With the holiday season just around the corner, many anglers will be looking to get out on the water as the ice fishing season is well on its way throughout the province. Most lakes now have good amounts of ice for walking and have been seeing snowmobile travel, especially with the recent snowfall. As we look forward to starting the new year soon, here is a look back on some of the phenomenal catches from Manitoban anglers throughout December in the month’s ice fishing report.
Lake Winnipeg (South Basin) & Red River – Trophy Multispecies
Whether you’ve been reminiscing about getting back onto the big lake to take advantage of the incredible walleye fishery, or it’s your first time heading out onto the river – it’s safe to say the greenback fishing so far this year has been exceptional.
Lake Winnipeg and the Red River north of Lockport have finally frozen up with varying ice thicknesses. Due to the recent varying temperatures, vehicle travel is not yet recommended however anglers have been heading out on foot or with snowmobiles and ATVs. If you do plan on heading out, ensure to check the ice thickness, avoid ridges, and take all safety precautions.
Undoubtedly, walleye are the most targeted species in these bodies of water during the hardwater months. However, goldeyes provide an exciting opportunity throughout the winter. If you’ve ever fished the Red River and noticed suspended marks coming through quickly, those are likely goldeye. Downsizing to smaller bait can be an effective way to target these nimble fish.
Another species less often targeted in these waters are northern pike. Pike can be found plentifully around all of Lake Winnipeg and its tributaries, with some true giants roaming these waters!
Eastern Region – Slab Crappies & Giant Tullibee
One of the most popular species to target through December is the black crappie. These can be typically found in the deeper basins of lakes schooled up in big groups to make for an action-packed day on the ice. To protect these crappies against barotrauma it is recommended to only target them in 30 feet of water or less.
The Eastern Region provides phenomenal opportunities for crappies throughout the Whiteshell River chain of lakes such as Brereton Lake and White Lake.
Nearby Big Whiteshell Lake is a hidden gem that regularly produces giant cisco (tullibee) – this year being no exception with several big ciscoes already caught.
Western Region Ice Fishing Report – Stunning Tigers & Beautiful Brown Trout
The hot trout bite has continued through the past few weeks with anglers catching some beautiful tiger trout and brown trout. Twin Lakes continues to provide anglers with a unique experience with the stunning hybrid tiger trout making it a must for any hardwater bucket list this winter!
Patterson Lake has also been producing beautiful trophy brown trout as one of the prime trout lakes in the Western Region. Remember to always use caution on trout lakes as many are aerated to sustain the trout through the winter and will typically have visible open water around the aerator.
A Look into January
If you’re looking to start off the new year with a thrilling adventure, then there is no better way to kick things off than going after some lake trout! Without a doubt, one of the most exciting species to target through the ice, lake trout put even the best ice rods to the test. Each winter many 40-inch-plus beasts get pulled through the ice across the North.
From all of us here at HuntFishMB we wish you very happy holidays and a great new year! Best of luck on the ice with whatever your pursuit may be, and most importantly, stay safe!
Written by: Petro Hrynda