Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Stocked reservoir a lure for hard-core trout fans

Spot near Elgin also popular for walleye

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TUMBLEWEEDS were blowing across the road as we headed south on Highway 22 last week on a family holiday, my wife clutching our Scenic Secrets of Manitoba book by Manitoba outdoor writer Bill Stillwell. We were aimed straight at Elgin Reservoir, a place Bill devotes a page of his book to, but it was the last paragraph that always had my interest: "Elgin Reservoir is stocked with several species of trout. It offers some of the province's best brown trout fishing, as the record book attests."

Flooded some 30 years ago for irrigation purposes, this reservoir has become a resting area for migrations of snow geese in both the spring and fall. On this particular day when we pulled up to the junction of Highway 22 and Highway 23, the skies were quiet and the campground on the shores of the reservoir almost deserted. Most of the fields had been harvested around this small impoundment, making for a endless sea of gold and brown as far as the eye could see with the town of Elgin glimmering in the distance. A sign on the shore of the lake proudly declared that this reservoir is one of 14 in Manitoba that are blessed with a permanent aeration system, a must in keeping the fish alive through a long Manitoba winter. And yes, this reservoir does have fish, including a pretty good population of walleye as well as trout. Local anglers spend most of their time trying to catch the walleye that have been stocked here, though the fish are small for the most part. That's not the case with the trout population -- the real challenge here, fish that grow big on a diet of scuds and a variety of aquatic insects that exist in this fertile water. There are excellent caddis hatches but at this time of the year it is the scuds that these fish target as their No. 1 food source. There's deeper water near the riprap of the rocks damming the Elgin Creek and here trout cruise for minnows as the water cools down. The reservoir is very wide open so wind does play a role here in trying to catch fish. There is a boat launch of sorts with gravel down to the water and a campsite with shower facilities and electricial hookup right on the shores of the lake. While not a big body of water, Elgin Reservoir is a popular spot among local anglers and hard-core trout anglers.

* * *

Speculation on the size of the greenback walleye run on the Red River has begun in earnest, and a few anglers are actually having some excellent success near the mouth of the river before it enters Lake Winnipeg. Stu McKay, who operates Cats on the Red at Lockport, says there is an incredible population of emerald shiners in the river this year. He and a number of other anglers are excited about the prospects of an excellent fall run for trophy walleye after two substandard years. Early indications look good!

Anglers' Notes: The opening ceremonies of the Canadian Fly Fishing Championships take place this evening starting at 6 p.m. at the Roblin Community Centre. Hosted by the town of Roblin, over 30 competitors from across Canada will be present as they get ready for the week-long competition. Actual tournament days start Tuesday, September 9 and I will be writing daily reports on the event starting Wednesday for the Sports section of the Winnipeg Free Press.

Now in its sixth year, the Fish Winnipeg Challenge, sponsored by Fish Futures, the Complete Angler, the City of Winnipeg and Manitoba Conservation, raised $17,500 for at-risk youth angling programs and over 600 children took advantage of this fishing opportunity this summer. Marcus Houston, program co-ordinator, said hundreds of fish were caught this summer and 14 master angler fish were landed. For many, this was their first experience, and hopefully not their last. Every child who participated in the program received a rod-and-reel combination which was donated by Fish Futures.

Also, through the generosity of the Winnipeg Foundation, a fishing van was purchased that will allow the program to continue into the future.

dlamont@mts.net

PHOTO DON LAMONT/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 6, 2003 $sourceSection$sourcePage

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