Oh how I wish this were my fish! I have to be satisfied with stories from friends. The Parkland region of Manitoba offers the best flyfishing in Canada for trout in lakes bar none, even compared to the best lakes in B.C. Low population which means low fishing pressure, great management, daring actually, in comparison. Some of these lakes are C&R or with very limited harvest. These guys were caught in late September, one of the best times to go but be prepared for the weather and the wind, which is the bane of flyfishers. The fly you see is a P-Quad. This is classical fly fishing. You are casting into the tullies (western talk for "weeds") and no crummy small bass/perch to take your fly instead.
Here are the emails I got from the guys in Manitoba for a week's fishing in reverse order:
Another excellent day yesterday. Several over 8 lbs.
Tigers: they fight very hard. Usually like a Brown, but sometimes jump several times like a 'bow. Lost one yesterday (~4 lbs) on his fourth jump when he jumped a full five feet and shook the hook out. I almost put down my rod and applauded. Fantastic! He really wanted his freedom.
Another fantastic day at Twin Lake for Tigers. We used P Quads when trolling, and Chironomid techniques when anchored. Both worked very well. Several Large Tigers caught as well as a host of 15-18"
Boy, are we spoiled! R. did not catch a fish last evg after supper and was a little pissed despite having caught ~ 30 lbs of fish earlier. He caught two 8 pounders this AM to compensate, however. :-).
Cannot believe yesterday. Learned two chironomid techniques and both resulted in huge fish. Caught two at or greater than 10 lbs and several "small" ones only 6-8 lbs. Best day ever. Biggest brown ever! Going to "trophy" lake today. Will see if that gets even bigger ones.
Quick report: weather is very benign. No bugs, max wind ~ 10 Mph. Fishing very good. R. got a 6 lb Brown as well as two nice 'bows yesterday. G. caught the 'bow of his life >10 lbs - had to land it on shore as was far too big for his net. Others caught lots too. Today, new lake (Patterson) and more Chronomid technique. Worked very well yesterday. D. and I also caught several nice ones - but no "hogs" yet. Much better conditions than last Fall.
Four of our OFS members are currently fishing the Parkland area of Manitoba. I've recieved two reports so far. One fellow had to beach his float-tube because the fish was too big for his net. It was over ten pounds. Today I received another email that several ten pound rainbows and browns were caught using chironomids and they are not even fishing the "trophy lakes". Trophy lakes are those lakes with limited harvest so that the fish will grow big. Ten pounds is pretty big for me!
Bob Sheedy who was one of the orignators of this amazing fishing resource told me that the Ministry had to hauled kicking and screeming into making the necessary changes in regulations to create this fishery. It is a pretty well accepted norm that civil servents don't like change. While creating these lakes with large trout through regulation changes, they also made available to the harvest type fishermen, the normal lakes where mulitiple fish could be taken. Guess what? Those fishermen are now fishing the trophy lakes. They have discovered what we all learn. It is the experience of fishing that is what makes it all worth while. They are much happier taking one large trout home then five smaller ones. Pretty soon they become converted and release all fish except those that unfortunately don't make it for one reason or another. Bob told me it was the Economic Development people who saw the various foreign licence plates at these lakes that clinched the changes.
Apparently, the aerators which make these shallow lakes survive the winter have been donated by US clubs. Manitoba set up and supplies the electricity. Yankees are willing to drive through the most celebrated trout waters in the world to come to Manitoba. At some point in the early summer, it will not be so easy to catch these large trout as the shallow water will warm up too much. Trout lakes shouldn't be fished when the surface temperature exceeds 75F (24C).