In early February of 2018, a couple colleges and I went on a one-day guided ice fishing trip to Lake Winnipeg in Manitoba Canada. We heard about the fishing, and couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try it out.
We hired Black Water Cats Outfitting for our trip. The fishing outfitter is known for the summer cat fishing on Lake Winnipeg, but also
handles winter Walleye’s through the ice.
Walleye fishing in Lake Winnipeg is much better in winter than summer. The Walleyes go to the rivers or deep parts of the lake during the warm months.
Big Walleyes can be caught in winter. In the first 5 minutes of our trip, we had a 27” and a 30” fish out of the water at the same time!
The color of the fish are different than normal Walleyes. The color is greener and has less patterns than fish from other areas.
We fished in shallow water. The ice was about 5ft deep, and the water was only about 6ft deep under the ice.
We jigged using spoons and minnows.
Every fisherman knows to fish around structure. The bottom of Lake Winnipeg is very flat and featureless. The ice movement causes ridges above and jagged features on the bottom of the ice. The bottom of the ridges is enough structure to hold bait fish, and Walleyes.
It was very cold the day we went to the lake. The high temperature was -4o F. The outfitter had a large ice shack, heaters, poles, bait and flashers. We planned for the trip and brought boots, gloves, coveralls and heavy coats.
The main river that feeds Lake Winnipeg is the Red River that flows north from the United States, through the city of Winnipeg and into the lake. The summer fish to catch is Catfish, which surprised me. I never considered Catfish a Canadian fish.
We had a dilemma when flying home on a commercial airline. The 30” Walleye my friend kept to bring home wouldn’t fit in our luggage. He rapped the frozen fish in plastic and a coat and carried it on the plane. The fish went through the carry-on X-ray machine and into the overhead compartment with all of the other luggage. I wonder what the person viewing the screen at the X-ray machine thought when the fish went through?
If you are a hard-core ice fisherman, you have to try ice fishing Lake Winnipeg for Walleyes. The bite is best in late February and early March.