With its shallow waters and rapid replenishment rate, Lake Winnipeg in Manitoba Canada is one of the most fertile fishing lakes in the world - and to the delight of anglers, it's chock full of walleye, North America's most sought-after sport fish.
Guide to Greenbacks
In southern Lake Winnipeg, and the Red and Winnipeg Rivers, fishing for "greenbacks," the uniquely emerald-coloured walleye of the region, attracts anglers from around the world. Local outfitting companies specialize in "greenback guiding," and the trophy fish is eagerly sought in both summer and winter fishing tournaments.
Versatility and perseverance are the keys to catching a monster "eye," no matter where you fish in Manitoba's largest lake. Walleye preferences vary widely, with season, topography, water temperature and favoured prey. Get to know your water, and you will probably get to know some walleye! Successful Winnipeg walleye fishers are familiar with a few rules of thumb:
- Scout your location - Look for sunken islands, flats, drop-offs, rocky ledges, narrows, island fronts and obstructions such as bridge piers.
- Adapt your bait to the area - Walleye are predominantly piscivorous fish, feeding on minnows of other fish species. Find out what the walleye in your area are eating - whitefish, goldeneye, white bass, yellow perch - and make sure your bait resembles their forage.
- Hit the high seasons - As a general rule, spring and fall are the best times to fish for walleye. Fall walleye appear in larger rivers from the middle of September to December,
- Experiment with tackle and tactics - Flashing lures? Live bait? Jigging or trolling? Proficient walleye fishers use a variety of tackle and a multi-pronged presentation, adapting their methods to time of day, depth of water, season and location.
- Stick with it - Successful walleye is often an "eleventh hour" sport!
Fishing, Icing an "Eye"
Flexibility of approach is just as important for walleye ice fishers as it is for warm weather anglers. Use a variety of tackle and try several presentations, fish near islands, inlets, outlets and other structures, and try drilling a series of holes rather than limiting your self to 1 location. And if you're really stumped about where to start, just look for other fishing shacks!