Barbe Lake is still the best!


What a trip, one of the most memorable I have ever had in close to thirty years of fishing!   Barbe Lake is about seventy kilometres north of The Pas, up Highway 10, past Rocky Lake then left at the Sturgeon Landing road for about five kilometres.  The first time I was to fish this lake was with friend Rick Hubbs back in 2007 and they say first impressions last. For me, the beauty of this lake and the quality of the environment was stunning!
First trip to Barbe with Rick

While the length is only about three kilometres , there is a incredible diversity of habitat with huge weed flats at one end, deep water and rocks at the other. With my polarized sunglasses and excellent water clarity I could spot huge schools of small minnows hiding in the shallow rocks at the north end of Barbe Lake. Hubbs says this is only part of the equation. He says the diversity of food sources allow these fish constant feeding opportunities. There is an incredible volume of scuds and hellgrammites plus other small aquatic creatures that exist in the weed clumps and mud bottom areas in almost every section of the lake.
We started out the day fishing with small crankbaits that imitate the minnow base in the lake.  
Nice brookie on the taildancer!
Our first trolling run around the lake was relatively uneventful as I lost the first fish of the day right beside the boat after the rainbow jumped about a metre, spitting the lure past my head. We continued to change lures, both profile and size to find what the fish wanted this particular day. At the north end Rick hooked and landed a beautiful brook trout on a small blue and white Rapala Tail Dancer.  
All in all we hooked about forty fish this day, landing less than half, with the majority nice healthy rainbows. Two monster fish were lost after long distance releases but it was a day I will never forget.
All these memories came flooding back when I received the following email.

 My name is Brant Broome and I am a huge fan of yours. I grew up watching the Complete Angler. As a kid I remember this one day where my dad took me to see one of your shows in Yorkton Saskatchewan, and I remember catching a small trout in a pool you had set up there. That was a very memorable experience and one I won't forget. It influenced me to start fishing at a very young age. Later in life while I was attending Duane Whyte’s biology class in the Swan Valley Secondary School. He asked if there was anyone interested in giving the Complete Angler a ride across town. So I was quick to volunteer myself, along with another classmate. That was a very exciting opportunity to get to know someone I grew up watching on the t.v. From growing up on a farm and watching the Complete Angler I was inspired to live a life outdoors and enjoy the nature of Manitoba. I started off catching Creek Chubs in the Ruby River near our farm, which is a small tributary to the Roaring River. Eventually I was hooked on fishing and actually to this day I still find it exciting to stop by the Ruby River and catch a couple 10" chubs. I spent 5 years out west working in Grande Prairie, Alberta. I finally moved back to Manitoba in August of 2012 and am now working in The Pas as a Forest Technician for Tolko. 

The following is Brant’s story about his experiences on Barbe:
Brant Broome with a Barbe Lake Monster!

Through one of your articles online I was inspired to give Barbe Lake a try. I like to use my Pelican kayak for fishing since I can get into shallow weedy areas easily. So on September 9, 2012 I started paddling with the intent of circling the entire lake and end up back at the parking lot where my vehicle was. It was a very long day without a bite. I was close to packing it in, but I decided to kind of troll along the shore until I reached my car. I let out a lot of line and was paddling rather slow.
Brant in the Kayak

 I had a small orange spoon on with black dots. Just as I could see my car clearly, I heard the line screaming. The rod was placed behind me in a rod holder and was a little tricky to grab. At first I was frustrated thinking I had snagged the weeds. When I grabbed the rod and looked over my shoulder what I saw absolutely shocked me, a huge rainbow trout jumping 2 to 4 feet out of the water. My adrenaline kicked in at that point. And now the fight was on. At one point I nearly tipped the kayak trying to land the fish. The fish seemed to be able to spin the kayak whatever direction it wanted to. Each time it approached the kayak it would make another run and I would watch the line on my reel disappear. 

The final time it approached the kayak it was rather tired and I was blown away with how huge it was. Prior to this trip my largest Rainbow was a 19 inch from Vini Lake. After 10 minutes of action I finally landed it and it measured in at 26.6 inches 8.6lbs. After that much excitement I was hooked on this lake and returned many times. Sometimes I would walk the shore all day, sometimes I would kayak all day and a few weekends my brother Derek would come up with his boat. On September 15, I managed to land a 26.2 inch rainbow while fishing with Derek and he caught a nice 21 inch rainbow. The fights were just un-real. At this point I discovered my favourite hook a medium sized spoon with a perch colours. (dark line down the middle, green and yellow on either side). During that same day I had a monster one which I would guess was 28 or more inches and almost had it in the boat when it made another run straight for land and appeared to have actually hit land. When I tried to turn it back around the hook slipped out and it was a goner. I have never seen anything like that in my life.  September was the best month of fishing in my entire life and the majority of it was on Barbe Lake. I was proud of my decision to come back to Manitoba and have enjoyed the outdoors here so much. I got into ice fishing this year and so far I have made 4 trips to Barbe Lake. I caught nothing 3 of the days but luckily I did catch a 25 inch and a 20 inch on the very first day (February 9, 2013) using a buck shot spoon.
Dave Colibaba with a beauty through the ice