Snow and more snow has been a boon to the winter sport industry in Manitoba but a bit hard on those who like ice fishing. Of course if you have a snowmobile or a vehicle with tracks on it, you're ahead of the crowd.
Most parts of Lake Winnipeg are snowmobile-access only with lots of snow and some big drifts making for some tough slugging.
For those who have been able to get out to a little deeper water on the south end of Lake Winnipeg, fishing has been quite good. Blade baits such as Live Target have been producing well while fished near the bottom.
There have not been very many suspended walleye caught in the last couple of weeks. For those venturing out, make sure you have an extension for your auger.
Another good option is to fish the Red River. Many anglers are still catching sauger with a few good walleye thrown in for good measure. Access is much easier on the river.
Lake trout reports have not been good. Anglers say catching lake trout has been a lot slower this year than last. Hardcore angler Kevin Siemen says a downturn in the smelt population on Lake of the Woods seems to have changed trout fishing patterns fairly dramatically. All the fish he has been catching so far this year have been near the bottom, on rock rubble. He believes the fish have switched prey preference to walleye and perch, thus the change in location.
Siemen has been having most of his luck with a plain bucktail jig fished on the bottom.
Youth Angling Card winner
FOR the past five years, young artists in Manitoba have been asked to submit their work to the Youth Angling Card artwork contest. This year's subject was one of Manitoba's most famous and sought after game fish: the channel catfish.
This year's winner is Maggie Wang. Maggie, 14, is a student at Glenlawn Collegiate in Winnipeg. Her painting of a channel catfish will be on the cover of 40,000 Youth Angling Cards in 2013. She also wins $250 in cash and free fishing gear. Second place was awarded to Braden Kopytko for his pencil and ink drawing. Braden, 13, is a student at Yellowquill School in Portage la Prairie Third place was awarded to Andrew Zazulak of Winnipeg for his pencil crayon drawing of a channel catfish. Andrew, 13, is a student at The King's School in Winnipeg.
This was almost a record year, with over 100 entries from across Manitoba. The Youth Angling Card is a program run by Fish Futures in partnership with Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship, and with the support of the Fisheries Enhancement Fund. You can view all the winning entries at www.youthangler.ca.