Tiger Trout: Manitoba’s Hard-hitting Hybrid

HuntFishMB Contributor: Chris Chorney

Located in the Parkland region of Manitoba, a half hour north of Roblin on Hwy 83, lies a lake known to anglers as Twin Lakes. Embedded along the vast southern foothills of Duck Mountain Provincial Park and connected to what seems like a never-ending chain of pristine multi-species fisheries, Twin Lakes remains in a category of its own. It is home to the infamous tiger trout, a genetically formulated hybrid cross between the brook trout and brown trout. Living up to its name, these fish are often described as territorial predators that can be extremely aggressive at certain times of the year.

The distinct maze-like markings, found more defined on male tiger trout, contribute to their stealthy ambush attacks. They prefer to patrol weed line edges almost invisibly a foot or two off bottom, focusing in closely for any moving objects darting in and out of the thick vegetation. Their light reddish undersides, resembling a gorgeous sunset, along with their tinted golden backs similar to the effect you see peering through a sight hole, complement their torpedo shaped bodies. These markings allow these highly accurate hunters to successfully capture their next meal virtually anywhere throughout the water column.

Underwater cameras, GPS, and sonar have evolved immensely over the years, supplying anglers with a wide range of options for that added edge. They are amazing tools for sourcing out prime locations quickly. Allowing you to spend more time fishing.

Targeting fish of any species during their most active times of the year is always the best avenue for a successful trip. The March to May and October to December periods are great times to dial in on trout of any species here in Manitoba. That being said my personal experiences have had me focus most of my time fishing the first and last signs of safe ice, but always considering safety as number one priority.

Focus on prime locations like quick transitions for example. Those can be an abrupt depth change or perhaps a significant difference in the quality of vegetation over a short distance. Another is long shallow peninsulas covered in healthy foliage protruding into the main portion of the lake, or otherwise known as the deepest areas. These locations tend to hold higher concentrations of smaller aquatic life. Also, any vegetation, dead or alive, can offer security. The greener and thicker the better. Traveling shorter distances while maintaining good cover can mean the difference between life and death for the preyed upon.

What to do once you have found a few spots that spike your confidence levels. Depending on the time you have available, and also respecting other anglers on the lake, try heading out mid-afternoon and drill a few holes in your scouted locations. After a few hours return as stealthily as possible and don’t forget your camera. This works extremely well during late season ice when average temperatures remain on the plus side. It’s a great way to ensure the best possible chance at setting your hook into pound for pound the scrappiest trout around.

Small jigging spoons 3/4”-2” in length can be found in a variety of bright coloured, shiny patterns in all different types of textures. Throughout my countless hours spent pursuing trout, I’ve experienced greater success presenting flashy spoons during low light conditions such as cloudy days, early morning, and late evening. Down sizing during mid-day to a 1/16oz – 1/8oz jig tipped with an artificial trout bait can keep things productive. Some colors that have been proven to work well for me include green, black, orange, and pink with a garlic paste in either orange or green. Since most artificial trout baits float, coating a small hook with paste and securing a split-shot to the line above the hook allows the hook to suspend itself at any depth you choose. Don’t hesitate to get creative customizing standard lures, like switching treble hooks to single hooks, trimming down hair jigs, etc. Trout are equipped with tremendous eyesight, remaining on alert and staying sensitive to their surroundings, which make these fish some of the top freshwater predators.

Since 2004 over 20,000 tiger trout have been successfully released in Twin Lakes. Provincial record breaking catches continue to be recorded into the Manitoba Master Angler Program year after year. Colossal hybrid giants like this 27.75”fish are clear signs Manitoba’s Parkland region has become a flourishing sanctuary for these rare, highly sought after, one of a kind trout!

For more information on fishing for tigers in Manitoba, visit our Tiger Trout page.