A MidWest Outdoors 50th Anniversary Legacy Feature: Manitoba has six regions, four seasons of fabulous fishing fun


Canada’s central province of Manitoba stretches from prairie grasslands in the south to treeline and tundra at the north. In between lies a diverse range of lakes, rivers and reservoirs that provide incredible angling and remarkable destinations. Manitoba divides the province into four fisheries management zones and six geographically distinct tourism regions, with each region presenting a variety of signature angling experiences.

Northern tourism region
Three of the four fisheries management zones roughly lie within the Northern Tourism Region. Let’s take a quick look at each:

Northeastern Manitoba is home to exceptional fly-in fisheries for trophy lake trout and pike in deep, crystal-clear lakes. Arctic grayling are common below waterfalls and in rapids sections between larger bodies of water. Reindeer Lake, and lakes of the North Seal and Churchill River systems are all good examples of multi-species fisheries in this region, with Reindeer providing road access to anglers towing their own boats.

Walleyes are abundant in lakes and rivers up to the North Seal River, beyond which point their populations fade due to the cold climate. In large, deep, cool lakes, walleyes often cluster around rapids and river mouths for much of the year. Smaller lakes that warm sufficiently often see walleyes spread to main-lake structures like points, humps and islands during summer.

Gods River drains God’s Lake into Hudson Bay, with the river being world famous for large brook trout. The fast flow creates myriad hiding places for brook trout in eddies, within riffles, and below thundering rapids. Additional rivers of the Hudson Bay drainage offer great brook trout fishing as well.

North-central Manitoba is a similar hotbed of fishing for trophy lake trout, big pike and plentiful walleyes. The climate here is slightly milder, with a tendency to perhaps grow slightly larger walleyes than in lakes to the north. Kississing, Highrock and Granville are good examples.

The Churchill River feeds a vast network of lakes within the western area, as does the Nelson River to the east. Deep, cold lake sections offer lake trout, while shallower lakes or river sections tend to produce more pike.

Most fly-in fishing resorts in this region route through Lynn Lake, Leaf Rapids or Thompson. With a bit more resident population in this area, the opportunities for road and rail access are increased, particularly through Thompson.

Northwestern Manitoba provides excellent fisheries for big pike and lake trout. Athapapuskow, Cormorant, Clearwater and Moose are good examples. It also marks the beginning of the trophy walleye zone, where the fertile Saskatchewan River flows through The Pas, on through Cedar Lake, and past Grand Rapids. Fish topping the 10-pound mark become decidedly more common in this portion of the province. While many fly-ins do route their way through Flin Flon, The Pas and Grand Rapids, these towns also offer good road access for anglers willing to trade a plane flight in favor of a long drive, perhaps even trailering their own boat.

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Southern tourism regions
The Parkland, Western, Central Plains Pembina, Interlake and Eastern Tourism Regions define Manitoba’s southern landscapes. All more or less fall within the Southern fisheries management zone.

Southern Manitoba offers countless public access fisheries for a variety of species, beginning with large walleyes and pike on large lakes like Dauphin, Manitoba and Winnipegosis. But it is undoubtedly huge Lake Winnipeg that draws the most angling attention, both winter and summer. As part of the Saskatchewan River drainage, the fertile lake produces numbers of walleyes in the 12- to-14-pound range. Fall fishing in the Red and Winnipeg Rivers is outstanding, as is ice fishing on the main lake in winter.During summer, both the Winnipeg and Red rivers host some of the finest trophy channel catfish angling in the world, with 20-plus-pounders common with 30s possible.

To the west, lakes and rivers of Duck Mountain Provincial Park offer superb trout fishing. To the east, Lac du Bonnet and lakes of the Winnipeg River drainage flowing through Whiteshell Provincial Park offer great fisheries for trophy walleyes, pike and smallmouth bass. And don’t forget to drop a line in Buffalo Bay of Lake of the Woods, known for producing big northern pike.

All told, Manitoba offers amazing fishing and family vacation opportunities for anglers of all persuasions, from hardcore to casual and from single-species fanatics to those simply seeking to get bit by anything that swims. And they intend to keep it that way.

Manitoba was first among the central provinces to institute catch-and-release ethics at fly-in lodges, beginning at Nueltin Lake in the early ‘80s, and spreading forth to other operations thereafter. Today, barbless hooks are required to facilitate successful catch-and-release, helping to ensure future generations the same quality of trophy fishing enjoyed by those who came before.

Whether you fly in, boat in or drive to your destination, you’ll find a 4-star luxury resort with all the amenities, an American Plan lodge furnishing meals and guided fishing, an outpost cabin where you find your own fish and cook your own food or simply a day’s fishing on one of thousands of Manitoba’s lakes, rivers and streams.You’ve come to the right place for action and excitement, rest and relaxation—and because Manitoba has the fish to catch.

All you need to do is show up and make a cast.


     For more information on fishing opportunities in Manitoba visit huntfishmanitoba.com.