With many anglers anticipating open water, I thought I would kick off this season series with a look at Lund Boats Pro Staffer, Craig Salmonson.
Craig grew up on Lake Temiscaming and the Ottawa River where he could walk to within minutes to fish for Walleye and Bass. There was a stream with Speckle Trout in it which ran through the backyard of their family home.
Craig’s father was a bush pilot in Northern Quebec. Craig was able to join him on many trips to some amazing lakes. As a teenager, Craig had the opportunity to work at some of the fly in fishing camps which are located in the Kipawa area and Lake Temagami where he did some guiding.
Craig first boat was 12 foot Thorne with a 9.8 Mercury outboard. He later upgraded to a 16 foot Skeeter Bass Boat when he first decided that he wanted to fish tournaments. Craig started fishing tournaments in 1990 were he fished the pike tournaments in the Sturgeon Falls/Sudbury Area and bass tournaments in the North Bay/Sudbury area.
Craig joined the North Eastern Ontario Bass Association (NEOBA) Bass Circuit in 1998 until the series closer in 2004. During this time Craig had 8 top ten finishes. Over this time one highlight that stands out in Craig’s mind was when had the opportunity to help his good friend Jim Patry win the Angler of the year Award on Lake Nipissing in 2003. Another one was when he fished the 2003-2004 Canadian Fishing Tour where he had a top ten and a 2nd place finish.
After the closure of the NEOBA Bass Circuit in 2004, Craig turned his attention to fishing the Northern Ontario Walleye Trail (NOWT) events which sees 800 competitors at six different sites. During this time Craig has 3 wins, 10 top 5 finishes and 6 Big Fish Awards.
Being a multi-species angler Craig fished the Top 50 Pike series from 2006 to 2012. During this time he had a 2nd place finish. The highlight during this time was when Craig fished a pike tournament held on Vermillion Lake with his long time fishing partner Gilles Portelance after Gilles nearly lost his life in a work place accident in 2006. Although they didn’t win the tournament, reliving the day over an ice cream cone together after the tournament was much better than any win according to Craig.
In 2011 Craig made the decision to fish the U.S. FLW as a co-angler. In Craig’s words, “It was an incredible opportunity to learn new techniques and waters from the masters-not only being able to fish the tournaments but the chance to travel and pre-fish with such a strong team. Being able to pre- fish with such a team anchored by my friend Ted Takasaki was a two summer long walleye school.”
In the 2012 FLW Series held on Lake Oahe fishing with Pro John Campbell as a co- angler, Craig and John won the tournament. Craig also had a 5th place finish fishing in the CFGA Walleye Classic. In the 2013 season Craig fished in two events in the Cabela’s NWT and a MWC in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan south of the border.
In 2014 Craig will be fishing the NOWT sanctioned Mattagami First Nations Walleye Tournament June 7 & 8th, Cabela’s MWC Oconto Wisconsin June 21 & 22nd, Kiwanis International Walleye Tournament NOWT Sault Ste Marie July 12th & 13th, Mattagami Fall Classic Walleye Tournament September 6th & 7th, and the Cabela’s MWC Lake Erie September 27th & 28th. Craig will also be volunteering for the Lund AYA Event held at the Cache Campground on July 19th.
Who were some of the top anglers he had the opportunity to fish with over the years?
“Gary Parsons, Tommy Kemos, John Gilman, and Ted Takasaki. I have learned lots from James Patry, Dave Reid, Rock Bouchard, and Tory Garneau. You learn from everyone you fish with. Jimbo (Jim Patry) has been a big influence.”
What about the importance of strong support system?
“I would not be able to enjoy the freedom to fish if it wasn’t for many strong people. Owning a business (Krazy Krazy) is an everyday job but having key people who have been with me for many years and take a lot of that responsibility is a huge help. Most of all my fiancée Josee Bouchard is behind me all the way and she has seen first-hand what it takes to fish these tournaments and is my biggest cheerleader.”
I asked Craig what made you decide to make the jump from co-angler to Pro in the U.S. Walleye Circuit.
“I’m taking the next step towards the pro-am series by fishing the Cabelas’ MWC events – The premier team event trail in the USA – a great stepping stone. Ted Takasaki took the time to teach me what it takes to compete at that level and recommended a plan to learn and grow through the different series to reach the top level. The competition is getting better and better every year. With that, I believe that I have the appropriate skills to compete at a high level. Ted recommended a two-step plan… Fish the top team events and gain valuable experience at different U.S. lakes, rivers, and reservoirs at various times in the season. After that, go after the top Pro Am events. I am planning on gaining as much knowledge and experience possible in order to maximize my probability of success!”
A tip Craig would offer anyone that is thinking about fishing tournaments is not to be intimidated and remember you’re there to enjoy and learn, don’t lose sight of that.
Craig would like to thank his 2014 Sponsors; Lund Boats Canada, Mercury Outboards, Guiho Saw Sales and Marine, Samsung Canada, Salmo and Bait Rigs.
If you’re kicking around on Friday April 25th in the afternoon, Craig will be at Guiho Saw Sales and Marine for an in store promotion.
Are you passionate about fishing? Would you like to be featured in my series or do you own a lodge that you would like to be featured? Please feel free to contact me via email: email@example.com. Taking Bookings now, be sure to get your date confirmed as the Bookings are coming in quickly.
Original article appears on www.TimminsToday.com: Read About Lund Boat Pro Staffer, Craig Salmonson – Fishing the North with David W. Reid.Print This Post