Sportfishing in Manitoba, Canada

Province/state: Manitoba
Country: Canada

About Sportfishing in Manitoba

Dock with boats and a view of the lake behind them.

‘The Land of 100,000 Lakes’ is simply a fishing paradise. Manitoba really DOES have100,000 lakes, including mammoth Lake Winnipeg (the 10th largest freshwater lake in the world), which is known as a hotspot for walleye fishing, but also hosts species as varied as northern pike, whitefish and sauger – 100 types of fish species to be exact. Ice fishing on Lake Winnipeg is especially popular. The most common type of fish is the walleye, also called pickerel. Whether it’s fly fishing, shoreline fishing, ice fishing, or trawling from a boat, Manitoba offers any type of fishing for almost any type of fishing aficionado.

Manitoba is a beautiful and varied province, with a rich history. Louis Riel, its founder, was a leader of the Metis people, who still have a strong presence in the province. Along with the Metis, Manitoba is also home to the Cree, Ojibwe, Oji-Cree, and Dakota peoples, with a smattering of Inuit peoples, mostly in Winnipeg. Along with its 100,000+ freshwater lakes, Manitoba also borders Hudson Bay, with a train line to Churchill, where visitors can (seasonally) enjoy polar bear and beluga viewing. People in Manitoba are also known for their general friendliness. With fifty provincial parks, and abundant wildlife, Manitoba is prime destination for sport fishers and lovers of the outdoors from all round the world. Even if you’re not able to get to the more remote destinations, Manitoba offers fishing opportunities in just about every lake and river in the province! You can even fish from inside Winnipeg! As long as you are on public land and have a fishing license, you can fish anywhere in the province. 

What To Catch

Man holding Walleye, Manitoba

With a 100 fish species, Manitoba has the third most diverse fish population in Canada. When fishing in Manitoba, you’ll find walleye, trout, white bass, yellow perch, Arctic char, and more, depending on what part of the province you’re fishing in. Please note that some species, like sturgeon, largemouth bass and muskellunge must be released immediately upon catching

  • Walleye (also called Pickerel): Walleye is the most sought-after fish in Manitoba.. Known for their elusive nature and delicious taste, walleye are popular with locals and tourists alike. Ideal times for fishing are dawn and dusk, when they are most active.
  • Northern Pike: Northern Pike are known for their aggressive behavior and powerful fighting on the line, making them both challenging and exciting to fish. Though relatively bony, they are delicious if filleted properly. Northern Pike can be found in most lakes and rivers across Manitoba, particularly in weedy areas where they hunt for prey. Careful of their serrated teeth!
  • Lake Trout: Lake trout thrive in the deep cold waters of Manitoba’s lakes. Lake trout are prized for their size and strength, so large they often require specialized gear to catch. Clearwater Lake and the northern lakes are prime locations for lake trout fishing. 
  • Channel Catfish: Channel catfish are abundant in the Red River. These fish are known for their size and strength, making them challenging and exciting for anglers. Typically caught using bait such as worms, cut bait, or stink bait.
  • Arctic grayling: Arctic grayling are found in northern rivers and lakes. Recognizable by their sail-like dorsal fin and fine coloration, arctic grayling are a favorite among fly fishermen (and women). Arctic grayling are known for acrobatic leaps out of the water and spirited fight on the line.
  • Arctic char: Arctic char can be found in the cold salty waters of Hudson Bay and in some northern lakes. Arctic char are similar in both character and coloration to salmon and trout, and are known for their challenging fight on the line.
  • Sea-run Brook Trout: Sea-run brook trout migrate between fresh and salt water. They are typically larger and stronger than their freshwater counterparts and can be found in the estuaries and coastal waters of Hudson Bay.

Best Spots for Fishing in Manitoba

 

With over 100, 000 lakes and dozens of rivers, Manitoba offers . . . a lot! Roughly 16% of the province is covered with water! Many fishing spots are accessible from cities like Winnipeg, but, as one might expect, many of the best lakes and rivers for fishing are in the remote northern region of the province, where you’ll often be able to find trophy fish due not just to their remote location, but the cold, deep water in many lakes.

Popular Spots for Lake Fishing:

Many of the best lakes for fishing are, as you might expect are in the remote northern region of the province, where you’ll often be able to find trophy fish due not just to their remote location, but the cold, deep water in many lakes.

