As soon as the leaves start to turn and the days get shorter, many of our readers know well that is the signal to start targeting the huge schools of greenback walleye in the Red River and at Pine Falls. Many anglers wait eagerly for this time of year and even go so far as to book vacation weeks in October to be able to take full advantage of the heavy action. While I do more than my fair share of greenbackin’, the fall season is also primetime to target all kinds of other species in Manitoba. On a recent trip I took along fellow Filipino Anglers Association of Manitoba members Jomar Sarmiento and Justin Surla to hit up the hot fall northern pike and lake trout bite out west and up north.
We fished at Lake of the Prairies just north of Russell first to target trophy pike. At this time of year, the big ones congregate in the shallow waters off of the main channel. This reservoir that lies along the Manitoba and Saskatchewan border has a healthy population of Master Angler sized pike and it is not unheard of for each angler to catch several over the 41inch mark in one day during the fall. We mainly casted medium to large sized spoons and bigger swimbaits focusing our efforts on shallow flats 6 feet or less in depth. We didn’t need to search too long as the first area held good numbers of fish with a nice sized pike attacking my topwater Zara Spook offering on the first cast. At the end of the day we successfully boated over two dozen big northerns with the biggest being a 46.5” monster caught by Justin on a silver/yellow Blue Fox spoon.
We headed north that same evening to Clearwater Lake just past the town of The Pas. After a few hours of sleep we were up and at ‘er again to target Lake Trout on this huge lake. Every fall, dropping water temps initiate the annual laker spawn where hordes of these aggressive predators invade the shallows. Casting 5 inch pearl white Cabela’s swimbaits on 1/4oz jigs was all we needed to get trout after trout to attack them. We parked the boat over a 22-28 foot reef where surrounding water was 45 feet deep or more. We caught well over 70 lakers with the biggest being a 40 inch giant that took several minutes to get in the net.
Other species that are on the go at this time of year are four pound plus smallmouth bass at Lac Du Bonnet, various Master Angler trout at stocked ponds in the west, and giant channel catfish in the Red. Take a day or two off this fall from chasing greenbacks and take advantage of the fast action for other species.