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Apr 27, 2022

14 min. read

Guardian Angle

Dalain Prefontaine was three years old when he first cast a line in hopes of snagging a pike in Otter Falls. “I didn’t catch anything and I was pretty upset,” recalls the native of St-Pierre-Jolys. “But the next day, we went out and I reeled in a 16-inch monster!” That early angling memory remains etched in his brain decades later. “I love the chase; there’s always a bigger one out there.” Prefontaine shares his passion and expert tips on his YouTube channel, D.P. Outdoors. It’s easy to share in the “reel” fun across Manitoba: Massive northern pike, golden walleye, smallmouth bass, big bad lake trout or hefty channel catfish are just some of the 90 species swimming in Manitoba’s lakes, rivers and streams. Prefontaine’s preferred spots include Lake Winnipeg for big greenbacks. “Staying mobile is key,” he notes. “I fish for 10 or 15 minutes and if I don’t mark any fish on my flasher, I move by 50-100 metres at a time to go farther out.” He also likes Birch Point for large pike, which he targets with dead baits like ciscos. On more relaxing days, the White Mud River is a nice spot to haul in carp and freshwater drum. “Instead of chasing fish all over, park your boat on the side of the river and just wait ’em out!”

Two women fishing on a boat with a rainbow in the background.

Fun Fish Facts

Northern pike roe has become the caviar of choice by discerning connoisseurs. Every year, 43,000 kg are harvested from Manitoba waters.

In fall, lake trout spawn over rock rubble, with the females depositing their eggs in protected crevices. The eggs hatch the following spring.

The eel-like burbot, also known as the “lawyer fish” owing to its slippery nature, is considered one of Manitoba’s ugliest fish.

A man holding a large pike on a boat.

Lord of the Flies

Stu Thompson knows flies. As the author of Tyed and True: 101 Fly Patterns Proven to Catch Fish, he’s both student and teacher of the age-old craft of fly tying. “I’ve caught virtually every game fish in the province on a fly,” he says. Try one of Thompson’s signature fly patterns to help you reel in the big one.

DDH Leach

With its gold bead chain eyes and a silky marabou feather tail, this fluffy fellow attracts many different types of fish. “It’s my best fly ever,” Thompson notes. “I’ve used it to catch 96 species in 15 countries, in both fresh and saltwater.” The pattern can be easily tied in a variety of colours, but orange, olive, brown and black achieve best results.

SRT Stickleback

The wide-eyed Stickleback combines a white body and marabou tail with a tuft of bold red fur on the throat. “It’s a killer in the spring,” Thompson says, “Once the ice is off the lake, cast a few metres from shore to catch big rainbow and brown trout that like to cruise the shallows.”

Nixon Nymph

An easy-to-tie pattern, this diminutive fly punches above his weight. “I’ve used it for over 56 years and it still catches trout like crazy,” Thompson explains. “Nymphs are the first active insects after the spring melt, and fish just can’t resist them.” Made of peacock herl, the iridescent body, wings and legs flit through the water with an alluring glint.

A man holding up a catfish in a boat.

Fishing Holes

Cast a line near these scenic spots in the province.

The trip to Aikens Lake Wilderness Lodge in eastern Manitoba is as dramatic as the fishing itself. A float plane flies over the birch treetops of Atikaki Wilderness Provincial Park, before landing on the lake near a red sand beach. Within minutes, your poles and bait are on a boat, ready to haul in a trophy fish.

Chase and reel in monster rainbow trout, northern pike, walleye or smallmouth bass from Lake Athapapuskow during a stay at the Bakers Narrows Lodge. Just outside Flin Flon, the property also offers a long list of equally exciting non-fishing activities.

Manitoba is best known for trout and walleye, but it’s also the Channel Catfish Capital of the World. While they might not win any beauty contests, you can’t beat the thrill of reeling in a monster (they can measure up to 40 inches) from the mighty Red River.

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