WINNIPEG, MB - If you're looking for a hard-water angling adventure this winter, Manitoba has got you covered. Sure, the thought of visiting Manitoba between December and March when the province is in the middle of winter is not something people often think of. But avid anglers from all over the world wait all year to head to Manitoba for unmatched ice fishing opportunities.
Manitoba is highly-regarded as one of the best places in the world to catch world-class trophy fish. Whether you're looking for huge channel cats, the challenge of hooking a monster lake trout or pulling in that elusive northern pike, underneath the frozen waters of Manitoba's lakes and rivers is an exciting adventure that challenges even the most skilled anglers.
There is no shortage of different species located in the many lakes and rivers throughout the province, but there's one that has become a favorite during the fall and winter months in Manitoba and that's the gorgeous "greenback" walleyes. This amazing colour-phase walleye, which is unique to Lake Winnipeg, showcase iridescent, emerald green on its back and bright silver on its sides. The unique colouration, which is thought to be due to the limestone substrate around Lake Winnipeg, has helped it become one of the most popular and sought-after fish.
In addition to the angling adventure, the breathtaking landscapes surrounding the lakes and rivers are some of the most beautiful in North America. With remote fly-in resorts, hidden gems tucked away, or easily accessible drive-to lakes and rivers, there's something on the wish list for every angler.
North, South, East, or West, there's something for everyone
It doesn't matter what corner of the province you decide to visit, Manitoba provides a variety of signature angling experiences.
The northern part of the province is home to some of the biggest northern trout, walleye, and arctic grayling found anywhere. Whether you're a seasoned angler, a recreational angler, or someone who just loves the relaxation of fishing, there's a chance to hook a "fish of a lifetime" every time you throw your line down the hole. On record, there have been almost 70 pike over 50 inches caught while the provincial record, catch-and-release pike measured an amazing 60.5 inches.
If trout fishing is more your style, you may want to visit the Parkland Region. Known for its abundance of fly-fishing locations in and around Riding Mountain National Park, netting yourself a massive trophy trout during your visit is never out of the question. If you tire of catching trout (if that's even possible), the pristine lakes are also known for being stocked full of walleye and northern pike.
Anglers have been flocking to the eastern section of Manitoba for many years to fish for slab crappie. The east is so popular because of the many options it provides. With various drive-to and sled-to lakes such as Sailing, Big Whiteshell, and North Cross, the eastern part of Manitoba has become a favorite among hard-water anglers.
Don't overlook the western part of the province. In between the rolling hills and vast prairie landscapes lie several trophy trout waters located in the Turtle Mountains.
Lake Manitoba and the Red River highlight the southern portion of the province where largemouth bass, yellow perch, common carp, and walleye are found. Double-digit walleye are regularly found in many areas in the south such as Lockport, Chalet Beach, Selkirk, and Balsam Bay. With so many locations within an hour of Winnipeg, there's a good chance you'll have success on your next ice fishing trip in the south.
Manitoba lakes and rivers are some of the most breathtaking and beautiful in the world no matter what the season. This winter, take some time to chill out on the lakes and rivers in Manitoba. You'll be happy you did!
Bill Burfoot, The Hub Magazine
Photo by Scott Gardner