After a long summer (and no one telling me the summer doldrum never happened), I had the chance to make it out to a new stillwater fishery I had never fished near Roblin, Manitoba.
Arriving at 10pm to 60km/h gusting winds coming off the lake (roughly -9 with the windchill), setup our tents and bundled up for the night. The next day, I was on the water by 8am as the weather seemed to settle. Launching my floattube on the west side of the lake, I kicked out into the wind and started working the shoreline.
At about 9:30am, noticing a lack of interest to my damsel/leech dropper rig, I decided to tie on a Dragon nymph on a floating line and within 3 casts, had hooked into a nice chunky male. About midway through the fight, the wind picked back up and I began getting barreled by waves and pushed back towards the shore into the reeds. But, with a bit of perseverence and alot of kicking, managed to land the fish, a nice healthy male measuring 24". (Excuse the photo, might I add trying to document a fish while being barraged by 40 kilometer gusts and waves is not an easy task!)
I made it back to shore, soaked and waited the weather out to warm up till about 11am when I caught a break. I then went and kicked out east of the boat launch, spotting a few rises near a beaver hut, landed a cast with my 10 ft 7wt intermediate line directly beside it, and hooked into a 22" female.
2 casts later (after fouling a double-haul and firing my line 40 feet behind me), I hooked into another female rainbow. (Started to notice a pattern.. 24--22--20) With a few screaming runs, and some tippet-origami that i like to call a tandem rig, I landed another specimen measuring 20".
By this time it was around 12:30pm and with a smile on my face, I kicked back to shore to see how everyone else had made out. After a nice home-made brunch, I drove back over to another spot on the west side of the lake, and after kicking around getting some well-needed exercise (haha), found a noticeable drop off that held fish. Swapping the anti-static damsel dropper out with a two-tone leech i had tied the day previous to heading out and psychadelic p-quad, casting from 7 feet into 14 feet of water with a 7-10 second count down on intermediate-line followed by a 2-3 second slow hand twist retrieve seeming to be the ticket, I managed 4 more rainbows between 20.5-23 inches (all on the p-quad), along with many many LDR's (long distance releases, many from the trout leaping 5 feet out of the air... SHAMOO!.. haha ).
Mr. Coyote, roaming the shoreline.
Fish #3 A nice healthy male
and Fish #4, a chrome silver bullet of a female
The action died down, and I decided to kick back to some fallen timber. Taking a wrong turn enroute back to the launch, (but the right kind of wrong turn) I managed to hook up with one more rainbow measuring 20" but didn't take a photo, and with the sun slowly dropping, and my leg's and back throbbing from fighting mother nature's gusts decided to head back in.
After the sun went down, the wind completely disapeared, and the fish were rising all over! Hopping in the freighter canoe after regretably forgetting the dry-fly box at home, we ventured off to a weedbed that is known to hold some large browns. With fish rising all around us, and a nearly full very bright moon shining down and after giving him guff for trolling flies all day and bugging him about not knowing how to cast a fly rod--my friend dillon managed to hook into a beautiful 22" female brown.
Once the sun dropped completely, casting became more of a knot-in-leader tying competition, and with mother nature taking it's toll on the both of us, we decided to head in for the night.
Sunday, we woke up to a completely calm, beautiful day and were on the water by 8:30am.
With the overnight low's of -4 leaving about 3mm of frost on my tube and equipment, I ventured out from the launch back to the reeds where I hooked my 24" the day before. Within about 15 minutes, and a chuck-and-duck of a cast into the middle of some very thick cover, I felt a tug, followed by an immediate peel of line that brought me nearly halfway into my backing. After 3 more screaming runs and several jumps, I finally got a view of the fish from behind. Seeing the tail, I assumed the Rainbow must've been nearly 25"+, but after landing and measuring the fish, realized it was a beautiful but mutant-sized tail'd 22.5 incher (Baby got back!). This fish, tho not the 'largest' absolutely made the trip, and was the only one for the day with the 11am departure deadline (and the fish gorged on 'who knows what', from their feeding frenzie the night before).
I spotted this little guy on the way back trying to emerge in the topfilm of the water, however after hearing a splash 30 seconds later, turned around to realize I wasn't the only one.
This was definitely a great 'send-off' trip before my move to Vancouver Island. I learnt a lot about fishing new lakes and got to try out some interesting new techniques which paid off. A total of 9 fish landed all over 20" (8 on day 1 and 1 on a quick-kick out on the departure date).
Manitoba has some truly phenomenal fishing opportunities and some great folks. I'll miss this province, but this trip (and the past trips to the region) will always keep me coming back.
Looking forward to some great trips and memories with you fine people out west!
Tight Lines... forever!
Last edited by andy.larkin; September 19th, 2010 at 08:01 PM.
Thanks Andy, good report. Just makes me want to renew my plans for a spring trip there. The plan was to be in Saskatchewan for 10 days but may have to venture a little further.
It's definitely worth the trip! I'm already crossing my fingers that I can make it up there once more before the move to try and break the 26 mark. If not, I'll have to wait and try and make it out in the spring. There are some 28"+ Rainbows beginning to show up in some of the less popular lakes (but don't tell anyone I said that!).
I'm still piecing out a few spots to stop at on the drive from Winnipeg to Victoria. I wouldnt mind taking the scenic route and hitting some Bulltrout, and maybe a stop in Kamloops. There must be at least a few lakes that produce those silver footballs on the island!
Now, I'm not saying there aren't big trout in some of the Island lakes - but fish larger than 25'' are very few and far between. I can recall only six, in my time on the Island (20-odd years) - one Rainbow, two Cutthroat and three Browns. I've tangled with many between 20'' - 25'' - but larger stillwater fish than that are pretty rare, these days.
However - what we do have are amazing surroundings - lots and lots of fishing spots where there are far more elk, bears, wolves and cougar than there are other anglers - an amazing diversity of angling opportunities (5 types of salmon, summer and winter run steelhead, rainbows, browns, brookies, cutthroat, large and smallmouth bass).
And most importantly - you'll be able to persue fish 12 months a year (without cutting a hole in the ice!).
You'll be wanting to shop for a 2-4wt, though - ha ha!
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