|Issue 01, Vol. 01 Winter 2008||Tell a friend|
...and welcome to the first in a series of newsletters called "The Master Angler". It's your up-to-the-minute report on great fishing getaways, tournament news, special deals from fishing suppliers, plus real stories of the chase for Manitoba trophies, tips from the pros, and lots more.
I'm Dave Abbott, your Fishing Ambassador, and President of Angling Masters International Inc. (AMI). It never ceases to amaze me that here in Manitoba; we have such awesome fishing right in our own backyard. And Travel Manitoba wants to spread the word: to continue to rank as one of the top sport fishing destinations in the world, while ensuring a superior level of quality angling for future generations.
Four times a year I'll bring you the latest in news and reviews from AMI and Manitoba's own Fish 'n Line magazine - (check your in-box in April, July and October). Watch for upcoming features on getting ready for opening day, what's new in gear, fishing with kids, urban angling, and more. If there are stories you'd like to see, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have a passion for fishing, this is news you can use! See you out there.
I'm lying in bed at Aikens Lake. The sun is just cresting the horizon. I'm like a kid at Christmas, too excited to sleep. There's a little tap, tap on the cabin door and quiet footfalls, in, then out. I'm not sure who it was but then I smell fresh coffee. Delivered! I am in heaven.
But my morning coffee was just the beginning of heaven. There's not a ripple on this clear, deep lake today. It's 15 minutes into our day and we've already become great pals with our guide Pascal. He takes us to the famed Honey Hole of Aikens Lake. I can hear a waterfall in the distance.
Behind us, there is a shoreline that looks like a beautiful postcard.
I've decided to use my ultra light rod today so I can feel those gentle nibbles. But this is the heart of Canadian Shield country and apparently the walleye don't know about gentle nibbles. My rod, now dubbed the McHappy Rod because it could belong to a toddler, snaps with a bite. I set the hook and I'm convinced this is a giant pike-there are no walleye this big where I'm from! I'm fighting for what seems like forever and then that golden body makes a showing. Pascal dips the net and brings it up. I am stunned by the size of this thing. I'm even more stunned when he stretched the tape measure and calls out 29 inches! Welcome to my day in heaven.
Toyota's Call of the Tundra is every outdoor enthusiasts' dream. A four-day trip to one of the top lodges in the world, located on Aikens Lake, to go after big Walleye and Northern Pike, sharing a boat with a big-time TV fishing personality, and maybe, just maybe, driving away in a brand new Toyota Tundra. For 5 people across the Prairies, this dream is coming true in 2008.
From October through December 2007, customers were welcome to visit Toyota dealerships across the Prairies and enter the Call of the Tundra competition. 5 winners were chosen in early January and they'll fly in to Aikens Lake Wilderness Lodge this August for the 4-day all-inclusive trip.
Joined by Dave Mercer from TV's Facts of Fishing, the 5 contestants will compete in a multi-day fishing competition, with the winner driving away in a brand new Toyota Tundra truck.
As if this wasn't enough of a lure (pun intended), the entire trip will be taped for TV and the anglers can re-live the memories with friends, family and the rest of the Prairies when the Call of the Tundra TV show airs on Global Television in September. Fame, fish and a new truck, now that's a great fishing tale.
If you're interested in being involved in next year's Call of the Tundra, check in with you local Prairie Toyota Dealer this fall for next year's contest.
Fly Fishing in Utik Lake
Our day started out with a 20-minute flight on a swanky new Cessna from North Star Resort, across the endless patchwork of lakes and bush that make up northern Manitoba. Destination: Utik Lake. Our guide Dave suggested a bay that promised some serious action. So he cranked up the 75 horse Merc and off we went.
First cast. Bang. That bay was six feet deep, clear and completely crowded with northerns. We could see every strike. Hit after hit, we hauled them in.
I never wanted to leave Utik Lake, but the float plane was coming. On the dock I threw a few casts just for fun. I turned my head just in time to see a swirl the size of a truck tire. Then there was such a hit that I literally had to dig in my heels, just like those cartoons where the fish threatens to pull the angler into the drink.
I heard our guide Dave yelling, Yep, that's a big one as he grabbed the net.
