Fly Fishing Manitoba

Fly Fishing – Fly Tying – Lessons – Guiding – Winnipeg MB. Canada

April 02, 2018

FRFO (Fairford River Freeze Off)

Every spring, on the last day of the general season, we head up to the only open water in the province. Fairford river is 2 hours north of Winnipeg. Because of the drop it never freezes along a short distance from the dam on highway 6 on its way to Lake St. Martin. The species caught can vary widely but this year is was just Lake Cisco (locally know and tulibee) This is the first year I did not attend for non weather reasons. Any kind of weather can happen at this time of year. While some years have been beautiful this year was more like its normal self with a daytime high of -7

March 27, 2018

Florida Fishing Report

OK, OK not exactly  a local report, but I do a small amount of traveling each year and I always fish. This year my semi annual Christmas/New Year Florida panhandle trip got changed in to a Orlando/Kissimmee late March trip. So 10 days – 2 travel days and 4 theme park days leaves 4 fishing days.

As you may already know, ponds in Florida have a default setting of having fish in them. It is harder to find a random pond without fish than it is to find one with. This is even more true in the Kissimme area. The most common species are blue gill and large mouth bass but you can find crappie, pumpkinseeds, bream and shell crackers too.

The fishing was slow and even when put against the chuck and duck crowd I either caught nothing like them or something unlike them. I also got to go out on a big lake on a nice pontoon boat. It suffered from a non functioning trolling motor and an absence of an anchor so we could never sit on a good spot long enough for the fish to calm down and everyone got skunked.

There is no sense telling you about the pond on Marigold or inside Celebration. There are ponds on the sides of roads, inside communities, public parks and golf courses they all have fish and everyone is used to seeing fishermen (though fly fishermen not so much). Each pond does carry the potential of having its own alligator, particularly the ponds that have year round canal connection to other ponds.

These ponds offer us some unique options

  • New fish
  • Easy Access
  • Short Drives

I have fished ponds in Florida behind malls, on golf courses, the side of a high way, inside a gated community, inside state parks, etc. they all held fish.

Suffice it to say that if you find yourself in the area and have a free day, go fishing.

Every Pond does seem to come with its own alligator

December 14, 2017

Trying to Up My Photo Game

I have been trying to get my flies documented and have tried a few options. As of late I have become lazy and just used my iPhone. As great a convergence device as it is, it comes up short. So, using others as a water mark I brought all my tools together:


  • light box
  • Nikon D200
  • sigma DG 70-300mm on Macro
  • low f stop and slow shutter speeds
  • tripod

Not quite there but way better,

Winnipeg Fly Tyer Robert Burton Eyed Flmph

A flymph with eyes. Passes as nymph or fry Marabou tail Peacock Dubbing Silver DD Olive soft hacl Brass Dumbell Eyes

Winnipeg Fly Tying Robert Burton Gomphus pattern

Gomphus Eyes are glass beads stung on old classical guitar strings marabou over body DD copper body Brown soft hackle palmered

Winnipeg Fly Tying Robert Burton Bead Body Stone Green

Bead Body Stone Fly I am ‘almost’ know for this pattern Marabou tail Bglass bead body Black Rubber legs Midge Flex over thorax Olive DD thorax

Winnipeg Fly Tying Robert Burton Olive Stone Fly Brown

Same pattern in coffee and brown hackle tail

Manitoba Fly Tying Robert Burton Flashabou nymph/fry

Flash-a-bou Nymph/fry Body Flash-a-bou, Peacock herl hear and dumbbell brass eyes I tie the eyes underneath the shank on down eye hook to reduce flipping during presntaions

Generic black nymph pattern

Chenille hellgramite patterns in decidedly non hellgramite colours (don’t worry I have them in black and dark brown

A generic nymph pattern done with a ‘rough’ copper dubbing

We call them GRHE out of habit but really we never use hare’s ear anymore. Mostly because it is hard to find. So like colour rabbit dubbing has to suffice

