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Last year, we put together “The Best of 2020” to look back at a few of the great things that happened in 2020 (despite the turmoil).
We have had some major disruptions the last few weeks, so have decided February is the new January. We wanted to take a moment to appreciate a few of the positives in 2021. It was a quiet year on the public eye front, but very busy in the factory. Here are 10 cool things that happened in the Len Thompson world last year...
1. We grew our team and keep pumping out your favourite Canadian made lures each day.
We now employ 33 staff at our factory in Lacombe, Alberta, Canada. Check out this special moment when we hit over 100,000 lures made in the month of April.
2. Fishing for Food Banks launched for a second year with a new set of limited edition patterns. We raised $16,840 and supported 35 communities across Canada. Learn more.
3. We landed in the Guinness BOOK of World Records for 2022! Does that make it extra official?
We had no idea the World's Largest Fishing Lure was being featured until after the book was published. It was an awesome surprise! If you come across a copy, flip to page 99.
4. Speaking of the World's Largest Fishing Lure, Leroy & Leroy visited Lacombe and their video got over one MILLION views on TikTok.*
*We are still not on TikTok. Do you think we should be?
5. Jess caught her first Laker (on a Northern King). A special thank you to Scott Bulat for the adventure on Cold Lake, Alberta.
6. We helped stock ponds in partnership with Blindman Brewing.
7. Speaking of ponds… the Lacombe Fish & Game Association's Kids Can Catch Day was a success! This event, hosted at the Len Thompson Pond in Lacombe, is our favourite family activity each year. It had been cancelled in 2020 so it felt extra amazing seeing so many people out stocking fish with the help of Smoky Trout Farm.
8. We created special edition Silver Salmon Challenge Lures which helped raise $2000 for the Metro East Anglers. The MEA operates the Ringwood Fish Culture Station where the main focus is the rearing and marking of the entire Ontario production of Chinook Salmon for Lake Ontario.
9. Ellie (5 years old) caught her first fish!
This may have been the most exciting news of the year... Brad and Rachel’s daughter Ellie spent many hours exploring local trout ponds this summer with her Dad. She landed her very first solo catch in the Spring. She doesn't look happy about it at all.
10. We finally got an updated Pallister family photo. Thank you for supporting our 4th generation family business.
We often get asked if we can identify when a "vintage" Len Thompson was made. The best we can do is provide a ballpark by having a look at the packaging.
Carded Len Thompson lures were the norm until 1983. Cards printed "Made in Abernethy" indicate lures made in Saskatchewan before the factory was moved to Alberta in 1958. Cards printed "Made in Lacombe" indicates lures made after 1958.
In 1983, foil packaging was introduced. In historical documents, former President Richard Pallister, admits that the change to Multivac packaging machine caused a fair share of frustration. I love this story of how family friend Tolson Russell came to the rescue...
"Tolson showed up one day. I’d known him as a carpenter and a printer. I didn’t know of his millwright skills. He asked me to explain what was happening. I flushed, raised my voice a half octave and proceeded to tell him this bloody machine will never work! He relied confidently, “Sure it will, it’s just a f&%ing machine.” Tolson was known to spread the hockey word around liberally.
He suggested we start at the beginning. I told him the problem was in the sealing area, not the plastic feeding area. He calmly suggested it’s best to start at the beginning. He watched the machine run paying particular attention to the pick-up chain, hit the emergency stop button, fiddled with the pick-up for a few minutes, re-set emergency and asked Ron to run the machine. Voila, the plastic went smoothly and obediently into the Multivac for the first time in months. "
The foil packaging wasn't the prettiest package, but it was functional. Universal Product Codes (UPC barcodes) were the next challenge as more retailers were requiring this. After receiving our Manufacturer’s number, we soon began stapling header cards on top of the plastic package to identify items.
In the 90s, plans to launch the Platinum Series were on the horizon and the Multivac machine was retired in favour for blister/card packaging. By 1998, all packaging had switched over to the new style.
Although the card designs have seen a few tweaks over the years, this is still how Len Thompson Lures are branded on store shelves today.
