Manitoba and Alberta Fishing Tips

Manitoba and Alberta fishing tips from Jocelyn and Kristen

These Manitoba and Alberta fishing tips will help anglers catch more fish! Both Manitoba and Alberta offer anglers some excellent fishing opportunities.

Manitoba and Alberta are sportsman’s and sports women’s paradises! Streams, rivers, and lakes offer anglers a chance to catch over a dozen species of game fish. The red river is famous as a world-class catfish destination. Walleye are very popular and are abundant. Northern pike and musky will put anglers tackle to the test. Smallmouth and largemouth bass are readily available. Pan fish please anglers seeking a meal. Both open water fishing and ice fishing are extremely productive.

Manitoba Fishing Tips, Action and Variety!

This article will share some awesome Manitoba and Alberta fishing tips. Manitoba, Canada offers anglers a wide variety of fishing options along with many different species that are available.

Manitoba and Alberta fishing tips

Follow Jocelyn on IG

Jocelyn is our fishing ladies Manitoba correspondent. She grew up in this area and knows it’s waters well.

“I work at a Powersports dealership in the parts dept. We sell Ultraskiff and Legend Boats, along with a few motorcycle/atv/side by side lines. I bought a Legend Boat last year and a year prior got myself an Uktraskiff. Check them out if you haven’t yet! Awesome little solo fishing platform! My husband and I are avid fishers and our spare time is spent either on the water or planning our next adventure.”

Fishing in Manitoba for catfish

Manitoba and trophy catfish are synonymous. The Red River flows north from the United States into Lake Winnipeg. It provides anglers with world-class catfish. Shore bound anglers can do very well as there are many different spots to access the river. The section below the dam at Lakeport is particularly productive.

Manitoba fishing tips

Most anglers associate catfish with bottom fishing, and rightfully so. Catfish are built to feed on the bottom. However, that does not mean that there are not discerning predators. Most serious anglers targeting large catfish use chunks of fresh caught fish such as suckers. Nightcrawlers and prepared baits will catch catfish as well. Heavy spinning or medium bait casting tackle is required to handle a large catfish in the river current.

Walleye fishing in Manitoba

Walleye are an extremely popular species and Manitoba and all over North America. While walleye put up a decent fight, for most anglers a value is on a dinner plate. Walleye are one of the finest eating fish that swims! Manitoba waters offer outstanding walleye habitat, both in rivers and lakes.

Manitoba walleye fishing

Trolling and drifting are the most popular ways to target walleye. Anglers trolling use artificial lures such as crank baits which imitate yellow perch and other forage fish. Trolling has advantages in that it allows anglers to present multiple baits while also covering a large area in a relatively short amount of time.

Drifting is extremely productive for walleye as well. While anglers do not cover as much water as they do trolling, they do so more thoroughly. Special sinkers designed to bounce along the bottom are used in conjunction with a leader and a live bait. Leeches, minnows, and nightcrawlers are top baits. Often times a spinner is used ahead of the hook to help attract fish.

Manitoba fishing tips; catching smallmouth bass

Smallmouth bass are terrific fighters in are abundant in the streams and lakes of Manitoba. Light spinning tackle is most often used as smallmouth rarely grow over 5 pounds. They are fairly aggressive and many anglers target them using artificial lures. Spinners, jigs, and small shallow diving plugs are the top artificial lures.

Manitoba smallmouth bass fishing

Smallmouth bass will certainly be taken using live bait as well. Crayfish are very high on a basses diet. They have a very high protein content. In fact, many lures are designed to imitate crayfish. Minnows are another top live bait. Like most predator fish, smallmouth bass feed on other small fish. Nightcrawlers are another terrific live bait.

Smallmouth bass love rocks! Boulders and rocks in the middle of streams and rivers will create an eddy which will attract smallmouth bass. They will lie in wait out of the current flow, ready to ambush unsuspecting prey. Submerge rocky bottom and humps and lakes are prime smallmouth bass spots. Sloping points in lakes with rock or gravel are great places to try as well. Rivers and streams entering lakes are prime spots for smallmouth bass and other species.

