By Don Lamont
Did you know that the majority of anglers that fish in North America do so from shore? According to the latest survey, that works out to 52 percent. In Manitoba there is a huge shore-fishing contingent, partly because of our proximity to major rivers. If you decide to give it a try here are a few key points to keep in mind.
When casting from shore its critical to have a long rod to get the bait from shore. These rods should be made of a composite which means they can handle heavy loads from big fish or heavy weights. Monofilament fishing line is also recommended for shore anglers. Mono is more abrasion resistant than braid, has more stretch to cushion the shock of big fish and is easier to get off snags. I use Berkley Big Game in HI Vis Green, especially when I am out for catfish. It’s easy to see above water which allows bite detection plus it’s very abrasion resistant. I have been out to the shores of the Assiniboine with friends and the action has been good all summer for channel catfish, and freshwater drum. There are many good access spots in the city.
ITS MOONEYE TIME
When the middle of August rolls around, many anglers across the prairies target mooneye on the rivers that they inhabit. How do you tell the difference between a goldeye and a mooneye?
Telling them apart is quite easy, with the most obvious difference being the gold coloured eyes that are absent on the mooneye. If you study the latter part of its body you will also notice that the mooneye’s dorsal fin is near the front of the anal fin, where the goldeye’s dorsal fin begins behind where the anal fin starts.
With mooneye largely inhabiting the boundaries of a few traditional rivers, angling opportunities can be limited to specific locations. Mooneye exist throughout the Winnipeg River system, but are also found in the Assiniboine and Red Rivers. These fish can get a good size with a 14 inch fish a Master Angler size. They are also good to eat when smoked. Check out the video from Aaron Wiebe on some goldeye basics.
Check out this great article on how to find and catch mooneye by fly fishing expert Ryan Suffron.
FLY IN TRIPS A HIT!
Many Manitobans are taking advantage of the openings at fly-in lodges and outposts to experience their first float plane ride. This was the case a couple of weeks ago when I gathered the family together and headed to Carroll Lake Outpost for the August long weekend.
Carroll Lake is located within Woodland Caribou Provincial Park. It lies within the Nelson River drainage basin, which is part of the Arctic Watershed. All water flows westward into Lake Winnipeg and the Nelson River, then eventually north to Hudson Bay.
Carroll lake supplies anglers with an incredible diversity of structure and places to wet a line. It would be easy to get lost if you didn’t take special note of direction. Luckily for us we made sure each boat equipped with electronics that included GPS tracking. My Helix 5 is perfect for a fly-in trip, especially rigged with a Lithium 7-amp battery. With the fear of getting lost behind us we spent a wonderful three days exploring the myriad of bays, narrows and islands.
How was the fishing? I would put it as interesting. We didn’t really find the walleye in spots that you would consider middle of the summer areas. They were not stacked up on deep reefs or points. They did move into necked down current areas in the evening and supplied some incredible action. The biggest walleye of the trip measured in at 66 centimetres.
On the third morning we were in large bay casting for pike when I spotted several marks on my Helix 5 that looked like walleye. These fish were in three metres of water off a deep cabbage patch. I quickly grabbed my walleye rod rigged with a jig and Berkley Flatnose minnow. Bam, fish on. After that it was non-stop action for a half hour. I spent most of it netting walleye for my wife and son. It was the best action of the trip and we ended up catching a pile of fish all day long.
While the Carroll Lake outpost is on the Manitoba side of the border, most of the lake itself lies in Ontario. This requires both a Manitoba and Ontario license depending on where you fish.
LAKE OF THE PRAIRIES ON FIRE!
We spent a week camping at Asessippi Provincial Park and it didn’t matter what time of the day as it’s a crazy good bite!
We easily caught from 50 to 70 walleye a day with a lot in the red zone from 18 to 22 inches in length. We also landed a couple bonus rock bass that made Master Angler status.
We caught these on rock piles, using bottom bouncers rigged with worms. I also landed a beautiful 43 inch pike mixed in with the walleye.
The walleye were mostly caught bottom bouncing with worms or leeches. While bottom bouncers always produce, one afternoon we switched over to slip floats. Jigging was just as good at times and the one afternoon was a good slip bobber bite. Even with the hot weather, depending on wind conditions the fish can be found from ten feet out to 18 feet.
The larger reservoirs and lakes in the province have been producing some great fishing for walleye. Last Mountain continues to kick out big fish and lots of fish. On Tobin the bite slowed a bit when the water muddied up again two weeks ago but with only one gate open on the dam at Nipawin, water clarity is much improved. Some of the best walleye and pike fishing of the year should happen right now. These fish have not been able to feed for much of the summer because of the extremely muddy conditions. The bite will be on!
WES DAVID, FISHING THE WILD WEST TELEVISION SHOW
Crayfish in Southern Alberta Reservoirs?
Southern Alberta has an abundance of reservoirs that were originally designed for agricultural irrigation needs and still are the reservoir’s main purpose to this day. However, provincial walleye stocking programs in the early 1990s, have also turned Alberta’s southern reservoirs into some of the province’s best walleye fisheries. Although, walleye fishing in Alberta’s southern reservoirs have been outstanding all summer, what has really heated up in August, is the crayfish fishing/trapping. In Alberta, crayfish traps can be purchased at Bass Pro Shops or Cabela’s but before you set your traps for these delicious little critters, be sure to read the 2020 Alberta Sportfishing Fishing Regulations on catching and transporting this invasive aquatic species. And remember, no aquatic species of any kind can be transported alive within the province of Alberta.