Photo courtesy Marius Ky
Manitobans are a bunch of diehard, outdoorsy folks. No question about that. Whether it’s minus 40 or plus 15, you don’t have to look too far, too hard, or too long to find a Manitoban searching for the next great outdoor adventure. The same spirit holds true for fishing. Come high, hard, or open waters, you’re bound to find an avid angler casting a rod or setting up an ice shack in hopes of hooking the next big catch. And even if you’re not Manitoban, but still seek the thrill of patiently baiting your next trophy or reeling in your first catch, then you’ve come to the best place on earth, as Manitoba is known, not only for its friendliness, but also for its variety of fish species. While there is said to be over 80 species of fish in this province alone, if it’s an experience you’re after, then some species will prove more memorable than others. With open-water season just around the corner – May 13 – we’ve put together our list of Manitoba’s top five species and where you’re most likely to find them.
Meet Manitoba’s official provincial fish. Should you ever decide to ask any avid angler about this fish, make sure you have lots of time on your hands and be ready for earful. Manitoban anglers are passionate about the walleye. Also known locally as pickerel, the walleye is the most popular sport fish known for its consistent action, its abundance, and its size, growing to lengths of 30″ or more. Unique to Manitoba’s Lake Winnipeg is the iridescent, emerald greenback, which draws anglers from both near and far.
Kick off the season at: Lake of the Prairies, Oak Lake, or Pelican Lake
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Don’t believe the hype surrounding this fish. It’s always better to experience it yourself. The brown trout has earned a reputation for being a wary, challenging and exhilarating catch. This is one fish you don’t want to take for granted…at least not until you’ve actually caught it. Once the hard part is done, feel free to celebrate. The carnivorous brown trout grows to staggering lengths of 30-plus inches.
Kick off the season at: Patterson Lake
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With open-water season about to take off, there’s no time like the present to get your hand wet with one of these hard-fighting fish. Smallmouth bass, also called bronzebacks, are popular for the challenge they bring to the sport, their impressive sizes at 20″ or more, and their abundance.
Kick off the season at: Falcon Lake
The channel cat is the most widely distributed of all freshwater catﬁsh and is treasured as a sport and commercial fish. Catfish grow to become monsters and have a keen sense of smell and taste. These bottom feeders bring their A-game and 40-plus inches to the match, so you’d better not forget your soaked bait if you’re thinking about hooking one of these channel cats.
Kick off the season at: Red River
If you ever hook yourself a northern pike, we give you permission to give yourself a pat on the back and boast to just about anyone who will listen. As one of the of Manitoba’s most exotic species, this King of the North has just as much character and offers just as much excitement as any Game of Thrones episode possibly could. While it’s a bit of a trek to get your hands or your reel even close to one of these 50-plus-inch beauties, the journey will be worth its weight in pike.
Kick off the season at: Lac du Bonnet, Pelican Lake