Last ice madness

It has been over two weeks since I last ice fished. I can’t say with the conditions in this part of the world I have been totally motivated. Cold and snow is something we have to deal with, making access to many of our lakes and rivers a very hard chore. My last trip was to East Shoal Lake in the Interlake. About three years ago anglers discovered large perch here and the word has slowly filtered out. Angling pressure has increased tremendously and one can only wonder how long those trophy perch will last.
Now that is a perch!

Speaking of trophy fisheries one of the most unique in this part of the world exists up near the Ducks Mountains. Called Twin Lakes this body of water was stocked with tiger trout a few years back. Now, that’s a fish with attitude!

These particular fish are a cross between brook and brown trout and are difficult to raise in the hatchery. Stocked a few years ago, tiger trout have found Twin Lake to their liking, a huge population of scuds allowing them to grow to impressive size. I received an email last week from Brant Broone, a forestry technician who now lives in The Pas. He had the opportunity to visit this lake at the beginning of the month.
“Also inspired by one of your online articles I decided to give Twin Lakes a try to catch those exotic Tiger Trout. I convinced my brother Derek to come along with me and we were sure glad we did. We fished in about 5 to 10 feet of water using a variety of hooks. We started off in a weedy bay just south of the parking lot but soon discovered it was hard to jig without pulling up a handful of weeds. So we moved further north towards the open water. About 20 feet from the shoreline, I tried for a while with my buck shot spoon and got one bite. Then we tried a variety of power tub jigs that I read about on your page and landed most of our fish using those. The pink micro tube jig seemed to do the trick on this day.

Brant with beautiful tiger trout
We landed 3 nice Tiger's with the biggest pushing 22 inches. It was a bright red male just like I saw in the pictures and packed on a lot of weight. I was very impressed so we snapped a few photos and got it back in the water quickly. For every fish we landed we lost two. I was amazed by the power of these trout. I would often get them up to the hole and they would dive back down and escape. I had one that came up to the hole 3 times before finally getting off. It seemed from 2 to 3 pm they were biting steady. After three p.m we never had a single bite all the way until darkness. It was a great memorable day of fishing and I can’t wait to get back out on the ice there and see what else comes out of those waters.”
Lake Winnipeg has been very good for walleye, but only if you have access to a snowmobile or tracked vehicle to get out to the fishing areas.
The best success has been on the west side of the lake near Matlock. Anglers have been catching some really nice fish at first light tucked close to shore in a metre of water. It seems the walleye have been herding schools of shiner in tight at first light. Later in the day the bite has been good in about three metres with lipless crankbaits the bait of choice.
 Dino with the first of two trophies!

Friend Dino Branfield ventured out Saturday and caught two 32 inch walleye within two hours. What a day! Dino was fishing ten feet of water and caught both on a big jig and big minnow!

Dino with another monster
Dino only had his cell phone along but here are some pictures he took of these two monster fish. You only have a short time to get out there and it is still pretty much snow machine only or tracked vehicle to get out.
The season closes in southern Manitoba at the end of this month and it should be interesting to see when the ice goes out on the big lake this year.