle, and get to spend time with family during our annual trout opening weekend family get together. I think I look forward to turkey hunting and this event equally, and will miss them both alot! Sure hope things improve soon, and we can get back to life as we knew it!
Got out for what was likely one of the last, or the last ice fishing trip of the season. Though we're into April, conditions were still great! The trail was good, with plenty of snow, and ice conditions were perfect. No slush, minimal snow on the ice (enough for the sled, but not enough to make walking difficult), and there was close to 2' of solid ice.
It was a sunny and beautiful day, and we found some big trout! I used my Humminbird Helix to get us in the zone; using the autochart live feature during open water, I mapped out a section of this lake in the boat, creating an accurate depth map. I then set that Helix unit up in a portable ice fishing pack, set it on my lap, turned the maps on, and drove to the exact spot I wanted. I found the edge of a reef, and stopped right on the contour I wanted. Then the Helix unit doubles as my flasher, and is highly effective for targeting lake trout.
We got into some great fish, and by length/girth calculations, they ranged from 7 to 18 lbs, great day!!
Spent a beautiful day on the ice with Corine, her brother and nephew. It was a sunny, beautiful day, and I played an important role of group photographer (....................since I didn't catch any fish......). Had a nice ride in, and a great day on the the ice!
Had a great day on the ice, fishing for lakers on Superior with Corine, her brother and his kids. We had a blast, and found some willing trout. The kids did awesome, and had a riot catching these nice trout!
I've done a few different ice fishing trips lately, doing some exploring, and looking for something new and different. There is a lake fairly close to home for me, that I have heard has whitefish in it. I've tried it twice before in the winter, with no success, and have never heard, or seen sign of anyone ice fishing it. I figured I would give it one more shot, and lo and behold, I actually got a nice whitefish! It was a beauty, and had these rather unique looking, large wide fins. I actually got it suspended in about 40 feet of water. It was the only fish of the fairly short trip, but certainly enough to make me go back again!
Then we did a night time Ling excursion, one of my favourite winter trips. The fishing is generally alot of fun, but the adventure is even better. It's always a blast going out on the ice at night, setting lines out, and gathering around a bonfire waiting for fish. We ran into some rather severe technical issues, as my friends auger had a catastrophic fuel line failure.............It turned into a bit of a fiasco, but while my friends tried to basically rebuild an auger, I managed to chisel my way through a very old ice hole. I only got half soaked, and created a very awkward shaped hole, but we could fish! The four of us gathered around one hole, and we managed to atleast squeeze one nice burbot through it! Always an adventure!
Spent a beautiful day on the ice on Lake Superior yesterday. It started out a bit brisk, with the temp at -25C when we left at 8am, but it turned into a beautiful day! It was sunny, calm and the fish were cooperative. We got some nice whitefish, and had a blast with a few schools of herring, at one point catching 7 herring in about 5 minutes, all right under the ice! I laid down on the ice and watched down the hole, which is super entertaining! Had to be 20 at one time swimming around the bait!
The whitefish made us work, but we ended up with a good collection at the end of the day. We had to work them with the electronics, and once again they proved their worth! The Helix 5 got us right on my waypoint, letting us setup on a little patch of weeds on a big sandy flat. It has quickly become my favourite sonar for ice fishing, although I still bring along and use the Ice 55. The hot baits for the day were the Williams Ice Jig, a small swedish pimple, and at the end of the day when they got really finiky, tiny baits like a single hook forage minnow were doing the trick. I tipped spoons with a litte chunk of fire brined smelt to make the offering a little more enticing!
Updates on Tom's hunting/fishing/outdoors activities