Rain and more rain continues to swell rivers and streams across Manitoba. Despite high, fast and sometimes muddy water, anglers are reporting some tremendous fishing.
Anglers are still enjoying excellent action for channel catfish in the stretch of river from Lockport to Selkirk. Most anglers are using goldeye for bait. Goldeye are everywhere right now in the river and are easy to catch using a bobber and small hook tipped with a bit of night crawler.
Most of the catfish are being caught in the heavier current. Catfish like moving water, as they rely on their sense of smell and lateral line to zero in on food. Sturgeon love current as well, and there is plenty of that on the Winnipeg River. While catfish and sturgeon don't mind turbidity and heavy flow, it can make walleye fishing extremely difficult. Here are some rigs that will help you land more fish in these difficult conditions. You could try a heavy jig anchored the rig with a small Phelps floater and minnow off the top swivel fished from an anchored position with the rod in holders.
Another option is to use a three-way swivel with a walleye spinner rig on the back end. If you are after catfish, put a strip of cut bait on the spinner rig and catfish will zero in on the vibration and smell of the bait. It is an absolutely dynamite way to catch catfish in heavy current from an anchored position. Use a heavy weight, though, and fish it right below the boat to feel the bite.
On the Manigotogan
I took my first trip to the Manigotogan River this week to try to catch some walleye. After staying a night in Pine Falls, we were on the river at 6 a.m. Trolling crankbaits near the mouth produced just one small walleye, so we headed out into the main lake.
We tried trolling with spinners and cranks with no luck. Since the wind was inshore at a moderate speed, we decided to drift with jigs. Bingo! We started catching some decent-sized walleye until a another front moved in with pelting rain. After heading in for a quick breakfast at the local motel, we went back down to the boat only to see the winds increase to 60 km/h from the west. This was not going to allow us to head back to the lake. Instead, we headed up river to the falls and started catching a variety of species of fish, including some juvenile catfish, a couple rock bass, and two walleye. All in all, it was a fun time and I would head back there again.
It has been a busy month for me, as I have visited a number of northern communities as part of the provincial Rod and Reel program. With Manitoba Hydro as the major sponsor, I visited schools in Cross Lake, Norway House and Grand Rapids. Also on the agenda were visits to Robert Smith School in Selkirk, and another road trip to Prairie Dale School in Schanzenfeld.
Recently opened, this school is situated just south of the thriving community of Winkler on Highway 32.
Teacher Vernon Wall, who is an avid angler, decided he wanted to challenge his students in a variety of different ways, so two years ago he began writing grant applications to start a tackle manufacturing class over lunch hours. He was lucky enough to receive an Innovation in Citizenship Education grant that allowed him to purchase commercial-grade tackle-making tools. He then hit the jackpot with a grant from the Fisheries Enhancement Fund. This was the final piece of the puzzle that really allowed the project to move forward. The funding allowed Wall to purchase top-grade tackle parts that his students could work with. Thus was born PDS Stingers Tackleworks.
Also, the Miles Mac Angling Club finished another very successful program by donating $1,800 to the Kids Fishing for a Cure Foundation at their event on June 2. Kids Fishing for a Cure is a day in which local fishermen donate their time, boats, and resources to young oncology patients and their families. It is a really happy time for kids who are affected by cancer and undergoing treatment to have fun and boost their spirits.