Len Thompson is best known as a casting and trolling spoon that's effective for many species.
However, many anglers also use spoons on the ice. We threw out a poll on social media and 81.2% claimed using our spoons while ice fishing.
Why jig a spoon?
The benefit to using a spoon instead of a jig is that a spoon will give off an attractive flash to grab the attention of fish. The profile of the spoon is also easier to see versus a jig. A heavy spoon (like a Len Thompson) will get down to where the fish are much like a jig.
Richard Pallister (former LT President) describes using a spoon ice fishing as a "more aggressive presentation" which can be useful in the right circumstance.
"A jigged LT doesn't have an opportunity to swing its butt, to thump through the water, which I think is the key to the spoon working so well [while casting/trolling].
Sure, they work while jigging, in some cases better than most anything else. For example, when the newly stocked Lake Whitefish spawned over the gravel at Wilson's Beach in the 1990's, a danced LT would catch far more fish than a maggot on a wire worm. I took a lifetime tackle industry friend to Wilson's late in November. We walked out from shore, Terry Korth in his tasselled leather city shoes, drilled a hole in six feet of water, popped up a tent, attached a No. 6 FW on a short ice fishing rod, sat back and watched as Terry caught the "most fish he has ever caught at one sitting". Ask him about it today and he's still giggling."
Okay... So let's just say that maybe it's a good idea to pack a few spoons for those days where they work "better than anything else." We asked a few or our Brand Ambassadors (who fish WAY more than we do) on their top spoon choices during the Winter months.
Fishing the Wild West TV host Wes David likes to tie on our smallest spoons while targeting a variety of species, including Rainbow Trout.
"My favorite colours are solid gold (brass) or silver spoons or lures that have gold, silver, orange, and yellows blended within the lure. These lures give off a great deal of flash and vibration in the deeper water. The colours also resemble baitfish such as minnows, perch, walleye, and whitefish which are a common meal for predator fish."
Wes suggests that when it comes to jigging it's all in the technique.
"Make sure you snap your rod up quickly when ice fishing a Len Thompson lure. The vibration that's created in the aggressive movement of the spoon will attract fish by sending a vibration through the water reaching the fish's lateral line from farther away."
Scott Bulat has one go-to technique where he uses the largest size of Len Thompson on the ice to trigger more aggression. Here he's sporting the No. 4 LF Lemon Flame. UV stands for Ultra Violet. These colours are often fluorescent Lemon Yellows, Pinks, Oranges and Greens. These UV bright colours hold their colour at deeper levels. Glow Series spoons can also be used for maximum visibility.
Scott recording a really cool video while diving a few years back on how colours change underwater. The video posted below was taken in tropical waters, but it still gives you an idea on colour and its relationship with depth.
Lisa Roper's favourite Dimpled Series spoon is the Grey Ghost. The Dimpled spoon is a great and under appreciated choice as it causes more vibration in the water and the dimples create extra light reflection/flash.
Lisa also has a great tip on keeping fish wet and safe by drilling a live well. Check out this video.
Of course, there's always the trusted Five of Diamonds. Terry Allington, who is the man behind the camera for the former fishing show, Fishing Saskachewan likes to stick to his favourite No. 00 YR. He caught his PB walleye on the spoon.
Fun fact: Terry is also the guy with the Five of Diamonds tattooed on his leg.
Our Northern King spoon is designed for trolling. The spoons are light but also very shiney. The silver plating reflect light in even the darkest conditions. Here's how Al Benoit sets his NK spoon up as a flasher during the hard water season. He swears by this technique for targeting Lake Trout.
Top Three Ice Fishing Tips
Now get out there. Relax. Have fun!
Worried about your shopping list? Don't panic! Here are our top favourite gift ideas for your favourite angler(s). Thank you for supporting our Canadian family business!
HOLIDAY SHIPPING NOTICE: Free shipping on orders over $75. We ship all parcels with Canada Post and can't guarantee delivery times. We recommend you order before Sunday, December 12, 2021 to avoid shipping delays.
