The fishing season in southern Manitoba opens on May 11 this year. The question most anglers in this province are asking is whether it will be ice fishing or open water angling.
After the coldest April in recent history, one can only hope for continued warm weather. Rivers and streams are always the first bodies of water to open. With extremely high water conditions in the Red and Assiniboine rivers, if you plan a trip for the opening, consider going to one of the smaller rivers and streams that might have more manageable water levels.
Because of the late spring, many fish species will be using the tributaries to feed. For those who like to fish for walleye, these smaller streams will hold fish that are in pre- or post-spawn. Selective harvest is important at this time of year. Keep the smaller male walleye for eating. Dripping milt will allow you to distinguish the male fish.
Charitable nonprofit groups have been taking advantage of the lull in angling activity to hold successful fundraising events. Here in Winnipeg, Fish Futures held its 25th anniversary banquet at the Canad Inns Polo Park with a crowd of more than 800 people. Every year, money raised from this event goes toward:
-- Sponsorship, development and encouragement of research projects.
-- Habitat preservation, enhancement and management programs.
-- Public education to increase awareness of the value of freshwater fisheries and the need for conservation and enhancement of fish stocks and habitat.
On the day of the Fish Futures banquet, the minister in charge of Manitoba Public Insurance had some exciting news. Andrew Swan announced that MPI would be printing Fish Futures trailer licence plates that would become available to the public on May 9. Swan said the cost of the plates would be $70, of which $30 would go to Fish Futures for Fisheries Enhancement work.
Fish Winnipeg award
Last week, the Fish Winnipeg program received the mayor's 2013 Volunteer Service Award for its dedication to providing angling opportunities for Winnipeg's youth. On behalf of the committee, co-chair John Toone and I accepted the award from Mayor Sam Katz. Also in attendance were committee members Katherine Ward, Stephen Yuffe and Rob Cann. Over the last 16 years, the program's success has been made possible by the generous donation of time by the many volunteers who have supported this program. More than 6,000 youth have participated over the years and in excess of $350,000 has gone to providing an urban angling experience.
By providing this opportunity, Fish Winnipeg is helping build self-esteem and lifelong skills in our youth that will benefit our community. If you have a youth group that would be interested in going fishing for a portion of the day, you can contact the City of Winnipeg at 204-918-1353. The program runs from July 2 to Aug. 16 and there are two time slots available, one at 10 a.m. and the other at 1:30 p.m. Fish Winnipeg will once again hold its media/corporate day on June 13 in Winnipeg depending on water conditions. Visit www.fishwinnipeg.ca.
The Miles Macdonell Angling Club is once again getting ready for the season. I had an opportunity recently to speak to the group. Led by teachers Tim Au and Corey Kapilik they were able to present a cheque to the Kids Fishing for a Cure foundation last year for $1,800. This money was raised through their own Kids Fishing for a Cure derby. In total, they caught, measured and released more than 88 fish as well as participating in a river bank cleanup at the end of May last season.