Trophy Lake Trout Fishing in Manitoba
Manitoba, Canada is home to some of the best Trophy Lake Trout Fishing that you will find anywhere in the world. By best, we mean the average Lake Trout sits around 15 - 20 pounds and in the 24 - 36 inch range while the larger trophy lake trout can be over 40 inches. So, in terms of size, these Manitoba trout are on par with big Northern Pike and Muskie.
It should be noted that Lake Trout are a little tricky to land and many people prefer to just target the easier fish - Walleye, Northern Pike, etc. However, you'll have the bug once you land a Trophy Lake Trout. Since Manitoba is the Mecca of Lake Trout Fishing, below are some tips on where and how to target large Lake Trout in Manitoba.
First, an Overview of Lake Trout
These deep water monsters are known to biologists as Salvelinus Namaycush. To me, of course, they are known as 'lakers'. Manitoba's fishing records are always recorded in inches rather than pounds and the record for Lake Trout is 54" in length, caught on Nueltin Lake in 2001. A 54" Lake Trout is probably in the 50+ pound range and, in comparison to salmon, a 54-inch Lake Trout would be an equal to a trophy sized Chum Salmon or a nice King Salmon.
Lake Trout are actually a Char and are part of the Salmonoid family of fish. These are fish that like a very narrow band of water temperature and, as such, they tend to rise or sink in their home waters depending on the lake's temperature. They are quite happy living in the deeper depths, sometimes over 190 feet deep during the hotter parts of the summer. Fishing at that type of depth makes targeting the Lake Trout a bit difficult without some modern gismos.
Rigging up for Trophy Lake Trout
Even though the average 'laker' is in the 15 - 20 lb range, you need to think big when targeting Lake Trout. There are always trophy size fish swimming around in Manitoba and you just never know when they will hit. A 7 - 8 foot graphite rod is preferred and you will want a two-piece unit for traveling but a single piece rod is great if you are driving up. In fact, you will probably want to bring a few rods set up with spinning and bait casting reels.
Big fish means big line so plan on using a braided line, around 20 pound test - and plan on using way more line than you think you will. Keep in mind that you are going to have to get your lure down into deep water so you will have a bunch of line out already and one of the big characteristics of Trophy Lake Trout is their long runs. Go industrial strength with the leaders - steel or titanium because these fish fight. You might also tangle with big Northern Pike too and they will make short work of common leaders.
When it comes to lures, one of the hottest lures for Lake Trout is a jig. The Buzz Bomb Jig works well especially if you add a bit of cut bait to it. Big spoons and spinners work well too. Again, because of the deep depths where you find the big fish you want a lure that's got some weight to it. This is, of course, for summer fishing. In the spring and fall, the water temperature might drop and the big fish will be in 30-feet of water rather than at 60 feet or more. NOTE: Manitoba is big on catch-and-release so all hooks must be barbless.
Lake Trout and Seasons
The summer Lake Trout fishing season runs from May until the end of July and action kicks up again in September and October. For ice fishing, Lake Trout are available during March and April.
It's important to remember that the warmer the water is, the deeper the fish will be. During peak summer temperatures expect to be in the 60 - 80 foot depths – maybe deeper. In October when the days might be warm and the nights are cold, the fish might be above the 60 ft depth. In cold water lakes it is not uncommon to find big Trophy Lake Trout at 30-foot depth. Understanding how this affects your approach will help you plan gear and reel setup.
Three Manitoba Lakes for Big Lake Trout
The following lakes are just a few of the many lakes in Manitoba that offer great Lake Trout fishing with the potential of trophy 'lakers'. What you should expect is plenty of opportunities to battle Lake Trout but many of these lakes also hold big Northern Pike, plenty of Walleye, and bait fish. Many of these lakes are fly-in trips and some may be boat-in while still others are very accessible by vehicle. A good rule of thumb is that a lake that is harder to reach is fished less and that means big, wild fish and usually plenty of trophies.
- Kississing Lake - sits North and East of Flin Flon and Northwest of Sherridon. This is part of the fabled Churchill Watershed and the lake is huge.
– Suggested Lodge: Kississing Lake Lodge
- Lake Athapapuskow - part of the Hudson Bay Drainage Basin, the lake is fed by the Pineroot River and Mistik Creek as well as the Goose River. It has a depth of 71 meters or 233 feet and there are a lot of fishing opportunities in the area as it is surrounded by prime Lake Trout lakes (Goose Lake and Egg Lake are both worth noting). Lake Athapapuskow is Southeast of Flin Flon and west of the Cranberry Portage.
– Suggested Lodge: Baker's Narrow Lodge
- Sand Lakes - one final, good destination for Lake Trout fishing is this one, in Sand Lake Provincial Park.
– Suggested Lodge: Big Sand Lake Lodge