The depths of winter in Manitoba are well known to be trophy chasing season on our countless frozen lakes across the province.
HuntFishMB - Eric Labaupa
We touched base with a few prominent anglers to get the current lowdown on their home waters. Their following reports from different regions all reflect a slower than normal bite coinciding with the dip in temperatures. With the mercury forecasted to rise considerably heading into February, activity under the ice will heat up as well.
Avid ice angler Dave Colibaba never lets a little cold weather stop him from getting his ice fishing fix. “I was at Reed Lake recently right when the cold snap started. The lake trout bite was a bit slow for us but the whitefish were very aggressive.” He added that he is waiting for the temps to rise a bit before heading out once again in search of the giant lakers in that lake. In the meantime, Paint Lake just south of the city of Thompson, he shared, continues to have a solid walleye bite so far this season, “Trucks are still driving on as not too much snow here as of yet with a good 20 to 24 inches of ice.”
Blackwater Cats Outfitter guide Donovan Pearase has been busy with guests as usual on Big Windy despite the frigid temps, “It’s been very much a grind with smaller bite windows and marking finicky fish. We’ve still managed to get some nice ones and decent bites each day though.” Being mobile and moving often has been the key to tracking down trophy fish but is easier said than done when it’s blistering cold. “As a backup, there is always a chance at a giant walleye on the Red River such as this one caught by a guest the other day when high winds made for zero visibility on the lake.”
Central Region diehard Chris Chorney has been on the ice more than anyone the last few weeks. “Fishing has been relatively slow in the shallows. The majority of the walleyes I’ve found are on the larger flats in 10 feet of water or more.” Shiny spoons tipped with salted minnows have been his go-to lure on the lake with smaller jigs and salties on a deadstick on his second rod. “The access points at Delta Beach and at St. Ambroise are blown-in with snow. Tracked machine or ATV are your best bets to get onto the lake,” Chorney shared.
Shield Outfitters guide Hayden Martin admits he hasn’t hit the ice as much lately with the recent deep freeze. Guests have still been able to get on decent numbers of burbot and lake trout on West Hawk Lake however. “The walleye bite typically shuts down this time of year out here, but dropping tip-ups baited with dead bait like herring can usually get some northern pike to go on places like Falcon Lake.” Others venturing out lately in this end of the province have been able to get on some decent black crappie and lake trout bites in the back country as well.