If you could only wet a line for one species of fish in your home province or territory, what would it be? That’s the question we asked ourselves at Outdoor Canada when selecting our 2019 Canadian fishing hot spots. For more bucket-list species and hot spots, see our complete list.
Walleye in Manitoba
Why this is one of Canada’s must-have fishing experiences
Walleye are both popular and plentiful across Canada, but the centre of the country, where the prairies meet the forest, offers something special. That’s because Manitoba boasts an exceptional variety of productive walleye waters, ranging from remote fly-in destinations to fishing spots you can reach by public transit.
Across the province, anglers can haul in lunch-sized walleye by the ton, as well as target giant fish—sometimes on the same body of water. That includes both Canadian Shield lakes and vast prairie reservoirs. Perhaps most famous of Manitoba’s walleye are the giant greenbacks unique to Lake Winnipeg and its tributaries. Primarily targeted in winter, these iridescent emerald-green fish grow to unprecedented lengths, with hefty girths.
Practically any lake or river in Manitoba can produce big fish throughout the year—walleye longer than 28 inches are considered trophies, and hundreds of them are submitted each year to the province’s Master Angler program. No doubt, even more are caught and released without the accolades.
Part of Manitoba’s walleye bounty is due to the province’s strong conservation culture, typified by the prohibition of barbed hooks and, in many areas, live baitfish. So, when you do keep a few eaters, you know you’ll still be leaving plenty more walleye behind for the next trip—and the next generation.
WHEN TO GO: June to September; December to March
HOT TACTIC: Jigging lipless crankbaits through the ice