Cost: $8.00 each ($4 from each sale is donated)
Holiday Promo: Buy 5 get the 6th lure FREE!
We have relaunched our Fishing for Food Banks lures just in time for the holidays… 50% of each limited edition lure purchased supports Canadian food banks. Proudly Made in Canada. Learn more.
Holiday Greeting Lures
Season's Greetings & Merry Christmas Gift Lures make the perfect stocking stuffer. Only available online. Proudly Made in Canada. Cost: $5.69 each
Children's Book & Hook
Fishing with Grandpa by Jessica Pallister-Dew
Cost (Reg): $19.99
Holiday Promo: $15.99
Featuring bright photography and colourful illustration, this story is about a Grandpa teaching his two grandchildren — Ellie and Max — to fish. Grandpa must exercise patience while encouraging the kids to do the same.
Fishing with Grandpa will speak to each and every angler who has ever taught a child how to fish (and the kids will love it too!)
Proudly written, illustrated and printed in Canada!
We have a great selection of t-shirts, hat designs and even Five of Diamonds SOCKS! Some quantities are limited. View our full SWAG assortment here!
SHop YOUR LOCAL RETAILER!
An angler can never have too many lures. Our lures are well stocked in many outdoor retailers across Canada. Please visit your local tackle retailer to check out their in-stock Len Thompson, Northern King and True North products.
If you can't find what you are looking in store, find our full assortment here.
OUR OTHER BRANDS
Lacombe Based Partnership Stocks Six Local Ponds
Len Thompson Lures and Blindman Brewing Conservation Initiative Donates 2,800 Rainbow Trout
In 2019, Blindman Brewing approached the owners of Len Thompson Lures with an idea. “We wanted to craft a delicious pilsner style beer that was refreshing, and appealing to the large community of anglers,” says Hans Doef of Blindman Brewing. “Len Thompson Lures has a very well known brand and was located just a couple minutes away from the brewery, and we thought there would be a great collaboration opportunity to make a Five of Diamonds beer.”
Blindman’s commitment to high quality products, wide distribution and vision for the product and packaging ultimately led to the roll out of the first batch of Five of Diamonds Pilsner in the summer of 2019. But there was a catch…
“Having a cold beer after a day of fishing is an essential part of a successful day of fishing for a lot of anglers,” said Brad Pallister, President of Len Thompson Lures. “However, we wanted to make this into something bigger than just a good beer. We wanted to turn it into more of a community initiative,” said Pallister. “We receive a small royalty on every can of Five of Diamonds Pilsner sold, and we are donating 100% of that royalty to conservation and outdoor related initiatives, organizations and events.”
This fall, Smoky Trout Farm Limited out of Red Deer County stocked six different public ponds with a total of 2,800 Rainbow Trout funded by proceeds from Five of Diamonds Pilsner sales.
When choosing where to stock, Len Thompson Lures focused on public ponds located near urban centers in Central Alberta. Additionally, the ponds chosen had to have a higher likelihood that fish would successfully survive through the winter. Six locations were chosen and approved by the Alberta Conservation Association including the Camrose County Nature Conservation Center (Camrose, Alberta), Winchell Lake (Water Valley, Alberta), Boulder Lake (Blackfalds, Alberta), Rays Pond (Red Deer County, Alberta), Mound Red Reservoir (Wetaskiwin County, Alberta), Lacombe East Stormwater Pond (Lacombe, Alberta).
Camrose County received the largest amount of trout of these stockings. When asked about what the extra fish mean for the Centre, Camrose County Reeve Cindy Trautman laughs. “I always get quizzed as to when and whether the pond has been stocked. It’s very popular, so the more fish we have in the pond, the better the fishing! It’s wonderful for the facility, and we are so thankful to Len Thompson Lures and Blindman Brewing for their 1,000 additional fish contribution on top of the 1,500 trout put in by the County.”
Blindman Brewing and Len Thompson Lures look forward to more stockings in the future while also expanding their reach to support other programs and organizations that serve and support the angling community.