Fishing in Manitoba

Manitoba means “where the spirit lives” in the Cree language, and this beautiful Canadian province is one of the country’s top fishing destinations.
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About Manitoba

A large province in central Canada, Manitoba has a varied landscape ranging from prairie and grassland in the south to boreal forest areas to arctic tundra and the coastline of Hudson Bay in the far north. Manitoba has some 110,000 lakes covering more than 15 percent of its surface area. With so much water, the province is one of the best places in Canada to plan a fishing getaway. Manitoba's massive Lake Winnipeg, the tenth-largest freshwater lake and one of the best walleye fisheries in the world, is located in the center of the province. Two other famous lakes, Lake Manitoba and Lake Winnipegosis, are world-famous destinations for northern pike, perch, and walleyes. There is a short window during the summer to fish Hudson Bay; once cold weather hits, the bay freezes so solid that it is not even possible to ice fish. And you won’t want to shore-fish this area since the area around Churchill is famous for the many polar bears that frequent the coastline. But the Hudson Bay Lowlands on the western side of the bay features many rivers that drain into the bay and are good spots to fly-fish for brook trout and other species.

Fishing Types

Southern Manitoba has an excellent road network, so you can trailer your own boat to numerous lakes and rivers. Shore fishing and wading can also be successful, depending on the area. Most of the major lakes are served by outfitters who can guide you to the big fish. For a more pristine experience, try a fly-in trip to one of Manitoba’s many wilderness lodges, where you can choose your level of adventure from remote DIY fishing to pure luxury. Ice fishing is also extremely popular and an excellent way to catch big fish in Manitoba.

Targeted Fish Species

Northern pike are the most sought-after species in Canada’s central provinces, and you can catch 50-inch pike in many Manitoba lakes. Other common species include walleyes, whitefish, smallmouth bass, perch, muskellunge, arctic char, lake sturgeon, and crappies. Manitoba’s excellent trout fishing is often overlooked in favor of pike and walleyes, but huge lake and speckled trout inhabit the northern regions, and large rainbow and brown trout are plentiful in southern lakes and rivers. And yes, there is saltwater fishing in Manitoba. Adventurous fishermen may want to consider a trip to Hudson Bay, where Arctic char, whitefish, and arctic cod are the most common species; halibut and salmon may also be found. Many anglers focus on the rivers that drain into the bay, which have good fishing in summer for trout, walleyes, and pike.

Fishing Techniques

With such a wide variety of rivers, lakes, and fish species, fishing techniques that work well in Manitoba include everything from trolling with downriggers to jigging to casting with spinning, baitcasting, and fly-fishing gear.