Manitoba northern pike fishing

Many anglers associate Canada fishing with northern pike. These aggressive predators are abundant in Manitoba and in most of Canada and the northern United States. Pike are ambush predators and are often targeted in and around weed beds. With their shape and coloring, they easily blend in with the existing weeds, waiting to pounce on any unsuspecting prey.

pike fishing in Manitoba

Pie can be taken by anglers using live bait. However, because they are so aggressive and often times are found in the weeds, most anglers opt for artificial lures. Large spinners, top water plugs, spoons, and soft plastic baits are all very effective. Suckers, both live and frozen, are the bait of choice for anglers choosing natural bait.

While many anglers target the weed beds when seeking pike, especially looking for numbers, often times the larger pike are found in deeper water. Submerge grass beds and ledges in water between 10 and 15 feet will often hold the larger specimens. This takes a little more effort, but for the angler willing to give it their all, they can be rewarded with a trophy pike.

Largemouth bass fishing in Manitoba

Manitoba largemouth bass

Largemouth bass are available to anglers and Manitoba. These bass prefer slower moving water stand do smallmouth. They can be found in rivers and streams, however they will be in the slower moving sections. Most largemouth bass caught in Manitoba will be done so in lakes. These fish are usually found near some type of structure such as fallen trees, weed beds, drop-offs, and man-made objects such as docs and bridges.

Most anglers fish for largemouth bass using artificial lures. Soft plastic baits are the number one offering. Plugs, spinner baits, spoons, and just about any other lure can produce largemouth bass as well. Anglers fishing with live bait will catch their share, too.

Anglers in Manitoba catching burbot

Manitoba burbot fishing

Burbot will never win a beauty contest. These fish are ugly and kind of “eel like”. However, they are excellent eating! Burbot are most often caught by accident, few anglers target them. They are found in deep water. Most burbot are landed by anglers ice fishing or deep jigging for walleye or lake trout.

Trout fishing in Manitoba

Manitoba and Alberta fishing tips

Brook trout and lake trout are available in Manitoba as well. Most lake trout are caught in the deep lakes in the northern region of Manitoba. Most lakers are caught by anglers in open water are done so trolling. Jigging produces in open water and through the ice. Brook trout are found in the lakes and remote streams up north as well. Anglers catch them on fly and using spinners and spoons.

Manitoba anglers catching panfish

Manitoba and Alberta fishing tips

Just as they are everywhere else in North America, pan fish are extremely popular and Manitoba as well. Crappy, sunfish, bluegill, and yellow perch are abundant and cooperative. They are all also excellent eating! In many cases, removing some of these fish from local waters can actually help the fishery.

Anglers targeting panfish do so using light spinning tackle most of the time. Ultralight outfits with 4 pound test monofilament line are used. Anglers cast tiny lures such as spinners and jigs to fool them. More panfish are probably caught by anglers using live or natural baits. Worms and minnows are most often used.

Many anglers ice fishing target panfish, especially yellow perch. These fish can all be caught through the ice using very light tackle. Cold water is very clear and the fish are a bit more lethargic. Anglers use tiny jigs often times tipped with a grub or other live bait. This is an extremely effective method to harvest panfish and anglers do not need a boat.

Fishing in Alberta, an Anglers guide

Alberta, Canada is an anglers paradise! Anglers fishing in Alberta have a wide variety of spots with fantastic scenery. Alberta offers a wide variety of freshwater game fish species along with a variety of techniques that can be used. The environments range from tiny streams to huge, open lakes. Many different trout species, northern pike, walleye, sturgeon, and other species are available. Anglers can cast lures and baits, troll, or fly fish for most of these species.

Fishing Ladies expert Kristen

walleye pike fishing

Follow Kristen on her angling adventures on IG

Kristen grew up on Vancouver island where her love for fishing was ignited. She started ocean fishing when she was 5 years old for fun with her dad and 2 older brothers. Kristen now lives in central Alberta, town of Lacombe. The same town that the famous Len Thompson lures are made. Most anglers have a “5 of diamonds” in their tackle box.

