CampFishCookMB: Lake of the Prairies
Who doesn’t like a good camping, fishing, and cooking vacation!?
There really isn't many better ways to spend the weekend, than to grab your family or friends and head out to one of the many campgrounds all across the province; to enjoy Manitoba's outdoors. In every region of the province you will find an awesome selection of campgrounds, many of which are adjacent to outstanding fisheries. These trips are super affordable and can be as inexpensive as you want them to be. Grab a tent, a rod and reel combo, some cooking supplies and go catch dinner!
Lake of the Prairies
Recently, Keevin and I went on a short road trip to Manitoba’s Parkland Region to hit up one of Manitoba’s most amazing and unique fisheries, Lake of the Prairies. Also known as the Shellmouth Reservoir, this water body is a man-made reservoir on the Assiniboine River. The Shellmouth Dam, located on the south end of the lake, was created as part of a strategy to reduce flooding on the Assiniboine and thus in Winnipeg. Although interesting, what we really care about is the fishing, and trust me, its outstanding. If I had to sum up walleye fishing at Lake of the Prairies, I would say: On a bad day, it's a good day.
We stayed at Ricker’s Campground which is conveniently located right off highway #5 beside the bridge over Lake of the Prairies. With asphalt all the way from Winnipeg, excellent campsites and a great boat launch and dock. There wasn’t a part of our trip that didn’t run smoothly. Ricker’s also has a convenience store called Buckets. Bucket’s is located right in the campground and within sight of the boat launch. They have all the necessities like food, snacks, ice, bait, tackle, firewood, and even a diner with a patio. In the event you forget something at home, they will more than have you covered. Take out poutine after a day on the water? Yes please! There is also a filet shack, bathrooms, and showers at your disposal.
A Premiere Fishery
Lake of the Prairies is an absolutely incredible fishery. All season long, you can catch both numbers and size of walleye which makes it such a fun place for a weekend getaway. If you want to just catch a couple small fish, to keep and cook up an awesome fish recipe at the campsite, you can do that. If you want to target big fish and try to catch your personal best walleye, you can do that too.
Time for Fishing
We started out under the bridge within sight of the boat launch. All we did was just back trolled into the current to keep us in the same spot. We were using the trusty jig and a minnow on the wicked strong 1/4 oz Reelbait Flasher jigs. We were vertically jigging just off of bottom in anywhere from 12-18 feet of water. This is definitely the most common technique for catching fish on this body of water. Just fishing at the bridge alone, we caught enough for fish for dinner every day.
Exploring the Lake with Swimbaits
We ventured out to different areas on this stunning lake. We did it to find new fish, but also to soak in the amazing views of Lake of the Prairies. The valleys are breathtaking and really makes you feel like you’re deep in the wilderness. We caught fish at all of the spots we fished and finally I decided to change things up. As Keevin jigged, I wanted to try and cast to shorelines and try to catch a walleye on a swimbait.
So, I ripped the minnow off my jig and put on a trusty 4’’ black and silver paddle tail and let her fly. It took a couple casts to find my rhythm, but once I slowed my retrieve enough to just bouncing it off bottom…Boom! Fish on! I continued to boat a handful of mid-sized walleyes, while just fan casting toward the shoreline. The key for me was to really slow my retrieve and keep that jig down there and it sure paid off.
Our equipment for the entire time we fished was very simple. We used basic spinning rods that were medium action and about 6-7 feet in length. On the reel, 10-pound braid that was tied to a 10-pound fluorocarbon leader. We used 1/4-1/2 oz jigs and spent most of our time fishing 12-18 feet.
Lake of the Prairies also has great northern pike fishing as well as outstanding common carp fishing. The quality of carp that come out of that body of water is simply breathtaking. Come winter, anglers hit the ice in great numbers and land monster walleyes and northern pike on a very regular basis.
When we go on fishing trips, we really like to cook. We also like to eat good so that goes hand -in-hand. Once we made it back to the boat launch, we made the "long" 1-minute drive back to the campsite. We quickly got the fire going and started prepping dinner. The recipe of choice for this evening was one of our all-time favorites: fish tacos. Fish tacos are awesome for camping trips because they are genuinely pretty easy to make and very customizable. Cut up your fish, bring wraps, and then it’s basically up to you on what toppings you want to include. For a complete list of ingredients and steps from our recipe, visit the next section!
We cooked up our fish and inhaled our tacos which were absolutely delicious. As the evening rolled on, we made our way down to the lake and threw in a few casts from shore at sunset. After being treated to some amazing valley views we headed back to further enjoy our campsite.
After returning to our quiet, enclosed campsite from our evening shore fishing adventure, we just wanted to relax. We sat around the fire as the setting suns light faded away. Feeling secluded and tucked away in our own little corner of this beautiful Parkland Region campground.
- 4 medium walleye fillets
- 8 small soft taco shells
- 2 cups fish batter
- 1 cup shredded cheese
- 1 cup chopped lettuce
- 1 cup diced tomatoes
- ½ cup sliced red peppers
- ½ cup sliced green peppers
- ½ cup sliced yellow onion
- ½ cup sour cream
- ½ cup mild salsa
- ½ cup guacamole
- ½ cup butter
- 3 cups canola oil
How to Make It
- Cut walleye fillets into 2” lengths. Place into a medium plastic freezer bag with 2 cups of fish batter. Shake bag until fish is evenly coated.
- Heat 3 cups of canola oil in a large cast iron frying pan. Fry walleye until crisp on both sides, about 2-3 minutes per side. Put fish aside, keep warm.
- Heat 1/2 cup of butter in a large cast iron frying pan. Sauté the peppers and onions until soft.
- Place fried walleye on a soft tortilla shell. Add lettuce, tomato, peppers and onions, sour cream, guacamole, salsa, and cheese. Top with hot sauce for extra zip.
Serves 4 people
The equipment we used on this trip was very basic. We used 6-7ft medium action spinning rods with 10 pound braid tied to a 10 pound fluorocarbon leader. We used 1/4 – 1/2 oz jigs with a minnow. A fun alternative is to toss a couple paddletail swimbaits in your bag and try to catch walleye casting.
Take advantage of the resources
We love to cook, but some people want an alternative. If that’s you and you don’t want to worry about cooking, take advantage of Bucket’s convenient store and get some take out meals so you can focus on fishing.
Buy a PFD
Life jackets are not fashionable, but, they are mandatory. We always wear our inflatable PFD’s in the boat because you never know when things can turn for the worst. PFD’s are incredibly comfortable and you completely forget they are even on. Investing in a PDF is investing into your own safety.
Visit the HuntFishMB blog page for more great fishing content.
Click the following link for more information on Ricker's Campground
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