Fishing from the lake shore at sunset in Manitoba

 

Drive-to Fishing Spots in Manitoba:

  • Lake Winnipeg: Lake Winnipeg is the 10th largest lake in the world! Known for its walleye, sauger and northern pike, and is fantastic for shore fishing. If you’re in Winnipeg or area and only have a day or two to enjoy some fishing, you should be able to find a place on Lake Winnipeg. Try Balsam Bay for burbot, walleye and yellow perch.Since Lake Winnipeg is a relatively shallow lake (despite its surface area), it freezes over quickly in winter, offering the chance to haul in large, greenback Walleye through the ice!
  • Athapapuskow Lake: Considered one of the most beautiful lakes in Manitoba, Athapapuskow Lake, near Flin Flon, is a favorite for many locals. Known for walleye, yellow perch, lake trout, northern pike, burbot, and many other species.
  • Falcon Lake: Falcon Lake, near both the town of Whiteshell and Whiteshell Provincial Park (considered one of the best provincial parks in the province), and not far from the Ontario border is well known for smallmouth bass, northern pike, as well as walleye, brown and rainbow trout and yellow perch.
  • Caddy Lake: This lake is actually IN Whiteshell Provincial Park, and is known for its tunnels as well as excellent fishing. Most popular species for fishing include northern pike, black crappie, and smallmouth bass. 
  • Dauphin Lake: Easily accessible from Winnipeg, Dauphin Lake is popular in winter for ice fishing, and has good walleye, northern pike, burbot, sauger, yellow perch, brown bullhead, smallmouth bass, freshwater drum and tullibee. Also known for its walleye fishery and has an array of public boat launches if you’d like to go out on a boat.
  • Lake of the Woods: Located in the south-eastern corner of Manitoba, we find Lake of the Woods. Known for its stunning scenery, with over 14,000 islands scattered about the lake, it’s also known for its equally fabulous fishing. Walleye is particularly popular – Lake of the Woods is known as one of the top spots in the world for Walleye. Besides, Walleye, we can also find Pike, Sauger, Muskellunge, Smallmouth Bass and many other species.

 

Fly Fishing Spots in Manitoba:

  • Big Sand Lake: Located in Northern Manitoba, you will find trophy lake trout, northern pike, walleye and grayling.
  • God’s Lake: Located to the northeast of Lake Winnipeg, God’s lake offers northern pike, walleye, lake and brook trout.
  • Kississing Lake: Known for its abundance of fish – anglers can sometimes catch up to 100 fish a day! Home to trophy northern pike, walleye and lake trout. Located north of Lake Winnipeg.
  • Gunisao Lake: Just east of Lake Winnipeg and north of Poplar/Nanowin Rivers Park Reserve. Know for its trophy walleyes – in 2019, 67% of ALL trophy walleyes were caught in Gunisao Lake!
  • Nejanilini Lake: One of the best lakes in Manitoba for trophy fishing! Located in the northernmost part of Manitoba, just south of the border with Nunavut, and just west of the Caribou River Park Reserve. Here, you’ll find northern pike, lake trout, and arctic grayling.
  • Sasa-ginni-gak Lake: Located in Atikaki Park, just to the east of the bottom of Lake Winnipeg, Home to walleye, northern pike and lake trout.
  • Vanderkerchkhove Lake: Located in northwestern Manitoba just to the east of the Saskatchewan border, at Vanderkerchkhove Lake, you’ll find trophy northern pike, as well as walleye, lake trout and arctic grayling.

 River Fishing in Manitoba: 

  • Red River: The storied Red River runs right through Winnipeg, meaning you can fish right from inside the city. Maple Grove Park is popular, and just north of Winnipeg, Lockport and Selkirk is also popular. Other popular fishing spots include The Forks, Churchill Drive Park, Emerson and Breezy Point. Generally, the further north you go along the river, the better the fishing. In some places along the river, we can find some of the largest Channel Catfish on the planet, averaging around 20lbs.
  • Winnipeg River: Branching off from Lake Winnipeg, the Winnipeg River has many excellent fishing spots and is known for walleye, crappie, northern pike. Otter Falls and Pinawa Dam are recommended, as is any location from Pine Falls Dam to Lake Winnipeg, along with the stretch from Pointe du Bois Generating Station to Lamprey Rapids.
  • LaSalle River: Also accessible from Winnipeg, the La Salle River is popular for channel catfish, walleye, rock bass, sunfish and many other species. Locals enjoy fishing in La Barriere Park.
  • Assiniboine River: The Assiniboine River flows through western Manitoba until it joins the Red River at The Forks in Winnipeg. Fishing below the Shellmouth Dam at the Lake of the Prairies is known to be particularly good, as well as at the Portage Diversion near Portage La Prairie, but shore fishing is also available right in Winnipeg. Known for walleye, gold eye, and channel catfish.
  • Churchill River: Manitoba’s longest river, over 1000 miles long, it spans the province, starting from the head of Churchill Lake before flowing right to Hudson Bay at the town of Churchill. Presents fantastic opportunities to fish for walleye and northern pike. Churchill itself offers fishing in the zone where fresh meets salt water.

