Falcon Lake in Manitoba’s Eastern Region is well known as a premiere smallmouth bass and northern pike destination.
The signature body of water in sprawling Whiteshell Provincial Park is home to sumo smallies well surpassing four pounds and northerns eclipsing the 41inch Master Angler benchmark. The healthy population of sportfish that inhabit this deep clear Canadian Shield lake can be targeted quite easily by anglers of any experience level.
Falcon Lake Tagged Fish Contest
2019 marks the third year of this unique contest in the south Whiteshell. There are, at the time of this writing, an incredible $19,000 worth of tagged fish swimming in the cool clear waters of Falcon Lake! For your chance to hook into one of fifteen prize smallmouth bass and northern pike, simply purchase a Red 2019 entry ticket at one of the participating businesses around the lake. For complete rules and information visit the Falcon Lake Tagged Fish Contest website.
Read on below for some species-specific info to get a head start on catching one of these valuable fish…
Falcon Lake is loaded with bass of various year classes. Every cast of the line can yield anything from a scrappy one pounder to one of the lakes many bruising lunkers (all of the current tagged bass are approximately in the 14” to 16” range). The lake has scores of classic bass holding structure along its miles of shoreline and mid-lake reefs. From the wider western end to the far reaches of the eastern bays, every area of the lake is home to hungry bass.
High potential above water targets to keep an eye out for are rocky shorelines, main lake points, and shoreline in between cottage docks. Much of the lake features these easy to spot clues and are great places to start. There are also a handful of islands that dot the lake and are worth your attention in your quest for Falcon bronze backs.
The use of sonar, depth maps, or even just a good pair of polarized glasses can go a long way towards honing in on specific structure that the smallies here relate to. Boulders and rock shelves that can just be seen beneath the surface are often magnets for these fish. Sunken islands, points, and humps that top out anywhere from 7 to 20 feet beneath the surface are also likely spots to hook into them. A cast or two around these areas is usually enough to get a bass to reveal itself if one is around.
As far as tactics go, simple is usually better on this lake. Casting and retrieving jigs and plastics in natural colours are incredibly effective. Paddle or twister tail baits are best for straight retrieve fan-casting. Tubes and worms are great for slower hop-back retrieves or fishing vertically beneath the boat. Topwater poppers and slashing jerk baits are also good options especially when the bite is aggressive.
Targeting pike on Falcon Lake is more synonymous with ice fishing being one of the better places in the region to hook into a giant in the winter. But these toothy predators still have to eat during open water season and will readily attack a wide variety of lures in search of their next meal. The current tagged pike are all approximately in the 20” to low 30” range, of which there are certainly no shortage of on this lake.
The entire length of the lake has loads of northerns cruising all parts of the water column. Likely target zones to start your search are cabbage weed flats, shallow back bays, and sandy reed-lined shorelines. 8’ to 14’ depth shelves adjacent to sharp drop-offs to deeper water are also prime areas that hold pike.
There has been a total of three tagged northern pike caught by anglers during the contest, all of which were caught at the far western section of the lake. This area has a wide expanse that fits the bill of the above-mentioned cabbage weed flats as well as nearby deep-water transitions and some shoreline structure. Any search for tagged pike, including the elusive $5000 fish, should begin at this end of the lake.
Tactics wise, anglers will find success throwing traditional casting spoons and plugs to likely areas. The same jig and plastic combos that will catch bass will also fool pike of all sizes on Falcon Lake. Using weedless lures or rigging plastics that conceal the hook is recommended to avoid frustration when fishing in the weediest but often most productive pike areas. Jigging bait under the boat while drifting along edges is also very effective in getting northerns on the line.