Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Swapping classroom for schools of fish

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With the long-term forecast showing signs of plus temperatures for a couple of weeks yet, there is still the opportunity to get out on the water.

Anglers fishing the Winnipeg River at Pine Falls out to Traverse Bay have been reporting some great success for the walleye that move in during the fall.

I was out last weekend with teacher Tim Au, a hardcore angler who also happens to be one of the best volleyball coaches in the province. I met Au four years ago in a different role, as he expanded his work in the school to include an angling club. Supported by the administration at Miles Macdonnell Collegiate, he started with weekly meetings in April, followed by fishing outings to the Red River in May.

Since that time, the club has grown and many of his students have taken up the recreational pursuit year round. I have had the opportunity to spend some time with his students and he does a great job getting them to buy into not only the fishing but raising money for charity and doing riverbank cleanups after their fishing outings to the Red River.

When I offered to take Au out fishing this past Sunday, he was able to spring some time to join Pete Hiebert and me for a trip to Pine Falls. We boated out to Traverse Bay, but conditions were rough, with a southeast wind that was gusting between 50 and 70 kilometres an hour.

Our seven-kilogram anchor was not going to hold in too many spots in those kinds of conditions, but we did manage to anchor in four metres of water on the edge of the main river channel. Here we landed one walleye and one pike. After no more fish for 20 minutes, we started to troll the flats out in the bay. In the first 20 minutes we caught two nice walleye on Berkley Flicker Shads in four metres of water but as the swells started to increase in size, we were the only boat left out in the middle of the bay. Boat control became extremely difficult, so we decided to head back into the river to a section called "The Chute." There, we found plenty of current to go along with some shelter from the howling wind. We also found some hungry walleye, and by the end of the day we had enough fish to make for a enjoyable outing. When cleaning these fish, we found them jam-packed with small emerald shiner minnows, the exact same size as the minnows we had on our jigs. These fish were slamming the baits -- an indication that there was plenty of walleye chasing down these prime forage fish.

Thanks again, Tim, for all your hard work introducing young people to the sport of fishing.

dlamont@mymts.net

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 9, 2013 C8

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