Fishing on Lake Winnipeg at Its Finest – Blackwater Cats

When it comes to fishing on Lake Winnipeg for giant greenback walleyes. You are talking about an experience that Donovan Pearase, owner, and operator of Blackwater Cats has spent over a decade perfecting. From experienced guides scattered across this frozen oasis in search of the next big bite – To decades of winters worth of knowledge and wisdom on this world-renowned body of water. Donovan has built Blackwater Cats into one of the most successful outfitting businesses on Lake Winnipeg.

A Day Fishing on Lake Winnipeg with Blackwater Cats 

When booking a trip to go Ice fishing on Lake Winnipeg with Blackwater cats. You can expect a seamless, well-organized excursion. Although Lake Winnipeg can be highly unpredictable, Donovan and his team have seen it all and are prepared for it all.

blackwater cats

Your day with Blackwater Cats will start by meeting Donovan at a designated access point. From there, Donovan and his guides will lead the way onto the lake to the first spot of the morning. Generally, this first spot of the morning is where Donovan left off the day before. This often ensures you’ll be in a fishy spot to start the morning. That alone is one of the biggest benefits of going on a trip with Donovan, with a team of full-time guides and no days off – They always have an incredibly good idea of where the pods of fish are located across this largely featureless body of water. 

Fishing on lake Winnipeg

Run and Gun Fishing on Lake Winnipeg For Greenback Walleyes 

On a trip we recently went on with Blackwater Cats, Donovan & his team of guides headed out across the lake directly to our first spot. Immediately the well-oiled machine, that is the blackwater cats team, began to scatter across the ice. They started drilling holes in every direction to begin the search of where these fish are on this morning.

ice fishing

The program for Donovan when it comes to getting onto the fish is best described as “Divide and Concur”. With holes drilled in all directions, Donovan sends his guests and guides to every corner and begins to pick apart the area. In each hole, a guest fishes Donovan makes it clear that if you aren’t marking any keep on moving. We listened intently to what Donvan had to say and began making micro-moves to the next hole. We continued repeating this process until we started to mark and began catching.

greenback walleye

A fishing Trip of a Lifetime

As one particular area started to produce a few bites. The rest of the crew migrates over and starts to surround the newfound school of walleyes. Before long, everyone was catching fish, and not just eater sized either. We’re talking Manitoba Master Angler sized 28″+ walleye began to surface all around us. It was almost hard to imagine how many big fish were surfacing around in our group. This really was one of the moments you had to take a second and appreciate what you were witnessing. The hooting and hollering of people yelling “Big Fish” seemed like it was non-stop. And each time we couldn’t help ourselves from quickly reeling up and enjoying those moments with the lucky anglers.

Fishing on lake Winnipeg

Everyone around us was not the only people catching giants, we got to join in on the festivities as well! As the dust settled at the end of the day, we witnessed a staggering amount of master angler walleye in just a short time – So much so that we lost count by the afternoon. Most anglers don’t have the opportunity to see that many giant walleye in their lifetime. But all you really need is just one day fishing on Lake Winnipeg with the Donavan and the elite Blackwater Cats crew. Truly a fishing day worth many lifetimes.

Fishing on lake Winnipeg

Preparing for your day with Blackwater Cats, Fishing on Lake Winnipeg

Blackwater Cats will generally look to traverse Lake Winnipeg in 4×4 Truck convoys as long as the lake allows for it. The convoy will meet on the shoreline and all travel together. Traversing the lake in a convoy ensures everyone makes it to the spot safely. If someone happens to get hung up, the group is there to help you out.

Fishing on lake Winnipeg

However, Manitoba’s harsh winters don’t always allow for truck travel to be possible. Deep snow, rough ice, and pressure ridges can all pose issues to ease of travel. In these conditions, Donovan will let you know what mode of transportation will be required for your trip beforehand so you can be prepared.

Don’t have a 4×4 truck or a tracked vehicle? Don’t sweat it, Blackwater Cats offers several different packages to accommodate anyone’s needs. From hitching a ride in their awesome tracked Suburban truck across the lake, jumping in one of the guide’s trucks, or even the opportunity to rent a snowmobile for the day.

Fishing on lake Winnipeg


1. The Walleye Slayer – Lake Winnipeg

For this package, guests provide their gear, equipment, tackle and transportation by 4×4 truck or tracked machine (snowmobile, tracked ATV etc). Within this package, Blackwater Cats has some extra fishing equipment to borrow if required. This package is designed for groups of one to eight guests and costs $550USD per day. However, if your group is bigger than 8 guests, there will be an extra fee of just under $70USD per guest over. Blackwater Cats are well known for their work ethic drilling holes for their guests. However, guests benefit by bringing an auger or two of their own. Especially large groups with multiple vehicles. This just ensures the maximum efficiency of your fishing times and only increases your shot at catching that monster greenback walleye of your dreams.

