Fishing on the Winnipeg River

Growing up Northwest Ontario is pretty awesome if you like to fish because of all the great waters that we have just outside our doors.
I grew up in Kenora but up until a few years ago I had never really fished on the Winnipeg River, mostly because I was a Lake of the Woods guy. My family had a cabin on the lake and I worked at many of the resorts out there for years while I was in high school and through my university years.
The Winnipeg River is the outflow of Lake of the Woods. There are two dams in Kenora that mark the start of the River which eventually ends up in Lake Winnipeg, then Hudson Bay.
This section of the river flows north, through Minaki and ends at the Whitedog Dam about 60 kilometres north of Kenora. There is a ton of water to fish out there.
When I first launched my boat on the River three years ago to go bass fishing I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had a few buddies that had told me the fishing was good out there but I had no expectations.
That first trip ended up being a real eye-opener.
My friend and I caught around 100 smallmouths, a bunch of pike and walleyes and even saw a couple of muskies, it was a great time.
Over the past couple of years, I have spent quite a bit of time fishing on Winnipeg River.
If I am not gearing up for an area bass tournament, it’s where I most often go when I am fun fishing.
I really enjoy getting to explore new water and the action out there is so consistently good. Most of the bass remain shallow all summer along the many boulder covered points and shorelines.
My top lures out there have been topwater poppers and small tube jigs.
This past weekend my girlfriend and I went up to Minaki to explore the north end of the River.
We stayed at Birch Island Resort and had a great time.
The resort is about a two minute boat ride just south of Minaki. The food at the resort is top-notch as are the accommodations.
I would highly recommend Birch Island for anybody looking to go for a nice dinner on the water, you won’t be disappointed, just be sure to make reservations.
We spent a couple days catching smallmouths on the north part of the River and caught plenty of bass as well as some pike and walleyes.
We visited the beautiful beach up in Big Sand Lake and did quite a bit of cruising in the boat, checking out all of the different landscapes and looking for hot fishing spots.
It was one of those trips that I was sad to see come to an end. It was a lot of fun.
The Winnipeg River is charted well and the main channels are marked with buoys so navigation is pretty simple out there. For local anglers who have never fished on the River, there are plenty of fish to catch and there are great boat launches in Keewatin as well as up in Minaki.
While it’s always fun to go fishing on our favourite spots where we have had good results in the past, exploring new water is fun as well because we never know what we’re going to find. Sometimes things work out, sometimes they don’t but you never know until you try.
I am always optimistic that I’m going to find that magic spot where the fish bite on every cast and that’s what keeps me exploring.