Reeling in U.S. Anglers to Manitoba

Posted February 02, 2024

Prairie Angling Campaign draws U.S. Anglers to Manitoba for world-class fishing.

Prairie Angling Campaign

Last year, Travel Manitoba joined forces with Tourism Saskatchewan and Destination Canada for the second year of the Prairie Angling Program to promote fishing experiences through the recognizable Hunt Fish Manitoba brand.

These campaign efforts focused on returning Manitoba's visitation back to pre-pandemic levels and beyond. Hunt Fish Manitoba’s compelling creative showcased Manitoba as a world-class fishing destination, featuring fly-in, drive-to and ice fishing experiences.

Angling represents a significant tourism market in Manitoba with over $412 million GDP prior to the pandemic and $96 million in provincial tax revenue. Attracting U.S. anglers from North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and Michigan to Manitoba is key to recovery of this crucial tourism sector for the province.

Woven throughout the Hunt Fish Manitoba advertising creative is the headline "When your heart needs wild" and tagline "Canada's Heart is Calling," forging a connection between Manitoba's extraordinary wilderness experiences and Travel Manitoba’s award-winning tourism brand.

Various display, social, search, connected TV video ads and digital out-of-home (OOH) ads were created to market three distinct angling seasons. March to May focused on fly-in fishing, June to September concentrated on drive-to fishing and October to November promoted ice fishing.

As a direct result of the campaign, Manitoba’s non-resident angling licence sales have recovered to more than 80 per cent of pre-pandemic sales, equalling 14,807 licenses in total.

Over the three seasonal flights of fly-in fishing, drive-to fishing and ice fishing, the 2023 prairie angling program campaign garnered a total of:

  • 43 million digital and social ad impressions
  • 4.3 million video views
  • 845,500 impressions from radio ads
  • 143,300 clicks on digital and social ads ads

The Hunt Fish Manitoba portion of the Prairie Angling Program promoted drive-to, fly-in and ice fishing seasons.

Exploring Manitoba on a angling FAM Tour

As part of last year’s program, a Prairie Angling familiarization (FAM) tour was jointly organized and hosted by Travel Manitoba and Tourism Saskatchewan in partnership with Destination Canada.

Select U.S. travel trade representatives from Signature Travel Network were invited to join the FAM tour with the intent to inspire the development of angling itineraries and to showcase Canadian angling experiences. The FAM took place from July 21 to 27, 2023 and six travel trade advisors from Wisconsin, Ohio, California and Arizona participated.

The Prairie Angling FAM Tour visited Aikens Lake Wilderness Lodge in Manitoba.

The Manitoba stretch of the FAM tour included a visit to Aikens Lake Wilderness Lodge, is a fly-in lodge located in Atikaki Provincial Park in the eastern region of the province. Aikens Lake is known for their rustic handcrafted lodges tucked away in the boreal forest, creating a scenic and serene environment for a fishing getaway.

The Saskatchewan portion of the FAM tour was hosted at Twin Falls Lodge.

“If your image of a fishing camp is a rustic tent with spartan accommodations, Aikens Lake Wilderness Lodge in Manitoba, Canada will dispel such notions,” wrote Kim Urig in a blog for Love Our World Travel. “Travel Manitoba hosted [us] at the lodge and we fell in love with the place. The minute we stepped off the plane, we felt at home.”

Aikens Lake took Urig and the rest of the FAM participants out on the lake for a guided fishing experience where they were shown how to bait hooks, cast lines and net their catches.

Read more about the FAM trip on Urig’s blog.