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Drop a Line Near the City Skyline

Published: 06/01/2010

You don't have to drive 100 kilometres to enjoy Manitoba's fabulous fishing. All you need is an old fishing pole and you can catch all the fish you want right in the middle of Winnipeg.

The Red and Assiniboine rivers run through the middle of the city and they are two of the richest and most diverse fisheries in the province. On a typical summer day, you can cruise along on a bicycle with your rod and get free advice from any of the shade-tree anglers out enjoying a bit of quality time along the verdant riverbanks. About 50 species of fish inhabit the river and they offer good sport and a tasty meal. In fact, you won't find a better place in North America to catch a huge channel catfish, plus a variety of prized gamefish species like walleye, sauger and the famous and delicious Winnipeggoldeye.

For starters, try the banks of the Assiniboine River, right in front of the Legislature, particularly in June when the water is high. (Salted minnows make good bait.) Later in the summer, Spirit Point, at the junction of the Red and Assiniboine is a dependable location. Freshwater drum up to three pounds will keep you busy and you can use earthworms or cocktail shrimp for bait. The Provencher Dock has good mixed-bag fishing all summer and there is an excellent chance of hooking a big channel catfish, or a carp so powerful you'll feel like you've snagged a submarine.

If you get thirsty and a bit peckish, don't overlook the fact that you are within walking distance of some of the funkiest eateries in the city. On the banks of the Red, you can belly up to the window of the authentically retro Bridge Drive-in and order a strawberry shake or a chocolate dip cone, and savour your snack on the nearby footbridge across the river. Don't miss the Esplanade Riel footbridge and Winnipeg's own Salisbury House restaurant, (owned in part by Winnipeg's Burton Cummings), where you can sample a locally renowned "nip" - a steaming hot burger smothered in caramelized onions. If you're fishing at the junction of the two rivers, (The Forks) you can wander through the nearby Forks Market, a village complex of cobbled streets and century-old warehouses, now converted into shops and patio restaurants, where you can sit under a parasol, quaff a cold beer and watch old man river slide by.

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