Ice Fishing in Manitoba

ice fishing shacks on Lake Winnipeg, Manitoba

Ice fishing is a very popular activity in Manitoba and the province boasts many fine ice fishing spots (a few of which are detailed below). Be aware that winters in Manitoba are cold, so bring appropriate gear, like ice shelters and huts to protect against harsh weather. You might need to bring your own ice augurs to drill through the ice, and special fishing rods and reels, designed to handle the challenges of ice fishing. 

  • Lake Winnipeg: A very popular central spot for ice fishing is Lake Winnipeg. Despite its surface area, Lake Winnipeg is a relatively shallow lake, and thus freezes over relatively quickly in winter, offering the chance to to haul in large greenback Walleye through the ice! The south basin is especially popular. 
  • Lake Manitoba: Offers opportunities to catch walleye, northern pike, and perch
  • Clearwater Lake: Famous for its clear waters and large trout. 
  • Lake of the Prairies: Well-stocked with walleye and northern pike. 
  • Whiteshell Provincial Park: The various lakes in this park offer a range of species, including walleye, northern pike and lake trout. 

Resources for Fishing in Manitoba:

When To Go Fishing in Manitoba

Manitoba has two fishing seasons: regular fishing season and ice fishing season. Recreational fishing for anglers usually opens in May, although this depends on where you are in the province (generally, the Southern Divisions opens first, followed by the Northern regions). The exact date is announced. Ice fishing tends to last from mid-December until mid-March or April, depending on the thickness of the ice that year. 

Always check with Manitoba fisheries for the latest updates before visiting: https://manitobafisheries.com

Manitoba Fishing Limits

For more information, the government of Manitoba provides a helpful guide: https://www.gov.mb.ca/nrnd/fish-wildlife/pubs/fish_wildlife/fish/angling-guide.pdf

Also visit: https://manitobafisheries.com

Manitoba Fishing Licenses

Everyone 16 and over must have a Manitoba fishing license to fish anywhere in the province. Visitors can order their license online prior to their trip:

https://www.manitobaelicensing.ca/purchaseprivilege.page?_PageParam.displayCategoryID=507911

Since many regions have their own regulations, so be sure to have a look at recreational fishing regulations on the Manitoba government website:

https://www.gov.mb.ca/nrnd/fish-wildlife/fish/recreational_fishing/index.html

Manitoba Regions for Sportfishing

Manitoba contains six geographically-distinct regions, from the accessible Eastern region, to the massive, remote northern region that ranges along Hudson Bay and Nunavut Territory, and covers almost half the province. Many of the tributaries that enter Hudson Bay, produce runs of sea-run brook trout.

North-Central Manitoba includes Thompson and Lynn Lake. The Northwest, which contains legendary fishing spots like The Pas and Flin Flon, produces multi-species angling that includes some of the most prolific pike and lake-trout waters on the planet. The Southern region contains the most diversity, with world-class walleyes, brown trout, smallmouth bass, panfish, and some of the best catfish fishing in North America.

Discover the Wild

Dock extending into beautiful clear lake, brilliant sunlight over the lake

Manitoba has over 50 provincial parks, scattered through every region. Most offer world-class angling to explore for yourself.Some parks are accessible by road, others will require arranging a flight with an outfitter or air-charter service.

Manitoba also offers unparalleled experiences to view wildlife. Churchill, is known as the ‘Polar Bear Capital of the World’, where you can join guided tours or tundra vehicles to (safely) observe the thousand or more polar bears who migrate to the area from July to November, waiting for Hudson Bay to freeze over. In the summer, Hudson Bay teems with thousands of beluga whales. Kayaking with belugas is a popular activity in Churchill. For bird-watchers, Manitoba is home to over 390 species, including the great grey owl and numerous migratory species. Riding Mountains National Park is home to herds of plains bison, which can be seen grazing in their natural habitat. Other species include the Red-Sided Garter Snakes, Beavers, black bears, wolves, moose and elk. Hunting is popular, and the province even offers opportunities for wolf and bison hunting, within specific and seasonal regulations.

Editor’s notes

Laurie River Lodge offers excellent value given the very comfortable accommodations, first-class service from the owner-operators and world-class lake fishing opportunities where guests catch and release hundreds and hundreds of trophy Pike, Walleye and Lake Trout each summer (some being absolute monsters!). Very easy to get to, excellent quality meals and top-notch all-around.

