Summertime on Lake Winnipeg

Great weather doesn’t always mean that the fishing will be the same. It does offer a stable environment for fish though, and you add some moving water and the fishing can be spectacular. Some our family weekends are spent at Gimli on the shores of Lake Winnipeg. This year the water clarity has been excellent, providing some good angling in many sections of the lake. Friend Jim Price and I decided to head out on the big lake a couple of weeks ago from the Winnipeg Beach Harbor. Unfortunately a couple of days of windy weather had resulted in a reduction in water clarity. Still we had a beautiful day with a northeast wind providing a nice chop on the water. While we caught six species of fish, we only managed one small walleye and one small sauger. Most of the time was spent trolling, first shallow water, then gradually deeper. We didn’t mark very many fish on our sonar, but the majority we did catch this day was by slowly drifting with a jig and and power gulp minnow.
Meantime another friend of mine headed out to Traverse Bay, catching a limit of nice walleye as well as a variety of other species. He anchored out in the main bay off one of the rock piles in fourteen feet of water. Using jigs tipped with salted shiners, he had non-stop action for walleye until about noon, then after that perch and saugers.
Since many of the tributaries are still emptying a lot of water in the big lake, this current is holding fish all summer long. Baitfish will hang around these areas and walleye and other species are not far behind. The Saskatchewan River at Grand Rapids has also been very good all summer for walleye that hold below the power dam before the river empties into Lake Winnipeg.
Sections of the Winnipeg River that combine current with rock rip rap also hold large schools of walleye. Off to the edges you will find smallmouth bass and other species. If you are looking for pike, the warmer water temperatures drive them down to deep water as they suspend near the thermocline, which usually forms in about thirty feet of water. For those of you who are camping or staying at a friends cabin for some summer relaxation, you might want to consider getting up early in the morning or staying out late in the evening if you want to catch fish on our natural lakes. Fish, especially walleye, will move shallower in low light conditions.
We have some great walleye fishing during the evening just before the sun sets around shallow rock reefs or sunken islands. Walleye will move in from the depths to ambush their prey, using their excellent low light vision.