Fishing on lake Winnipeg

2. The Corporate All-Inclusive Trucks Only Lake Winnipeg Ice Fishing Trip

For this, all-inclusive package groups of 3 guests max will join one of the Blackwater Cats guides in their trucks. All the gear needed for the day of fishing on the lake will be provided; Including, Tents, heaters, augers, rods, reels, tackle, bait etc. This package has been highly popular for first-timers anglers looking to get into a fishing, casual fisherman and corporate groups. If the group is larger than 3 anglers Blackwater Cats can accommodate this by allocating as many guides necessary to accommodate your group. For this package, January bookings are guaranteed. However, if you are booking for February or March and truck Travel is not possible. You will be required to provide your own transportation to ensure everyone can get to the best fishing locations. This package is worth $600USD per day per 3 guests.

lake winnipeg outfitters

3. Deluxe Track Truck All Inclusive Lake Winnipeg Ice Fishing Trip

For this awesome package, Guests will book the Blackwater Cats Tracked Suburban to traverse across Lake Winnipeg in. Blackwater Cats can supply all the gear needed for the day; Including, including Tents, heaters, augers, rods, reels, tackle, bait etc. for groups of up to 4 people. This package is available only when 4×4 truck travel is not possible. This package costs $800USD per day and is only available from Monday to Friday each week of the season.

Fishing on lake Winnipeg

4. Snowmobile Rental

This package is available to Blackwater Cats Guests already booked in for their trip. If the group is short a tracked machine, Blackwater Cats will rent out one of theirs for just $150 per day.

Fishing on lake Winnipeg

A Word From Blackwater Cats:

“You might think that when ice fishing Lake Winnipeg for huge schools of trophy walleye you don’t need an ice fishing guide. Well, unfortunately, you can’t just drop a jig and hope to catch a giant trophy walleye. Up here the only thing bigger than the walleyes is the massive featureless bottom to search for fish and the constantly shifting ice ridges that need to be safely navigated. This is where a local Lake Winnipeg ice fishing guide on a good bite can make the difference between a great ice fishing trip and a long weekend searching for fish.

Walleye guide Donovan of Blackwater Cats and his guide team spend countless hours on the frozen surface searching for roaming schools of trophy greenback walleyes. Working together with a select group of expert local walleye guides and ice fishermen we are continuously scouting to stay on big schools of walleye. So rather than spending your vacation looking for walleye, let us do the work, so you can start your trip off catching walleye with a seasoned ice fishing guide”

greenback walleye

Top 5 Tips with Blackwater Cats

While we were fishing, we asked Donovan to give us his Top 5 Trip Tips for an ice fishing trip on Lake Winnipeg and this is what he shared with us.

1. Throwback Lure: 

On many occasions, you’ll mark a fish on the sonar that shows interest in your lure. Or perhaps it’ll even bump your lure but not quite get a hook in him. In these situations, it is important to have a couple of other rods rigged up and ready to go. Whether it be the same lure loaded up with fresh bait. Or even a different lure altogether. So when the above-stated situation arises. You can quickly reel up your lure and drop down a new presentation instantly to try and re-engage that fish.

Fishing on lake Winnipeg

2. Leader Length:

It’s easy to tie on a random leader length and say good enough. However, there is a bit more to a leader than meets the eye. If you take the time to make a leader just slightly longer than the thickness of the ice. The leader quickly becomes a multifunctional tool. When you are fighting a big fish and begin to see your leader come up the hole. You instantly know how far that fish is from the bottom of the ice, and its time to start taking it easy so not to knock the hook out on the bottom of the ice.

3. Lip Grip:  

The health of the fish is the number one priority in all scenarios. A lip grip is a critical component of that. Once you get your fish to the top of the hole. Place the lip grip on it. Then take the hook out while the fish is still mostly in the water. Place the fish back down in the hole and leave it submerged while you get your camera. Then, snap a super quick photo and release your trophy to be caught again.

blackwater cats

4. Equipment Care:

Lake Winnipeg is a beast and hard on equipment. It’s difficult for even the most organized anglers to not break something on each excursion out. But there are ways to prevent this. All you have to do is take the extra minute while packing or making a move. Make sure things are in safe places before you start moving to your next spot. It’s little things like this that can truly make or break your day on the ice. 

5. Trip Expectations:

Your trip will be much more enjoyable for everyone involved if everyone in your group starts with a good attitude. There is no question we all want to catch big fish. But be excited to catch fish of all sizes. Take the pressure off the guide, and just show up to have a good time. The big fish will come.

Fishing on lake Winnipeg

To learn more about Fishing on Lake Winnipeg with Blackwater Cats, visit the  Blackwater Cats website.
Check out our HuntFishMB ice fishing page for more content on Ice fishing all across the province!
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