Manitoba, Canada | Fly-in


Freshwater (lakes) | Guided + Unguided (2:1 guest-to-guide ratio) | Fly fishing


All-inclusive fishing trip All-inclusive fishing trip Fishing trip includes equipment Fishing trip includes fish processing All-inclusive fishing trip All-inclusive fishing trip

What makes it unique

  1. Laurie River Lodge is a family run, owner-operated fishing lodge, accessible only by air. Erin and I take great pride in the fact that over 85% of the fishermen that join us annually can be classified as repeat customers. In other words, most of our guests have made at least one trip to Laurie River Lodge in the past and have chosen to return. We are always on hand to ensure that our guests are well looked after.
  2. The Laurie River system is an amazingly productive three species fishery. Our customers catch and release hundreds and hundreds of trophy Pike, Walleye and Lake Trout every summer. If there is a better multi-species fishery in northern Canada I am unaware of it.
  3. We primarily fish the small to medium sized lakes that makeup the Laurie River System. Most of our lakes fall into the 12,000 to 25,000 acre size range. These lakes are easily big enough to be extremely productive but small enough to be easy to fish, even in bad weather conditions. Some of the best fishing we have within minutes of the Laurie river Lodge dock.

PER-DAY packages start at:
US$456.25
CA$624.08
£352.07
€418.88
pp

Bakers Narrows Lodge
4.4
494 reviews

Editor’s notes

Located just ½ mile from the Flin Flon airport on Lake Athapapuskow, Bakers Narrows Lodge offers all-inclusive fishing adventure packages with first-class accommodations with world-class main lake guided fishing plus float plane and remote fishing adventures for Lake Trout, Northern Pike, Walleye, Rainbow Trout, Brook Trout and Small Mouth Bass. Choose between micro cottages and cozy log cottages.

Manitoba, Canada | Drive-in


Freshwater (lakes), Freshwater (rivers) | Guided + Unguided (2:1 guest-to-guide ratio) | Fly fishing


All-inclusive fishing trip All-inclusive fishing trip Fishing trip includes equipment Fishing trip includes fish processing All-inclusive fishing trip All-inclusive fishing trip

What makes it unique

  1. UNLIMITED PERSONAL SPACE (26 acres of lake front fresh air)
  2. IMMACULATE HOUSEKEEPING (Keeping everything beyond clean)
  3. ISOLATED HEATING SYSTEM (Don’t share the same air)
  4. PRIVATE LOG COTTAGES (Safe & Sanitized)

PER-DAY packages start at:
US$274.15
CA$375.00
£211.55
€251.70
pp

Cobham River Lodge
4.7
95 reviews

Editor’s notes

A world-class fishing resort and a truly Canadian fishing experience, Cobham River Lodge boasts of hundreds of miles of shoreline packed with Walleye and Northern Pike. You’ll find areas that have never been fished before. A maximum of 16 guests at this fly-in lodge which is the only lodge for hundreds of water miles, so the only anglers to fish these waters are the guests of the lodge. It is not uncommon for 2 fishermen to catch and release over 100 fish per day. A stunningly unique lodge, with nature-inspired interiors in earth colors, with handcrafted pine furniture and true Canadian comforts with luxurious down duvets, fine Hudson Bay blankets and pillows. Despite its remote location, the meals are high-end—exquisite enough to satisfy the most discerning palate, yet fulfilling enough to be considered good old fashioned comfort food. Save an average of USD$99.80 per person when you book through fishlodges.com

Manitoba, Canada | Fly-in


Freshwater (lakes), Freshwater (rivers) | Guided + Unguided (2:1 guest-to-guide ratio) | Fly fishing


All-inclusive fishing trip All-inclusive fishing trip Fishing trip includes equipment Fishing trip includes fish processing All-inclusive fishing trip All-inclusive fishing trip

What makes it unique

  1. Have an unmatched fishery
  2. Treat your guests like family
  3. Offer unmatched value

PER-DAY packages start at:
US$449.17
CA$614.40
£346.60
€412.38
pp

Save an average of

US$24.95
CA$34.13
£19.25
€22.91
per person when you book through fishlodges.com

Hidden Lake Outpost
4.7
95 reviews

Editor’s notes

An extension of Cobham River Lodge, this fly-in outpost on Hidden Lake offers you a trophy fishing experience in the secluded wilderness of Manitoba on your very own private lake. Here you can chase trophy Northern Pike and trophy Walleye all week long without any interruptions and not another fishing boat on the lake other than your groups. You will feel “Hidden” from the rest of the world as you get to concentrate on the important stuff, relaxation and fishing. Save an average of USD$67.80 per person when you book through fishlodges.com

Manitoba, Canada | Fly-in


Freshwater (lakes), Freshwater (rivers) | Unguided | Fly fishing


All-inclusive fishing trip All-inclusive fishing trip Fishing trip includes equipment Fishing trip includes fish processing All-inclusive fishing trip All-inclusive fishing trip

What makes it unique


PER-DAY packages start at:
US$299.17
CA$409.22
£230.86
€274.67
pp

Save an average of

US$16.95
CA$23.19
£13.08
€15.56
per person when you book through fishlodges.com

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