HuntFishMB Contributor – Chris Chorney
As fast moving water begins ripping through tributaries, providing superb spawning grounds across the province, there’s no better excuse for calling in sick, gathering up the crew, and heading down to the Whitemud River.
Carving its way through the southern end of Manitoba, this often overlooked watercourse emptying into Lake Manitoba’s south basin is a spring-time hot spot for large concentrations of massive walleyes. Located only a few miles north of Westbourne off Hwy.16, Sportsman’s Corner provides bait, tackle, fishing licences, and a public boat launch that leads to an amazing day of non-stop rod bending, drag peeling action. Traveling up this winding waterway, while heading north from the launch, you will find unlimited prime angling opportunities. Encasing its underwater jewels in between castle-like walls of cattails along the way makes fishing in nearly any weather possible on the river.
Consisting of mainly a silt bottom and hidden gravel shoals, averaging a depth of 5-14 feet, the Whitemud River is no stranger to big fish. The first month of opening season is the best time to target these spawned out walleyes, as they begin the journey to their inland home. Worn out and willing to snap at nearly anything in their grasp, these ferocious feeders have only one thing on their mind.
Near the channel’s end, also described as the river’s mouth, you will find what appear to be shadows cast across the surface of the water. This cloud-like pattern, caused by water expelling into the lake, forms a variation in water clarity, a clean to dirty water seam. Work along these seams using a trolling motor, drifting or dropping anchor to find large schools of fish. When conditions are right, these muddy water seams are easily noticeable and create excellent ambush points.
Targeting these highly active fish this time of year is a lot of fun. Attacking nearly anything you throw at them, I have found a few methods that seem to produce better for me. Drift jigging, depending on wind direction and the area you are trying to cover, works very well. Slowly moving along is a great way to quickly cover large areas and stay on top of active fish. My personal bait preference when using this approach is a jig or vertical jigging rap, as light as possible, while still making occasional contact with bottom.
Trolling is another great option and an excellent way to cover large areas in a short time. Trolling upstream, against the current if possible, can slow your travel speed while still allowing your bait to maintain maximum action, putting you in the strike zone longer. Crankbaits are my preferred choice. Due to water clarity, I find bright colours work the best.
Along with massive walleyes, the Whitemud River is home to a wide variety of species found in large numbers and trophy sizes this time of year, making it an excellent choice for anglers of all ages and skill levels. Easy accessibility makes it a great location to bring your friends or family for a great day of fishing!