Epic Lake Winnipeg Ice Fishing Experience – Icebound Excursions

There are many different ways to get on the ice and go ice fishing. But perhaps the most efficient, comfortable, and portable method is a Snobear. Unfortunately, few people have the luxury to own one of these amazing machines for themselves. Fortunately, Mat Hobson of Icebound Excursions created a solution to this problem. Offering affordable daily rentals of his fleet of Snobears – Providing an epic Lake Winnipeg ice fishing experience.

Getting Icebound on Lake Winnipeg

After seeing all the awesome photos from Icebound Excursions and hearing glowing reviews, I had to take Mat up on a rental and booked a Snobear for a 3-day ice fishing adventure on Lake Winnipeg chasing monster greenback walleye. On this trip, I would be joined by Mat in his other snobear as we planned to run and gun across big windy.

On the first morning, I traveled to Mat’s home base located on the southwest shoreline of Lake Winnipeg. Upon arrival Mat already both bears running and warmed up. I hopped right into my machine as Mat gave me a rundown on all the controls and safety information for running the snobear. Before long we were loaded up and headed east across the lake towards the mouth of the Red River.

Lake Winnipeg Ice Fishing in Style

On this day big windy lived up to its name with intense winds whipping across the ice. Stepping out of the snobear into the elements sure made you appreciate the comfort level inside. After the 30-minute drive across the lake, we began fishing. With the aid of his Humminbird MEGA 360 imaging hole, Mat hopped, scouting the area for pods of big fish – and it wasn’t long until he found them.

Master Angler Lake Winnipeg Greenback Walleye

From my position, I could see Mat waving from his Snobear and I knew that meant he had a big fish on! Once I  got there just as he was pulling this giant eye up the hole. I almost couldn’t believe my eyes, only a short time into fishing and Mat had just pulled up a massive 29.5” Manitoba Master Angler greenback walleye. After snagging a couple of quick pictures the fish was released to grow into a 30-inches and be caught another day.

A short time later, once we resumed fishing, Mat called me and told me to head on over about 50 yards to the south of him, he said he had just seen a big fish on his 360 imagery and it was heading that way. I lifted the snobear and quickly made my way over there and set up. Only minutes into fishing, sure enough, a massive mark showed up on my screen a slammed my rattle bait. Immediately I knew this fish had a lot of weight compared to the smaller ones I had been catching throughout the morning. An intense battle ensued and before long I was able to get this fish’s massive head up the hole. A view like that just never gets old. This beautiful walleye measured just under 28” and quickly went back into the water.

The Ultimate Lake Winnipeg Ice Fishing Machine

The ease of fishing out of a snobear played a huge factor in catching that fish. Being able to pick up from fishing and move to a new spot in just minutes allowed us to get on top of that big fish and be in a position to catch it. Running and gunning in inhospitable outdoor conditions is hard, had we been in a pop-up shack, a move like that would have taken much longer. That situation alone proved to me that there is not a more efficient way to hole hop in conditions like we had that day.

Double Header Greenback Walleye 

The day had already exceeded my expectations but we weren’t done there. We continued to ice big fish after big fish mixed in with good numbers of eating-sized walleye. Nearing the end of the day, Mat found another school of big walleye on the 360 imaging, we set our Snobears up side by side and began to drop down on the school. Excitedly Mat says to me, get ready a big fish is coming your way, and seconds later, I was hooked up! As I’m fighting yet another heavy fish, I looked over and Mat’s rod was buckled over too! We both landed our fish with a 29” and a 27.75”’ double header! This was an incredible way to cap off our first day on the ice. We made our way back to shore as I headed home to prepare for day 2.

Ice Fishing Lake Winnipeg in a Blizzard… Comfortably 

The next day brought with it even worst conditions. Extreme cold warnings, high winds, and snow – creating near whiteout conditions on the ice. Another day in which I was extremely happy to be in a snobear. We pushed out across the lake navigating only by using the Humminbird Helix 9 following the mapped-out trail.

With the massive weather swing, the bite was much slower on this day. We managed to pick off a handful of eaters throughout the day. However, the chance of catching a big fish seemed less and less likely as this cold day began passing by. Nearing the completion of the day, I heard a few honks coming across from Mat’s snobear, I knew this could only mean one thing. After a slower day of fishing, seemingly out of nowhere, he was hooked into a massive walleye. With huge headshakes Mat kept the tension and played the fish perfectly, bringing up a tank, 29.75” walleye!

Big Windy… and Beautiful Views 

We capped off the day riding the high of landing that big walleye and headed into shore for the night. The following day hit us yet again with extremely cold weather, strong winds, and a slow bite. As the sun began to crest the horizon. We were treated to an incredible sun dog spanning across the eastern expanses of the lake.

Not finding the fish we were looking for near the mouth of the Red. Mat decided to move out into deeper water to try to find some more active fish. We moved into about 20 feet of water and began fishing. A short time into fishing we began to see some suspended, mid-column marks begin rolling through. As we started reeling up to them, we quickly discovered that these marks were cruising active walleye. Nearly every suspended mark we reeled up to would slam our lures within seconds. We were able to catch a handful this way for the remainder of the day but were unsuccessful in hooking into another giant.

Capping off an Epic Lake Winnipeg Ice Fishing Experiance 

As the sun set on the final day of with Icebound Excursions, I was completely blown away by the experience. Apart from traversing the lake in the ultimate ice fishing machine. Mat’s expertise on Lake Winnipeg and its walleyes are what truly made the trip. He works his butt off on this lake and when you watch the way he breaks things down and finds the fish, its shows. With the weather we were dealt for the 3 days on the lake. I was completely sold on Snobears and the fact that fishing out ofthem is the best option for those conditions. I will be booking a trip with Mat again in the future!

Top 5 Tips Leading into your trip with Icebound Excursions
  1. GPS Navigation:

    Lake Winnipeg is a big lake that can turn dangerous in a hurry. Booking with Icebound ensures safe navigation across the frozen landscape.

  2. Plan ahead:

    Stay up to date on lake conditions. Often into January wheeled traffic becomes limited. Be sure to plan ahead and bring tracks if needed or look into reserving a snobear for ypur arrival.

  3. Rods:

    When fishing with us we reccomend a 28-32′ Medium – fast action rod to ensure you get a solifd hookset in the Snobear.

  4. Lures:

    For Lake Winnipeg, having a good selection of flutter spoons, crank baits, smaller finess baits is a good strategy to have to ensure you will have something they wil want to eat on that day.

  5. Cadance of the lure:

    On Lake Winnipeg, some days the walleye want to chase big aggresive jigs with spoons or crank baits. However some days some days they just want you to flutter it in front of your face. Play around with different cadances if the bite has slowed down and that could completely chaange your day around.

How To Drive a SnoBear – Icebound Excursions 

Still a little unsure about heading onto the Lake Winnipeg with a Snobear? Check out this video, where Mat from icebound Excursion gives a complete rundown from A-Z of all you need to know leading into your trip.

To learn more about Lake Winnipeg Ice fishing in a Snobear, visit the Icebound Excursions website.
Check out our HuntFishMB ice fishing page for more content around Ice fishing Lake Trout in Manitoba and beyond.

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Written by: Keevin Erickson