Run and reel. Run and reel. After what seemed like forever, she was finally in the net. As fat around the middle as my leg and 42 inches long. What a way to end the perfect day!
Icing Lakers: Tips from the Pros
Fact is when other species slow down during the winter months Lakers kick it into high gear, and are one of the most active feeders under the ice.
Winter is not only one of the best times to go after Lakers (and believe me you haven't experienced a battle until you've went head to head with a 10lb plus Lake Trout through the ice) but it's also one of the most practical times. No fancy down rigging equipment needed here, in fact at times you can find them cruising just a few feet under the surface. Fact is when other species slow down during the winter months Lakers kick it into high gear, and are one of the most active feeders under the ice.
First let's get all geared up. Start with a Medium heavy to Heavy rod. I use a 32" Medium Heavy rod made by Frabill. It provides a sensitive tip but still has the back bone to handle the bigger fish. Add to that a mid sized spinning reel such as an Abu 502 and spool it up with at least 10 pound mono or as I prefer to do spool it up with some 14 pound fireline and add a 3 foot lead of 14 pound Berkley Vanish by either tying in a swivel or using a uni-to-uni knot.. For lures grab a handful of 4 to 5 inch white tubes, and a variety of jig heads from 3/8 to 1 ounce, some jigging spoons, and some jigging raps. If bait is permitted airplane jigs and bucktail jigs tipped with a shiner or strip of sucker meat are also good choices. White, Silver, Gold, Chartreuse and firetiger are all good choices when it comes to colors.
Ok so you have all your gear now where do you start? At first ice they will still be hanging around where you left them before the lake froze over check for them around points, large cliffs, large sandy bays or check for them on shallow flats with deeper water near by. A good starting depth would be anywhere from 15-25 feet but don't be afraid to try shallower or deeper, I've caught Lakers in less than 10 feet of water this time of year.
During the middle of winter Lakers will begin to move out into deeper water, but will not necessarily be on or near the bottom. It's not uncommon to find them cruising around in the top 15 feet of the water column even in over 100ft of water. This is where good sonar comes in handy. And finally during the last part of the ice fishing season look for the Lakers to be feeding in the shallows during the early morning and evening and fish deeper structure during the afternoon. Don't forget to think outside the box remember the Predator-Prey relationship, find the baitfish and you will find the Lake Trout.
The last tip I will leave you with is where permitted bait a tip-up with you favorite live or dead bait on a quick strike rig and set it near the bottom. There have been some monster lake trout caught using this method. Remember bigger baits catch bigger fish.
It's My Moment - Your Story Could Win!
A chance to kayak with Beluga whales? Wow! Share your best Manitoba travel moment for a chance to win. Here's a recently submitted fishing moment from someone just like you:
On our first day of holidays our neighbor and an old co-worker asked us to join them fishing. I hadn't fished before but had acquired my licence as this was one of our summer goals - to fish.
I pack snacks, sunglasses and magazines to enjoy in the boat. After the long drive and a few direction inquries we meet up with our new friend/guide Ed who directs us to our mode of transportation. Ted and Toni (our neighbors) and Ed are old friends, so they clamor into one boat, leaving my husband Frank and I to man the other fleet. It has the type of motor on the back with the stick driver, which Frank easily masters and we all head upstream.
It's cold and windy.
Finally I feel what I think I am suppose to feel on my line and alert Frank.
He coaches me as I start reeling in my catch. Frank readies the net and scoops my catch. At this point we have drifted into heavy weeds, have no other fishing equipment, a flapping fish in the net and now a live one on Frank's line.
He reels his catch in and now it is my turn to ready the net and I scoop his catch with mine still attached into the net.
Now we are deep in weeds, have two lines still hooked in the two fish and I have now snapped the rod part from the weight of my fish. My hubby roars the engine to top speed with the dragging net, line, 2 fish, 1/4 my pole and heads to the veteran fishermen for help.
As fishing stories go... we didn't have a camera.
Long story short, we got untangled, re-equiped and ended up all catching our limit. We could not shut the lid on our cooler! The seasoned fishermen had a filleting frenzie contest when we got back and we divided up the trophies of the day.
I am so upset I didn't bring the camera but the fun we have had telling the tales of the day and the memories are priceless!