It has been a wild month of April in northern Manitoba as anglers get in their last ice trip of the year. Three friends and I fished up in Snow Lake country for three days this past week. We managed to catch five species of fish! This included burbot, pike, walleye, sauger and whitefish. The walleye bite on Wekusko Lake was the highlight though some big burbot and some large pike made things real interesting.
The weather was the real champion though. Over the three days we had sunshine, temperatures near 12 Celsius and no wind. Luckily, I had the sunscreen on. The season up north closes at the end of April. We even decided to chase the abundant whitefish for a half day. Unfortunately, though we marked a whole bunch of fish in 40 feet of water, we were only able to land one fish. On Wekusko it seems the pike like to hang out with the walleye and burbot in a bit deeper water right up until spawning time. Many anglers set up a tip up in the same area when fishing the deep mud flats.
As Wekusko Lake Lodge owner Bryan Bogdan told me, all these species relate to big mud flats in the lake from 22 to 28 feet of water. We didn’t find any fish shallower on our trip. Most of the fish were caught on a small jig rigged with a salted shiner! There were also a myriad of perch mixed in which made watching the electronics a little frustrating. There were almost always multiple marks on my Helix 5, but it was tough to guess what species watch actually looking at your bait.
In April in this part of the world, much of the spawning areas in the various lakes are closed to angling. It’s important to read the regulations on a particular lake. Wekusko had a number of boundaries that were off limits. All that information is in the Manitoba Angling Guide which you can download of the Fisheries website. The whole Northwest Region which we fished is a High Quality Management Area which means reduced limits.
These are four walleye/sauger and four pike. No pike can be kept over 75 centimetres and no walleye can be kept over 55 centimetres. On this trip our largest walleye caught and released was 27 inches but a couple larger fish managed to get away before we landed them. All in all it was a fantastic trip to Manitoba’s north.