Don’t Ask because I Won’t Tell
Trout season on creeks and rivers in Manitoba opens on April 15th. It might as well be on April first for all the trout you’ll catch.
There are a few place where stream trout exist. They are so few that they are guarded by distance or well kept secrets. The most accessible one is the Whiteshell river as it leaves McDougall Bay (West Hawk Lake) and rolls past the Hatchery. 19 years ago and for a good while after that, this was a gem of a fishery.
Mostly stocked, with a little natural trout reproduction the fish population in here was massive. Along with the trout there was rock bass walleye small mouth bass and pike.
Since then it has fallen on hard times. In no particular order, hatchery stopped/drastically reduced stocking. Hatchery staff, in a direct conflict of interest, would and continue to, raise the dam to keep the lake levels high enough for there friends who own places on the lake.
This has repeatedly killed off, not just the tax payer paid for stocked trout, but has also made the river hell for native fish. To make matters worse, the well meaning but misguide local fly fishers association paid good money for unneeded habitat restoration. In a weird move, the “lunker bunkers” and artificially created dead falls were put in backwards. With the water low levels so low, the tree roots dangling over it look both ridiculous and like an environmental disaster.
Not the first time
The hatchery has been a sore point for me the last few years. They cut back on stocking lakes in the area and the river right beside them while making sure western long drive aerated lakes got theirs. They built a lovely 3 story mansion for seasonal staff to live in, a lovely fish shaped balcony to over look the now lifeless river, paying for float planes/ATV’s/Snow machines to stock back country (inaccessible) lakes, new signs to welcome you to the hatchery and to stop fisherman from cutting through there. All the while claiming they didn’t have gas money to deliver fish and saying they might need to split toilet paper in ½ to wipe their butts.
As I write this, the hatchery is not making fish but is instead buying eyed eggs from the states. That might mean the end of brood stock (big fish put into lakes) This mismanagement might lead to the end of the stocking program in general.
So why the long rant?
To weed out non like minded people.
I still won’t tell you where this fishing spot is!
So with the trout lakes within easy drive of Manitoba’s largest (and arguably only city) in distress, the only trout stream destroyed options for trout are pretty scarce. You have the 3+ hour drive to parkland lakes (that are only good in the spring and fall) and the ponds (that have there own problems of winter and summer kill).
Trading My Fly Fishing Skill for Information
A few time in the last 15 years, someone has want to learn about fly rodding and has been willing to trade for local fishing knowledge. Because of that I have been introduced to secret spots in popular areas. I use them for myself, friends and clients. These places are free of crowds, styrofoam, sunflower seeds, discarded fishing line, etc. If I see anything like that I pack it out.
One such place is ________________ I go there a few times a year and NEVER have to pick up trash. NEVER see another angler and catch small fish. This place is know of in theory but not in fact. It is a place in distress as well. Not from mismanagement or under funding but from beavers and low snow pack
I’ll let the pictures do the talking from my last two trips there.