As the days get longer and the thoughts of spring are eagerly on the minds of anglers, February is considered the final month of true winter before the incredible fishing known as ‘March Madness’ sets into full swing. However, for those who brave the cold and endure likely the most difficult conditions winter will bring, this is a month where once-in-a-lifetime trophy fish could be caught across Manitoba. Here are some of the hottest bites from across the province this month!
Lake Trout – Trophies of a Lifetime
With the Lake Trout season in full gear across Northern Manitoba, it’s been an incredible month for anglers with countless giant Lake Trout caught.
Angler Julia Tully with a 99.06 cm / 39.00 in. lake trout from Clearwater Lake
The Northern drive-to lakes such as Clearwater Lake and Athapapuskow Lake are popular trophy lake trout destinations and for a good reason. Not only are they some of the most accessible and well-accommodated trophy Laker Trout lakes across Manitoba, but the incredible fish that roam them would seem anything but. This month, anglers caught and released a true once-in-a-lifetime catch with a massive 46” lake trout from Athapapuskow Lake!
Angler Jeffrey Lind with a 116.84 cm / 46.00 in. lake trout from Athapapuskow Lake
For those looking to make a trip up north to experience the incredible waters of these world-class fisheries are in luck. As the days continue to get longer and inevitability warmer, the forthcoming March bite will open countless angling opportunities as we are bound to see more anglers rewarded with some phenomenal catches.
Angler Troy Troje with a 111.76 cm / 44.00 in. lake trout from Athapapuskow Lake
Walleye – Trophies of a Lifetime
With the continued mild winter, the conditions continue to be favourable for access across Lake Winnipeg. The walleye bite had slowed down occasionally across the lake as cold swings took their toll on the mood of the walleyes, yet anglers have put some giant walleye on the ice this month.
Angler Curtis Funk with a 77.47 cm / 30.50 in. walleye from Lake Winnipeg
This year, outfitters were given the opportunity to provide overnight accommodation on Lake Winnipeg giving anglers a chance to experience ice fishing in luxury. Check out this video by Clayton Schick for more information!
Multi-Species – Perch, Whitefish and more!
By February, the long winter begins to really settle and most avid hardwater anglers like to change up the species they target. Thankfully, the multispecies possibilities across the province are hard to beat.
Angler Jacek Fatla Jr. with a 59.69 cm / 23.50 in. smallmouth bass from Singush lake
Whether you’re looking to target panfish such as perch or try something new like targeting Whitefish or smallmouth bass, February and March are the perfect time to change your target species and take advantage of the local fisheries.
Angler Brent Belot with a 59.69 cm / 23.50 in. lake whitefish from Clear Lake
A look into March Madness – The Best Ice Fishing You Can Experience
If you’ve been into ice fishing, you may have heard the term ‘March Madness’. This is the period that most anglers patiently wait for all winter. The days are longer, the weather is warmer, and ice fishing is as hot as it gets. The extended daylight periods and changing temperatures put the fish into feed mode as many species such as walleye, northern pike, burbot and perch get ready to spawn in the coming weeks. If you’re after a trophy fish, being on the ice this March will give you the opportunity to experience some of the best fishing across Manitoba.
Angler Dalain Prefontaine with a 65.41 cm / 25.75 in. tiger trout from McHugh Lake – March 2022
Some of the top species to target during this time include walleye, with Lake Winnipeg as a prime destination. Being as shallow as 4 feet or even as deep as 16+ feet, you have the chance to run into large schools of hungry greenbacks with multiple masters in a day not uncommon.
Angler Kyle Klassen with a 77.00 cm / 30.31 in. walleye from Lake Winnipeg – March 2022
Northern Pike are another favourite species to target during this time. Targeting shallow water near the mouth of creeks 4-8ft deep, a tip-up rigged with a dead bait will give you one of the best opportunities to catch some of the biggest and heaviest pike all season.
Angler Dylan Foui with a 114.05 cm / 44.90 in. northern pike from Clear Lake – March 2022
One final trip you can’t miss in March is huge burbot on lakes such as Cedar Lake, with location accommodations at Moak Lodge. These fish arise from the depths onto shallow reefs and in large groups prepare to spawn through the night. This makes for an action-packed night of giant burbot that are sure to keep you awake!
Angler Josh Mutchler with a 80.65 cm / 31.75 in. burbot from Cedar Lake – March 2022
Within only a couple short weeks away, it’s time to start packing some sunscreen, stocking up on bait and tackle and planning to take advantage of the warm March sun across Manitoba’s countless hardwater hotspots!