Attracting visitors to enjoy Manitoba's great fishing opportunities!

I had the opportunity to attend the Manitoba Lodge and Outfitters Conference last month in Winnipeg to listen to a panel headed by the Manitoba of Chamber President and CEO Chuck Davidson titled “ Getting Tourism on the government’s radar.”  Having worked in the past as Outdoor Product manager for Travel Manitoba even I was surprised at the small amount the province reinvests to promote tourism. Travel Manitoba has a budget in the neighborhood of $7 million a year; a drop in the bucket considering tourism brings in more than 1.4 billion a year. Davidson is advocating more of a reinvestment of this money to reverse the declining number of tourists that come to this province every year. He says that for every dollar spent promoting, the province receives at least $10 in return on investment. Davidson is encouraged by a new tourism campaign announced last month by Travel Manitoba. Colin Ferguson, the organizations President says they will launch the new brand this month, that, he says, should “ inspire a sense of awe in our target audiences and pride in the hearts of all Manitobans. The tourism industry's new catchphrase is "Manitoba: Canada's Heart Beats."

 Davidson says the Chambers job is to work with different stakeholder groups to provide a clear plan to government on how it should reinvest.
Paul Turenne, Executive Director of Manitoba Lodge and Outfitters Association, says the influx of anglers  to Manitoba Lodges has a ripple effect on rural communities all over Manitoba and agrees with Davidson that more of a reinvestment would greatly benefit the province overall. We have a number of angling stakeholder groups in Manitoba and it’s time to get these organizations around the table again, so we can be part of the solution.
In conversation with a number of lodge owners over the last two years it’s been Canadian anglers who are now making up a large portion of their clientele, covering for the loss of U.S. business. While not the case for every lodge operator, it seems to be the way of the future. Research verifies that more and more people are coming to fish Manitoba from Saskatchewan, Alberta and Ontario. Certainly, I know a lot of people from Winnipeg who book a fly in fishing trip at least once a year.

Angler Notes: I would like to remind everyone that you still have time to nominate Manitoba’s official provincial fish. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity  to nominate a fish you think best represents Manitoba’s fisheries resource to the rest of the world.  We have over 80 native fish species found throughout the province that inhabit our many lakes and rivers.
As chair person of the volunteer committee that will review nominations, I really want to see the votes pour in from all over the province.   The selected fish will be recommended for official adoption as an amendment to The Coat of Arms, Emblems and the Manitoba Tartan Act.
To date, the top 5 fish nominations in no particular order are Lake Sturgeon, Goldeye, Walleye (pickerel), Northern Pike, and Channel Catfish.     
To nominate a fish, please visit and provide us with a short fish story on why you think your fish should be Manitoba`s official provincial fish. Nomination deadline is February 1, 2014.