Peacock hackle fly Robert Burton Winnipeg

You’ll be seeing a lot of these from me this winter. The 3-4 material fly that is highly effective, for a variety of fish in still and moving water. Peacock herl body wire rib reinforcement soft hackle collar in many shades dubbing to cover/colour the head thread

the same ‘rough’ copper dubbing with a elastic over body and soft hackle collar

Damsel Fly Pattern in green Robert Burton Winnipeg

Despite looking similar in their adult form, Dragon and damels flies look quite different in their aquatic form. Damsels are slender and dragon (aka Gomphus) can be down right rotund Marabou tail Olive V-Rib Marabou thorax Midge flex over Glass eyes

November 28, 2017

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October 21, 2017

Fall Trouting Part 5

Another great day with the water cold enough for the trout and the air temperatures great for humans! Headed east again to see if I could better my numbers from last time. A bit windy but not too bad on this small body of water.

First fish, a small tiger trout on a mid lake weed hump, was caught using a damsel nymph on a sunk line.

Small Manitoba Tiger Trout
The next fish I saw were a bit of a surprise.
I saw, what I thought was, tailing fish. I made perfect casts to it and got nothing. I also didn’t spook it. I thought is was concentrated around a log but the log turned out to be another fish. The water temps were perfect for a spawning dance as males competed. I saw this repeated all over the place. I assumed that catching browns was off the table. Here are some pictures of the action.

Not noticing an abundance of hits on the damsel and sinking line I went to floating and a variety of bead heads, settling on a GRHE to catch my second Tiger that was closer to 16″-18″.

Manitoba Tiger Trout

Lost that fly in the bull rushes and switched to a slower sinking bead body soft hackle fly of my own design. This got me my next Tiger Trout (told you I wasn’t gonna get a brown).

Tiger trout Manitoba
Ran into a kayaking fly fisher who sat on a known hot spot but got nothing. He saw a few of the fish I had caught and asked what I was using. He told me he was using a leech pattern. In a teachable moment, I told him that fishing leeches this late was a bit of a gamble as they weren’t active and trout might not key in on them. He left and I cast to the hot spot and well….

I hate to be right…wait no I don’t
Caught one more near the launch around sunset.

One thing I have noticed in my last few outings here, is the lack of rainbows. I don’t know if they are still there (lots of bonk on the head types frequent here) were put off by the over active browns or are being out competed by the tigers.

Still good though!

Manitoba Brown Trout

October 16, 2017

Lyon’s Lake Manitoba October 15th 2017

The 15 is almost the halfway point in October. In most years this means only 16-32 days left in our fly fishing season. Our (very few and far between) trout streams close at midnight October 31st and the beginning of ice on the lakes is not far away. We have manage to get on a lake as late as November 18th, but that is a rarity.

Last time I was at Lyon’s, it was an epic skunking. Sure it was the height of summer but never have I been shut out on this lake.

Things are somewhat back to normal now.

9 Trout to hand mostly in the 12″ range the one that made it to the net but not photogenically, was a fair piece larger maybe 16″. All but the bigger one, was a jumper making amazing leaps out of the water, probably only because I didn’t film it

OF course the pictures Except for the perch they are clones of each other. I could have take the same fish and re-positioned it over and over and the effect would have been the same Please excuse the lower quality of the photo as I was trying a lower resolution to same time on editing later.

Cigars and Manitoba Fly Fishing

A good day for a good smoke

Fly Fishing Lyon's Lake Manitoba

First trout of the day

Perch Fly Fishing Manitoba

Decent Perch but what are they eating that the trout can’t have?

The last hours of sun are always best



October 07, 2017

Anton’s Lake October 6th 2017

Still Water Fly Fishing Manitoba

Facebook keeps giving you old posts from the past. This week it reminded me of a very successful outing on Anton’s Lake (just past Minnidosa) from a year ago.

Heck just this spring I had a good time as well

So, on Friday I headed out there to repeat the magic.
Well, as the saying goes, that is why they call it fishing.

For one thing it was windy. I usually time my trips to these aerated lakes based on the wind. Even a little wind can make these sheltered, featureless lakes surrounded by miles of featureless prairie, a challenge.

