Lake Winnipeg ice fishing is among the finest angling adventures Manitoba has to offer. Home of the beloved Greenback Walleye and stupendous fishing opportunities, this inland sea is what ice fishermen’s dreams are made of. With over 250 miles of hardwater to explore and real hogs you can claim as your prize, Lake Winnipeg hides more honey holes than you can explore in a lifetime.
Manitoba is renowned for its top-notch ice fishing, but some of the spots can be quite difficult to reach, which makes Lake Winnipeg all the more alluring. The capital of Manitoba, Winnipeg, is only 40 miles away, so good ice fishing times are available every weekend.
What to Fish
Whether you’re fishing for your next trophy Walleye or you’re looking for some fast action and good numbers, Lake Winnipeg will not disappoint. The emerald glow in the water announces the Greenback Walleye – the most desired catch on the lake. They often grow to be 30+ inches long and as such, can be a challenge to reel in, which makes the experience all the more rewarding. But Walleye isn’t the only catch you can look forward to – Perch, Burbot, Northern Pike, and different types of Trout are all on the menu.
Where to Fish
There are countless treasure troves on Lake Winnipeg, and no one knows that better than experienced Lake Winnipeg ice fishing guides. If you’re going out on the lake for the first time, it’s recommended to have someone knowledgeable with you. You can approach the lake from either side and you will still have access to the premier fishing spots both close to the shore and further out.
Salamonia Channel is the easiest ice fishery to access directly from Winnipeg. If you’re on the lookout for a strong beginning to the hardwater season, “The Sal” is the place to be. The mouth of the channel is one of the best spots to drill a hole in December and land sizeable Greenback, standard Walleye, Sauger, and Burbot. You can catch real lunkers in shallower waters where 30’’ Walleye are often the norm. It’s best to hit the ice early in the morning, when the Walleye are most active – that will guarantee some reel-screaming action and catch you’ll want to boast about. The sheer number of fish will keep you occupied throughout the day, which is the main reason why Salamonia Channel is so popular with anglers from all around the province.
Another ice fishing pearl of Lake Winnipeg, Chalet Beach is the go-to spot of professional anglers and beginners alike. Because this is a Walleye fishery, be on the ice before the first light to set up and wait. As the dawn comes, so will the Walleye. Lake Winnipeg is not too deep to begin with, and dropping your line in 10 feet of water will get you the best results on the Chalet Beach. Fishing is excellent here throughout the season, so whenever you decide to test your luck, chances are, you’re in for a productive expedition.
If you’re in the mood to explore a superb fishing spot off the beaten path, then Hecla Island is your destination. To get to Lake Winnipeg, you will have to go through the Hecla Provincial Park, which is a treat in itself. After that, it’s up to you to pick a spot, drill a hole, and stay alert, the bite will follow soon. It could be a big Northern Pike, an always-hungry Greenback, or a delicious Burbot. Hecla Island has an advantage that makes it all the more attractive – you can find free fishing shacks all over the coast, and they’re occupied on a first-come, first-served basis. This is excellent news for all the anglers who are fond of ice fishing, but not so much of the sweeping, freezing winds that can be the bane of their existence while fishing. When it comes to Lake Winnipeg ice fishing, it doesn’t get much better than Hecla Island.
How to Fish
“Fishing naked” – you’ll hear this expression often on Lake Winnipeg, especially among the local anglers. Thankfully, this doesn’t mean you have to go through some obscure initiation and fish without clothes. If someone asks you if you’re fishing naked, they simply want to know whether you’re using your lures without live bait on the hook.
If you’ve come to Lake Winnipeg to score an aggressive feeder like Greenback, you’ll have the best chances to catch something huge using lipless crankbaits.
The rule of thumb when you’re ice fishing on Lake Winnipeg is that you shouldn’t linger too long in one spot. Since you’ve got so much ice to explore, feel free to move around until you hit the jackpot. When you do move, think big – one mile in the right direction could make all the difference.
Use rattle jigs and jigging Raps to entice that massive Walleye, they can’t resist the movement of the lures. If you pair it with a live minnow, you’ve got the winning combination.
When to Fish
It’s no surprise that Manitoba prides itself on some of the best ice fishing opportunities in Canada and beyond. Lake Winnipeg serves as a crown jewel with its long ice fishing season. From December to March, Lake Winnipeg ice fishing is unparalleled and brings all the hardwater enthusiasts to the yard. March is particularly popular because the weather is mild and the fish are even more willing to come out and play.
The ice fishing potential of Lake Winnipeg is all but limitless and until you’ve tried it, it might seem too good to be true. But once you feel that first tug under the ice, you’ll never be the same and Lake Winnipeg will take a special place in your fishing portfolio.