Winnipeg Ice Fishing Show signals seasonal change

After months of enjoying another open water fishing season, last week was the first since the spring that I didn’t spend any time in my boat. I have intentions of getting out on the water at least one last time to burn up some of the gas remaining in the boat and run some gas stabilizer through the engine, one of my late season routines. It looks like we’ll see some nice weather towards the weekend so I’m waiting for one more nice day to get out on the lake.

This past weekend involved a road trip for me up to Winnipeg to spend some time at the annual Winnipeg Ice Fishing Show at the Red River Exhibition Place. It’s a show that I’ve attended several times in the past and it’s always a good weekend. The show attracts all kinds of exhibitors from ice fishing equipment manufacturers to retailers and resorts. The floor of the Exhibition Place was filled with vendors this year and great crowds attended.

I was invited to do a couple of speaking events and to talk fishing with people. I enjoy attending these events because I get to cross paths with people in the fishing community that I don’t get to see all that often. I also met several people who are newer to the fishing industry. These shows are just good events for networking and seeing the latest trends in fishing.

All of the latest and greatest gear for ice fishing was on display, from electric augers to shelters, new jigs and baits and of course electronics, which is where most of the effort in innovation could be found. With the increased use of live sonar by ice anglers, there are greater demands for better batteries and shuttle systems for transporting these expensive sonar units. There were some great new products on display in all areas.

The show organizers, Eric and Divine Labaupa do a great job every year of making this a weekend activity for everybody including kids. They had some fun giveaways and activities going on for the kids and hourly giveaways with some great prizes for all the anglers in attendance. Throughout the show people were happy and having fun.

There was a fish cooking area where professional chefs were showing off some of their tips and tricks for preparing their catch, this seemed to be interesting for everybody. I happened to walk by and Cameron Tait was preparing a Tuscan walleye, which looked excellent and a while later, another chef was creating some fish tacos.

One of the activities at the show that has become somewhat of a tradition is to see who can clean a walleye the fastest. The contestants get to clean a walleye and they are timed. Five second penalties are given out for any bones left in the fillets or for pieces of flesh left on the body. Jamie Bruce of Kenora had the fastest time this year, cleaning a walleye for start to two perfect fillets in 27 seconds! It was impressive.

The Winnipeg Ice Fishing Show happens every year in early November. If you enjoy ice fishing, you can find some of the best deals of the year on new equipment, learn tricks for catching and cooking fish from some of the best and the whole family can find some fun at this show.

Jamie Bruce (left) of Kenora was the fastest to clean a walleye this weekend at the Winnipeg Ice Fishing Show. He produced two perfect fillets in 27 seconds.