It was a wintery wonderland as we left Winnipeg for our three day trip to the Parkland region of Manitoba on Saturday morning. Overnight frost and no wind had coated the trees with a glowing white cover of snow and ice. As we pulled into Roblin the temperature was just under freezing. West Goose Lake, right in town limits was our first lake to fish on this trip. We met up with Phil Paczkowski, who owns Patch’s Bait Shop in town and who is an outfitter in the region.
Phil has been a hardcore fisherman all his life and while he has slowed down his work schedule a bit, his fishing hasn’t suffered. I had contacted Phil a couple of weeks previous to try and line up an ice fishing trip to the region. He was nice enough to set aside three days of his time to look after me and friend Pete Hiebert on this adventure.
After meeting up with Phil by the boat launch on West Goose we were on the ice in no time. Unfortunately in four hours of fishing we had not landed one of the huge rainbows that this lake is famous for. It is loaded with stocked trout but on this day they were just not active. We saw about ten fish in total come into check out our lures but I was the only one who actually had a fish on. A nice big bow had decided to try and munch on my tube jig but unfortunately let go just has I set the hook. Water clarity is amazing on this lake, which makes it somewhat of a challenge. Disappointed we called it a day around five and set up a schedule for the next day. We would be heading straight north on Highway # 83 to Twin Lake, the home of the tiger trout, a cross between a brook and brown trout. This lake is just an anglers dream, beautiful surrounding with a lake chock full of trophy trout. Anglers come from far and wide to try this catch and release only fishery.
On the way at first light we saw seven elk and three deer along the highway. As we pulled into the parking lot three vehicles had arrived before us. We quickly loaded our sled and headed out to check out a shallow weedline a short distance from the parking lot. Fishing four feet of water we had immediate action with Pete landing a nice fish in our first fifteen minutes on small jig rigged with a small finesse minnow.
After another 40 minutes without a bite, we headed back toward the parking lot in a bit shallower water. Here we had immediate action, with three beautiful tiger trout landed and one monster lost. I had a huge tiger slam my jig and finesse minnow from Berkley and head north. Man this thing was like a bucking bronco! I got the fish turned to the hole but it dived into the vegetation coating the bottom of this shallow bay. Up came a huge chunk of weed and no fish. Devastated I knew just how big a fish I had just lost. We saw a number of trophy fish down our hole as we sight fished the whole day in the clear water and the darkened tent. Phil, who was in a tent a short distance away caught the biggest tiger on this day at just under 24 inches.
While out on the ice we had a chance to visit with some of the other anglers. We meet up with Robert Karpiak and Robyn Grant of Winnipeg who had stayed overnight in a custom ice shack with bunk beds. Robert had spent the week modifying the insulated tent so they could be mobile this ice fishing season. Robert and Robyn are on a quest this winter to catch as many Master Angler fish of different species in order to have all 30 species reqistered. They were successful on this trip with four Masters caught and released.
We landed about 9 fish in total, lost a few and saw lots swim by. It was another great fishing day in the Parkland region of Manitoba.