Manitoba’s Best Fishing Hot Spots

Learn how to get those walleye biting!

Read these 15 tips for successful angling.

The six lures you must have!

Manitoba’s Best Fishing Hot Spots: Within a two-hour drive of Winnipeg, almost every freshwater fish species swimming in Manitoba’s waters is available to the open-water angler.

1. Right at the top of the list of locations is the mighty Red River that flows through the capital on its way to Lake Winnipeg. This major waterway hosts numerous fish species, and boasts a world-class channel cat reputation, both inside the city and to the north down stream from Lockport. Access is easy for both shore anglers and those with watercraft.  Current edges and holes on outside bends are favorite haunts of these heavy hitting, hard fighting behemoths, with slip-weight/circle hook presentations on stout rods favoured. Fresh cut bait (goldeye, tulibee, sucker), shrimp and frogs will produce action throughout the spring and summer. Most Red River anglers switch to walleye gear in the fall for the annual greenback run up the river from Lake Winnipeg. That’s the time for walleye in the 30-inch-plus range to be caught, their football-sized girths generating weights well into the teens.

2. Head west along the Trans-Canada Highway past Portage la Prairie to Highway 16 and then 242 to reach Lynchs Point and the Whitemud River. This waterway actually crosses Highway 16 several times as it flows from the west into the south basin of Lake Manitoba so access for shore anglers is relatively easy. The Whitemud is famous for its population of huge freshwater drum. While they are well down the list of preferred species for consumption, these silver monsters provide plenty of wrist-aching action and master angler size (24-inches-plus). Worms on pickerel rigs on medium- to heavy-action rods work well. Bring plenty of worms, switch to high quality snelled hooks for effective hook-ups and don’t be surprised if  a walleye or two come calling.

3. Lake Minnewasta just west of Morden on Highway 3 is an open-water favourite for anglers looking to test their skills on black crappie. There is plenty of accessible shoreline for the shore angler as well as boat launching facilities for those who chose to be more mobile. Using light tackle, cast small jigs tipped with plastic tails to waters adjacent to rushes, weed beds and underwater structures to connect with these feisty slabs, and don’t be surprised if you find some chunky eater-size walleye in the mix.

4. A bit further afield but well worth the trip is Shoe Lake in Nopiming Provincial Park.  Head northeast from Lac du Bonnet to #314 and expect some rough gravel after you leave the paved section beyond Tall Timber Lodge. There is a decent boat launch and some shore access available for testing this body of water for its prodigious population of aggressive smallmouth bass. Daily catches in excess of 30 bass per angler are common, with plenty of opportunity for fish pushing master angler size (18 inches).  When you’ve covered the water for active fish with topwater and jerk-baits, toss in a plastic worm or leech below a split shot and pick up the stragglers. Don’t forget the mid-lake reefs for some great walleye action as well.

5. No report on fishing in Manitoba would be complete without a focus on the Winnipeg River system. This waterway frequently opens up into lake-sized proportions and flows all the way from Lake of the Woods in northwestern Ontario through Manitoba’s Canadian Shield country until it finally empties into Lake Winnipeg. The fishing opportunities this system provides are world class, as anglers regularly line up to find accommodation at the many lodges scattered along its length. For the weekend angler, numerous boat launches and accessible shorelines provide opportunities to sample the walleye, jumbo perch, white bass, smallmouth, northern pike and sturgeon that inhabit this waterway. Head east to Lac du Bonnet, Pinawa, Seven Sisters or Point du Bois to sample the fishing action, and don’t forget the fall greenback run below the dam at Pine Falls and into Traverse Bay.

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