Over the month since my last column, fishing in both the Red River and the Winnipeg River has been outstanding. While the Winnipeg River and Traverse Bay has been recording good catches of walleye, the mighty Red River this fall has seen a return to the glory years. The fishing on the stretch of river from Selkirk to Lockport has been nothing short of spectacular. It's been so good, friends and I have been out there as often as possible.
Unfortunately, it could be pretty tough slugging over the next while as the temperatures dip below seasonal norms. Still, the fish aren't going anywhere and with proper clothing and boat maintenance, you should be able to enjoy at least two more weeks of open water angler.
Key points when fishing in cold weather
- When launching your boat, make sure the water is running out of the top of your engine. This cools your engine and if the intake on the bottom is frozen it might not work and your engine may overheat.
- To avoid the above problem, after putting your boat on the trailer at the end of the day, trim your engine all the way to down to drain water out of the lower leg. Then start your engine for about ten seconds to blow any remaining water out
- Use premium gas in the fall to avoid gas line issues or bring gas line antifreeze
I am heading up to Tobin Lake, Sask., for our annual fall fishing trip but the forecast calls for highs of -5 C with lows of -12. These are really cold conditions to fish in. We practice extreme caution in these situations, fishing with another boat partner in case of an emergency, such as an engine malfunction.
This past week, we got out on Monday, a beautiful fall day with little wind and a warm sun. We started out fishing the Miracle Mile -- a stretch of river just north of Lower Fort Garry that has a ton of rock rip rap on the bottom and good current flow. This area, along with a stretch closer to Selkirk called Doc Reeds, has been producing some incredible fishing for big walleye. In our first 90 minutes at anchor, we managed to catch several eating-size walleye and a bunch of sauger. After a couple of drifts we decided to troll the flats in three to four centimeters with Berkley Frenzy Flicker shads and minnow baits. After five nice fish on this technique, things slowed down. The week before, we had anchored in 3.5 metres of water along the river channel. Using pink quarter-ounce jigs tipped with a silver Berkley drop shot minnow and salted shiners, we had caught and released eleven walleye over 66 centimetres (26 inches) .
The biggest walleye in our boat so far this fall was a fish that measured 78.74 centimetres (31 inches) caught by Dan McCrae of Portage. McCrae also caught two bonus catfish and a nice sturgeon while jigging for walleye. You can see pictures of those fish at www.completeangler.net
Anglers Notes: Fishing for stocked trout has been excellent in the Parkland region, but with extreme cold coming, the days are numbered before the smaller lakes freeze over. For up to date reports on fishing in most parts of the province visit the Manitoba Fishing Forum at www.manitobafishingforum.com
This site has excellent fishing reports from a number of the province's top anglers and a wide variety of topics to do with fishing in Manitoba and Northwestern Ontario.