Biggest story by far since our last report happened at Balsam Bay on the east side of Lake Winnipeg.
Last Sunday five vehicles went through the ice. Luckily no one was seriously injured. Combine extremely heavy flows from both the Red and Winnipeg Rivers and conditions could be iffy for a long time, despite our recent cold snap. The KidFish event on the Red, scheduled for January 5th, had to be cancelled. The Red River is nine feet above normal.
On the plus side of things, the stocked trout lakes across the province are still fishing extremely well.
Check out this video from Darren’s Northern Life.
He and a friend are fishing Corstorphine Lake, which is managed by FLIPPR group out of Roblin.
This lake has always been a weedy, fertile water body that is shallow, which makes it susceptible to winter kill. After a lake evaluation in 2005, an aeration system was installed, then stocked with tiger trout and rainbow trout. Manitoba Fisheries Branch staff wanted to see how the two species would respond in this setting. The aeration system failed during the winter of 2008-2009 and the lake winter-killed. The lake was restocked in 2009 with rainbow fingerlings, as well as some triploid rainbows. This stocking took hold and fish in excess of 26 inches were taken. After losing the aeration system to flooding in 2014, another unit was installed and operational in 2016. Restocking with 15 to 16 cm Rainbow trout occurred in May 2016. There are no inlet or outlet streams at Corstorphine – the lake is fed by overland runoff and springs.
Not far away from Corstorphine is Patterson Lake. While the stocked trout action started slowly, things have picked up lately with some nice brown and rainbow trout caught.
Crappies on fire!
Reports of Master Angler crappies continues at a furious pace. Most of these fish are coming from Caddy Lake.
Sofia Kingman with her first registered Master Angler fish. A black crappie from Caddy Lake of course
Hopefully these fish are being released because continue harvest of 13 plus inch crappies will quickly deplete those older fish. How old are they? MacKenzie Hauger is a working on her Masters of Biological Science at the University of Manitoba. Her research here in Manitoba on our black crappie populations is helping her reach that goal. This past summer she was scheduled to complete Phase 2 of her research.
“The reason we wanted to research Black Crappie in the Whiteshell, is because although this species has had a population there for quite a while, it was typically low in numbers and relatively limited to certain areas.”
Check out the details at //www.hookedmagazine.ca/more-research-to-be-done-on-manitoba-crappie-populations/
Manitoba angler Mac Mulligan is laying a licking on trophy sauger in the Assiniboine River. Check out this beautiful 20 inch specimen. It’s his third trophy this winter from the river.
Lake Manitoba, south basin is still drivable with the limited snowfall. The east side including Twin Beaches and St Ambroise has at least 17 inches of ice. Fishing for walleye is still spotty, with most of the fish being caught the last hour of daylight and after. Depth of five to seven feet have been key. Lipless crankbaits, flutter spoons and jigging spoons have been the best. Glow colours help in low light conditions
Speaking of spoons for Lake Manitoba, the Williams Ice Jig has been red hot the last couple of years. This year they came back with the C70, designed for big walleye and big pike and lake trout after anglers showed a need for the larger size. Here it is with some great new colours.
Out in the western section of Manitoba, Lake of the Prairies remains good.
Further north, Wekusko continues to attract a stream of anglers for the multi-species experience. Female anglers Nicole Stone and Ana Leschishin headed up to Manitoba’s Northern Region recently, to capitalize the early ice walleye bite. During their time in Manitoba’s north country, they experienced some of the best early ice walleye fishing of their lives.
Jason Hamilton, who used to guide on Lake Winnipeg, now lives in White Fox, near Nipawin, Saskatchewan. He says fishing has been slowly starting on Tobin and Codette reservoirs.
Here is his updated report.
“Areas away from current and near shore have 8-12” of ice. Current areas are still less ice and caution should be used! With little snow and cold temperatures, the ice should thicken up quickly.
Fishing started off well with 12-16 feet being the most productive depths for walleye. Late fall saw lots of big fish pushing upstream and they haven’t filtered out to the lake in numbers yet. Mid day fish are being caught at the base of the drop off in 18-24’. Typical lure choices like jigging raps, rattle baits and spoons are all catching fish. Tough to beat a jig and half minnow for fish that show up in the screen and don’t bite. Location is more important than lure selection. Current hasn’t been too high but increased with the cold snap the last few days. Look for subtle depth changes on the downstream side of structure that will concentrate fish. Current fish highlight the importance of fall mapping building with the Humminbird or other options. Finding those key spots will concentrate fish all winter.”
Report by Wes David, host of Fishing the Wild West
“With the cooler weather, ice conditions are looking pretty good throughout southern Alberta and now that the hunting season is over, more people are turning their attention to ice fishing. As of now on southern Alberta water bodies, there haven’t been reports of lots of big northern pike and walleye coming through the ice just yet, but there have been good numbers of northern pike and walleye being caught and released. The most consistent depths being reported for both walleye and northern pike is 11 to 16-feet of water and nothing fancy, a jig tipped with a frozen minnow has been the number one bait early in the ice fishing season.
My favourite Alberta walleye lake (Gull Lake) opened for ice fishing on December 11, and I’m hoping to hit the ice this weekend. Regardless, if the fish are biting or not, there’s always deer smokies and cowboy beans being served on the ice. “