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Don't laugh; open-water season starts soon

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It might seem a bit hard to believe given the weather, but the open-water fishing season opens May 10 here in southern Manitoba.

It also might be a wee bit difficult finding some open water to fish! Our rivers will be open for the most part, but many will be high and dirty with plenty of fast currents.

Once conditions settle down in a couple of weeks, though, the fishing should be outstanding. If you do head out for catfish in these conditions, look for slack water areas, which will hold the majority of the active fish. Catfish in the Red River will be certainly out of the main current flow and can hold extremely tight to shorelines. In past high water years, a myriad of fish species moved into the floodway outlet, just north of Lockport, to enjoy warmer water temperatures and reduced flow.

Using big slip floats will help anglers avoid snags in this rock-filled environment and provide the most effective way of catching these fish.

Most of our smaller lakes in the south should be open by the middle of May. Look to fish shallower bodies of water that warm up the quickest. Within those lakes, find the warmest water available, which usually occurs in sheltered bays with dark bottoms. Start your search by casting jigs tipped with plastic until you find a concentration of fish. In early season, I rarely fish deeper than three metres of water.


Manitoba Fishing Hall of Fame


The Fish Futures 26th annual banquet was held this past Thursday at Canad Inns Polo Park.

More than 800 people were there for the announcement of the formation of the Manitoba Fishing Hall of Fame. This not-for-profit organization recognizes individuals and groups who have made a positive impact on fishing in Manitoba through outstanding achievement, education, conservation and community service.

Those of us involved in the industry know what a rich fishing heritage we have here.

Darrin Bohonis, the driving force behind the hall of fame, wants the Manitoba Fishing Hall of Fame to recognize individuals, groups, lodges and outfitters, retail establishments and institutions who have played a role in promoting the sustainability of fishing in Manitoba.

The first inductee was Kenneth W. Stewart.

"Dr. Stewart's passion for fishing and the outdoors began at a young age and soon merged with his scientific curiosity," Bohonis said. "As a professor of zoology at the University of Manitoba for 34 years, Stewart's scientific and academic achievements spanned decades and included his book, The Freshwater Fishes of Manitoba, which received literary acclaim.

Stewart was also a founding member of Fish Futures. He also received the Canadian Recreational Fisheries Award, which was presented to him by the Governor General at Rideau Hall in Ottawa in 1998.

Stewart passed away on July 3, 2011 and his family accepted this award in his honour."

ANGLERS NOTES: The 17th annual Fish Winnipeg event will be held at The Forks on June 13. This one-day fundraiser has raised more than $350,000 since it began.

Each year, more than 400 young people get to participate in the sport of fishing by signing up at their local recreational centre. At the end of the trip, they receive their own rod and reel.

If you have a boat and can help guide media and corporate clients on that day, please contact Stephen Yuffe at

For more information on Fish Winnipeg, visit


Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 3, 2014 C10

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