TROPHY FISHING IN MANITOBA, CANADA
Aikens Lake features outstanding fishing. These are the six main species of fish found at Aikens: Walleye, Northern Pike, Lake Trout, Yellow Perch, Whitefish, and Burbot.
Manitoba’s second deepest lake (295 ft.) offers plenty of habitat and structure where fish thrive. Situated on the Gammon River in the heart of the Precambrian Shield, Aikens Lake offers some of the best walleye fishing in Canada. Many men, women and fisherkids have earned their Manitoba Master Angler Awards by landing these beauties of up to 33+ inches! Just because the walleye action is fantastic all season doesn't mean anglers aren't trying their hand at tackling monster northern pike or lunker lake trout or even fly-fishing for trophy whitefish. Enlightened management of sport fish resources for tomorrow by the Department of Natural Resources and individual lodge operators has vaulted Manitoba amongst the top destinations in North America for anglers searching for trophies. Aikens Lake is a high quality management lake, committed to increasing trophy stocks for the future. Selective harvest for shorelunch ensures plentiful trophies forever.
Walleye (also known as pickerel in Canada) is the main species at Aikens Lake and the trophy size for walleye is 28" (approx. 7-8 lbs in our region). The white, flaky meat of the walleye makes it the most sought after shorelunch fish in the north. Nothing compares to these fresh morsels during a typical shorelunch. The lake record walleye is 33". These fish like to school up, so once you have caught one, the others aren't far away. You could call Aikens a Jumbo Walleye Factory!
Northern Pike Fishing
Northern Pike, also known as jack or jackfish in Canada, is one of the most ferocious freshwater fish. They will devour baits and make your drag scream. Their sleek bodies enable them to cut through the water at incredible speed. They are the only fish at Aikens that will jump out of the water in an effort to spit a hook. Once in the boat, Pike have been known to flip over tackle boxes, break rods, and wreak havoc.... and curse the day they should get a hold of your fingers in their incredibly toothy mouths. Pike have a bad reputation as slimy critters (with such nicknames as "snakes", "hammerhandles", "Snot Rockets"), but their appeal at shorelunch should not be underestimated. When properly filleted by removing the vaunted Y-bone, their orange meat seals in spices like no other. Pike can grow to 50 inches at Aikens and the fight they put up is out of this world.
Lake Trout Fishing
Lake trout are the biggest predators in Aikens Lake. Although the lake record is 43.5" (45 lbs), there are sure to be much bigger fish in the depths of Aikens Lake. It is not uncommon to spot a few blimps on your depth finder when fishing Lake Trout. Lake Trout also offer what is in our opinion the best fight of any fish at Aikens. We prefer jigging for Lake Trout, using much lighter tackle (a medium-action spinning rod with 10 pound test) than the traditional heavy trolling equipment. This allows the average 6-7 pounder to make your wrists sore for days to come. Hearing that drag scream is a great thrill! Their flesh is a lot oilier than Pike or Walleye, which makes it unsuitable to fry at shorelunch. On the other hand, baked lake trout is a delicacy. When wrapped in foil and filled with butter, garlic herb, onions, lemons, cilantro, and other spices, lakers offer a special taste which cannot be duplicated.
This delicate but hard fighting silver ghost offers a great challenge to anglers at Aikens Lake. Their tiny soft mouth makes them difficult to land, but many trophy sized whitefish are caught on small jigs tipped with a shiner minnow, on a fly or trolling small bait fish lures. We are convinced that a new Manitoba record whitefish will be caught at Aikens Lake in the not too distant future. Whitefish are not very sought after for shorelunch purposes, but smoked whitefish as a hors d'oeuvre is quite delicious. We do have a smoker at Aikens... and we're not afraid to use it!
Yellow Perch Fishing
Very common throughout Canada and the USA, it is not the fighting fish that anglers dream of. However, that doesn't mean that Perch fishing isn't fun. When a school is found, bobbers will keep disappearing endlessly. They are a great species for teaching young ones to fish. The non-stop action keeps kids laughing and giggling all day long. The trophy size on perch is 13", and the average one is about 8-9". This makes them more laborious to eat at shorelunch, but once all the work is finished, their meat rivals that of the walleye.
Known as the freshwater cod, Burbot are by far the ugliest and dumbest fish in Aikens. The Burbot combines the body of an eel with the head of a catfish. Their flattering nicknames include "eelpout", "lawyerfish", and "mariah". However, don't get us wrong, they are fun to fish for... but you have to be in a silly mood. Most Burbot are caught fishing for Lake Trout, but some of our braver staff and guests have braved to dark skies to hit the Burbot at their peak... total lack of light. Talk to a few or our guides, and they might be convinced on allowing you to sit in on this very unique experience. Their meat is quite good when it is boiled and dipped in garlic butter. Some people would call it poor man's lobster.... It's up to you.