A challenge with staying on a spot, wind knots, casting accuracy, with flies presented, etc. It didn’t seem to matter what fly I put on I got the same reactions, light bites, hits some brief struggles, LDR’s and a couple lost at the boat.

The other fishers did about the same.

For me it was one fish to hand.

Still Water Fly Fishing Manitoba

October 02, 2017

Fall Trouting Part 3

So my favorite and secret little brook is under siege. Not from bait fishers or pollution, but from rodent developers.  When I was introduced to this stream, 3 years ago, there was miles of fish-able runs up and down from the access point. Now the fish in this section are confined to one pool.

3 years ago there where 2 major beaver dams. They were old and well established. So they held fish. On a good day you could walk the stream for hours catching fish in a variety of riffles, runs and pools. At the end there was a beaver pond with more (and sometimes bigger) fish. Now we have all those runs under water and they do not hold fish at this time. The property owners don’t fish and don’t care. Now, brook trout streams need the beaver ponds. They hold back water to even out flows over the year, they allow sediment to settle to keep the water clear, etc. but with so much of this water on private land and inaccessible, I fear my days of fishing for wild brook trout are numbered. Here are some pictures of the trout caught from one tiny pool between the two marshes. As you can see there are over 30 fish!

I am not including the hits and LDR’s.

Now, for someone else, catching 33 fish without moving is a good day but I would rather catch 3 fish out of 11 pools, runs and riffles. As well I cannot imagine this is good for the fishery, spawning and such. The lower section was good in the spring but come summer and fall, it died off a lot.
I am torn between getting fly fishers involved and keeping it a secret, but I am not sure there is anything we can do. Maybe if the beavers flood the road the DNR will trap them out.

Sure as heck, if it was walleye they’d be fixing this.

Fall Trouting Week 2

Most fishers and all fly fishers know that fall is a great time to get out there. The water temps are predictable based on night time lows and the fish are ‘putting on the feed bag’ as they say.  While the fish are bulking up they may not be on those same spots they where early summer. As the weeds thin out and the water clears, so does the location and types of forage.

Another thing about fall is the weather, it can be a foul rainy day with a north wind or, like yesterday, a glorious combination of sun, light breeze, intermittent clouds and decent fishing.

I headed out to a stocked trout water east of the city. It is just over an hour away so I was in great shape to leave at a civilized time and get back for my son’s concert.

The day was literally the ‘good to get out’ type and the fish were a bonus. Decent fall colours abounded on the water and the drive.

5 fish to hand, 3 lost at the boat and about 5 hook ups and tussles including one big rainbow.

Here are the pictures.

Still Water

September 20, 2017

Wild Brook Trout on The Fly

I haven’t been out since the camping trip and not much since June. I tend to go away in the summer because it is so hot here and the fishing so poor that it is a waste of gas. So when the weather finally cooled off a bit I decided to hit my on again off again brook trout spot. It is quite a drive and quite a secret. The fish are small, quite a bit of tramping so not for everyone. But we keep it secret because all that won’t stop assholes from trying and therefore ruining it.

In the spring the whole area is great and stays good through most of the summer but, when the water levels drop they become harder to find. On top of the local beaver population is turning great runs in to silt pits.

Un-named Manitoba Creek

I hit the lower section to only catch chubs.






















As the chubs got bigger and the hits more frequent I thought I would get to ‘that run’ that always seems to have ‘real’ fish.

















Looking up from my last chub I saw a large black bear walk out of the bush straight to that run. I reeled up and was going to make way back to the car. I waited to see if there were cubs and when I didn’t I took two steps down stream to see where it went, only to see it eye to eye. I booked it out of there making those ‘gruff and chuff’ sounds while I was  I was also cursing myself for not making more noise, while out there alone, in fairly remote woods! I should have also notice how ripe the wild forage was!

Manitoba Bear Food























Having made it back to the car in record time, I drove up stream to another access point.

The place is beautiful.

Manitoba Scenery








After wandering around the once nice runs that a beaver has turned into fish less silt pit, I finally found some fish.

After all that driving a bear, running and marsh hiking I didn’t have to budge an inch to catch my fill of these beauties!