Cross Bay Adventure

Cross Bay Late Summer Pike!
Day One:

When people ask me about a great drive to place for big pike I mention Cross Bay and portions of Cedar Lake. This fishery is located above the dam at Grand Rapids, Manitoba, some four and half hours by paved highway from Winnipeg. The Grand Rapids Generating Station was built between the years of 1960 and 1968, and this huge structure was the first major hydro-electric project in northern Manitoba. Grand Rapids was the logical spot to build the dam because of a series of natural waterfalls along this stretch of the Saskatchewan River that formed a total drop of 35.6 metres. Alexander Mackenzie, first traveled this route in July of 1793 and in his journals described the area as abundant with wildlife and its waters rich with fish, especially sturgeon. As the dam was built, a large reservoir was created above the dam in Cedar Lake. Its water level was raised 3.5 metres, flooding a large tract of land, making it now cover an area of close to thirty five hundred kilometres. Cross Bay is on the east end of the lake were the reservoir drains into Lake Winnipeg. It’s closed to commercial activity and produces huge walleye and pike. Strict management regulations don’t hurt either. You have to release all pike over 75centimetres and walleye over 55centimetres.
Over the last five years I have made the journey three times, all with great results. Just last week we met up with a group of friends to fish the area for two and a half days.  After arriving at Moak Lake Lodge around two in the afternoon, we decided to spend the remainder of the day pike fishing. The lodge owner had assured us the pike were in full feed mode and we had arrived at prime time. While it proved to be the case, I have never known the pike of Cross Bay not to be hungry!
I spend a fair amount of time chasing big pike and Cross Bay is as good a drive to pike fishery has I have been on.  

Boyd gets on the board
As we headed across the bay to the west shore, three other boats were fishing the large bay we had targeted. Not to worry we had plenty of area to fish and the pike were hungry. We found the best bite to be in ten feet of water along the edge of some deep weeds. This was the magic area and by drifting at the correct depth we caught fish after fish, the largest the first day around forty two inches.  We decided to drift with slip floats and herring rigs because of the nature of structure, with a ton of sunken timber and weed clumps.  

We set our stops at about five feet and left the wind move the bait up and down. This is a very visual kind of fishing and subtle changes in depth and the way you rig the bait will produce dramatic changes believe it or not. This technique also works with a decent wind blowing so the baits can cover more area. That wasn’t the problem on this trip as the wind blew hard the whole time we were there.

Jim with a beauty!