Northern Region Walleye Gold Rush
Similar to the gold-panning rush days of centuries past, anglers have been flocking to the Northern Region of Manitoba in search of riches.
HuntFishMB - Eric Labaupa
"Go north young man..."
The currency this time around however is golden walleye. Word has gotten out about lake after lake in this area of the province being absolutely loaded with trophy ‘eyes. It’s never been a secret that the Canadian north is walleye angler paradise, but the ‘Manitoba Gold Belt’ has established itself in a league of its own. The striking black and gold predators of these cool deep waters attract anglers from all across the continent.
What may be a surprise to some is that every lake on the following list is accessible by paved road and public boat launch. While these huge bodies of water in their entirety are pristine and remote, there is no shortage of places to stay with on-the-water lodge operations and campgrounds along with several large towns anchoring each end of the region. For a truly memorable drive-to walleye angling experience, make a trip to one or all of these destinations this season. Hitch the wagons… err boats, and head north.
Cross Bay (Cedar Lake)
The southern gateway to the gold belt, Cross Bay is just a portion of the enormous Cedar Lake. An influx of hordes of rainbow smelt in recent years are helping feed the fattest ‘eyes in the region. This section, in actuality a flooded reservoir, has a network of submerged roads and timber as some of the better structure to target schools of gold.
Places to stay - Hobb’s Resort, Moak Lodge & Campground, Cook’s Cabins & Campground
Located in the heart of the belt, Wekusko is the outlet for scenic Wekusko Falls. With several prominent inlets and outlets and a deep main basin, the star-like layout of this body of water make it text book water to hone in on its massive schools of roaming walleyes. The term ‘chunky walters’ needs no further explanation once you catch a few out of this lake.
Places to stay - Wekusko Falls Lodge, Wekusko Falls Provincial Park, Tawow Lodge
The largest lake in Grass River Provincial Park, this waterway is characterized by very intricate shoreline and islands. Another well known attribute of this lake is that the fish swimming in its waters typically grow to enormous size regardless of the species including walleye. Quite often anglers targeting other fish such as lake trout or northern pike can’t help but hook into trophy walleyes as a bonus.
Places to stay - Grass River Lodge, Reed Lake Campground
Lying at the far western end of the belt is the lake better known as Athapap. The more ‘shield’ like East Arm starts at the town of Cranberry Portage. Going west from there the lake takes on more of an open basin character. Practically a lake in its own right, the north portion is a good mixture of both. Master Angler walleyes abound however, whichever part of the lake you choose to drop a line in.
Places to stay - town of Cranberry Portage, Tonapah Lodge, Baker’s Narrows Lodge
Much like Athapap, Simonhouse straddles the edge of the Manitoba Lowlands and Canadian Shield topography. The water here is limestone clear and begins to take on a tea-stained colouration at its far northern end. The largest lake in the Cranberry Chain, it is also arguably home to the largest walleyes in this meandering stretch of water.
Places to stay - Gyles Campground, Caribou Lodge Outfitters, Viking Lodge & Campground
Located just south of the City of Thompson, Paint Lake lies at the northern end of the belt. Well known for having a dense population of thick bodied walleyes, this lake is as sure a thing as it gets. Endless islands, points, reefs, and saddles spanning the entire lake embody this prototypical Canadian Shield body of water.
Places to stay - Paint Lake Lodge, Paint Lake Provincial Park, City of Thompson
Cormorant Lake, Setting Lake, First Cranberry Lake, Second Cranberry Lake, Tramping Lake
For more information on fishing for walleyes in Manitoba, go to our Walleye page.
Box 129 GRAND RAPIDS, MB R0C 1E0 (204) 340-5663 Website
Hobbs ResortBox 129
GRAND RAPIDS, MB R0C 1E0
Hwy 392 SNOW LAKE, MB R0B 1M0 (204) 358-2341 Website
Wekusko Falls Fishing LodgeHwy 392
SNOW LAKE, MB R0B 1M0
Herb Lake Landing Snow Lake, MB R0B 1M0 (204) 358-2485 Website
Tawow LodgeHerb Lake Landing
Snow Lake, MB R0B 1M0
. Athapapuskow Lake, MB . (204) 472-3889 Website
Athapapuskow Lake, MB .
#1 Hwy 10, Bakers Narrows FLIN FLON, MB R8A 1N1 (204) 681-3250 Website
Bakers Narrows Lodge#1 Hwy 10, Bakers Narrows
FLIN FLON, MB R8A 1N1
351 Public Road SE CRANBERRY PORTAGE, MB R0B 0H0 (204) 472-3337 Website
Viking Lodge351 Public Road SE
CRANBERRY PORTAGE, MB R0B 0H0
Box 327, Hwy 375 10 minutes off HWY 6 20 minutes south of Thompson Mb Thompson, MB R8N 1N1 (204) 677-9303 Website
Paint Lake LodgeBox 327, Hwy 375 10 minutes off HWY 6 20 minutes south of Thompson Mb
Thompson, MB R8N 1N1