HuntFishMB – Eric Labaupa
Manitoba may not immediately come to mind when talking about smallmouth bass. The big three of walleye, lake trout, and northern pike receive most of the press around these parts. World-class channel catfishing and stillwater trout fisheries are also highly regarded in this province, and rightfully so. But in the ever-growing global obsession with all things bass, Manitoba is a hugely untapped landscape. The Keystone province is home to a host of lakes and systems with solid populations of Master Angler smallmouths. ‘Bigguns’ regularly surpassing the trophy benchmark of 4lbs are abundant in our various waterways. The following are just a few places to explore this season where you can expect to hook into a tank.
One of the flagship lakes of the sprawling Whiteshell Provincial Park, this deep lake in the Eastern Region is well known to have chunky bass roaming its clear waters. Home to the annual Falcon Lake Bass Classic angling tournament, every year fish well beyond the 18inch Master Angler minimum mark are brought to weigh-in at the end of the day.
Other nearby waters to check out with bass just as big are Caddy, Star, and West Hawk.
This body of water in the Western Region may be small, but the smallies in it are definitely not. 21inch bass have been caught here both on open water and through the ice. Unlike more typical ‘shield’ lakes in other parts of the province, this prairie reservoir’s bass relate to the abundant shoreline vegetation and rip rap.
Other nearby lakes to check out for bass are Bower and William in Turtle Mountain Provincial Park.
One of the northernmost populations of smallmouth bass on the continent, Rocky Lake is home to trophy smallies in the Northern Region of Manitoba. Located just north of the town of The Pas, this large pristine body of water offers endless undeveloped shoreline and mid-lake structure to hunt down schools of monster bass.
Hidden at the farthest north end of the Eastern Region roads, this lake is located by the town of Bissett. Scores of bass approaching a massive 5lbs can be caught at this out of the way yet road accessible lake. Just outside of Nopiming Provincial Park, the area has numerous lakes that are teeming with lunker smalljaws.
Other nearby waters to check out with giant smallmouth are Quesnel, Tooth, and Manigotagan.
Lac Du Bonnet
This large body of water is part of the massive Winnipeg River system. Tank smallmouth are routinely caught in various areas of the lake be it in the fast-current stretches or quiet far back corners. Fish just as tall as they are long are a hallmark of the bass in this lake.
Other nearby sections of the Winnipeg River system to check out for smallmouth are Point du Bois, Nutimik Lake, and Pinawa.
Undoubtedly, avid bass anglers will know other hotspots that are not mentioned in this article. There are also lakes in Manitoba that have targetable populations of the smallies’ close cousin largemouth bass. Get out and try some new water and perhaps a new species this season. From the northern city of Thompson all the way down to the U.S. border, the province has plenty of bass waters just waiting to be explored.
For more information on fishing for smallmouth bass in Manitoba, visit our Smallmouth Bass page.