“I am a multi species angler and have a goal to catch every single fresh water species Alberta has in its water systems. So far I’m just about half way there. My favorite species to target are cutthroat trout in southern Alberta and tiger trout, rainbow trout, and lake trout in northern Alberta. My heart truly belongs to trout.”

Kristen is a brand ambassador

lake trout fishing tips

Kristen’s friend Andrew is an Alberta fishing guide has taken her under his wing over the last 6 months, taking Kristen on some great angling adventures. He is showing her all about fresh water fishing and getting her into the most beautiful fish Alberta has to offer. The proof is in the pictures!

Kristen is a brand ambassador for Lyman Lures, Rise Apparel, and Canadian Fishing Outfitters. Canadian made plug lures that work amazing for Lake trout and any game species but they are her “go to” lure for Lakers while using downriggers. Rise Apparel makes quality clothing and products for outdoor enthusiasts. Canadian Fishing Outfitters is a premier guide service in Alberta.

Alberta fishing tackle

Alberta fishing tips

Anglers fishing in Alberta have several choices when it comes to the best tackle to use. Most anglers cast lures using spinning tackle. Conventional outfits are best for trolling or bottom fishing in larger lakes and rivers. Fly fishing is favored by anglers fishing streams and rivers for trout.

Spin fishing tackle

Spinning tackle is versatile and easy to use. That is the primary reason that it is favored by many anglers. Tackle size varies according to the species being targeted. Kristen prefers to use a 6ft G Loomis fast action gl3 rod with Shimano Stradic 4000FJ. Her second choice is an Abu Garcia Accurist med heavy HSX 54 rod again matched with the 4000 Stradic. The reel is spooled with 20lb Power Pro braided line.

fishing for rainbow trout

These light spinning outfits can be used to cast light lures such as small spinners in streams when targeting trout. They are stout enough to cast a larger spoon in search of larger fish such as northern pike. Spinning tackle also works well for using live baits such as nightcrawlers.

Conventional tackle uses in Alberta

Many anglers enjoy trolling for large lake trout in the deep, clear Alberta lakes. Conventional outfits are well suited to this type of fishing. Casting is not needed. Kristen uses a 8 ft Shimano Talora rod with a Abu Garcia 6600sx reel combo when trolling for lakers. It is spooled up with 30-50 lb braided line.

Alberta fishing tips

Heavy conventional tackle is also the best option for anglers targeting sturgeon in rivers. These fish grow very large and stout tackle is mandatory. The best rod and reel combination for sturgeon fishing is also a Shimano Talora rod as it provides a sensitive tip where it is easy to see the bites. It is matched with an Abu Garcia 7001C reel and spooled up with 50 lb power pro braided line

Fly fishing tackle in Alberta

Fly fishing tackle will vary greatly depending on the species being targeted. Most anglers fly fishing in Alberta will be chasing some species of trout. However, they run the gamut in size from tiny brook trout to large rainbows and browns. A 5wt or 6wt outfit with a floating and intermediate sinking line is a good place to start.

Alberta creek, river, and lake fishing

top trout species

The three primary fishing areas in Alberta are creeks, rivers, and larger lakes. All three offer excellent fishing opportunities! However, tackle and tactics will be a bit different for each situation.

Creek fishing in Alberta

Small creeks are great fun to fish! While often times the fish are relatively small, an occasional trophy will be encountered. Also, since anglers are using very light tackle, the fish give a good account of themselves. Ultralight spinning tackle and light fly rods are the best choices when fishing small creeks. A 6′ spinning rod with 4 lb line works well. Fly anglers will opt for a 3 wt outfit with a floating line.

One great thing about fishing small creeks is that fish are easier to locate. There is simply less water in which to search. However, they can be spookier in the clear, shallow water. Top spots are eddies behind rocks and fallen timer, pools, holes on creek bends, and riffles. Top lures include small spinners and spoons. Small crankbaits such as the Rapala brown trout pattern CD-7 are effective as well. Most anglers use artificial lures or fly fish, but live worms and leeches produce fish as well.

Fishing Alberta rivers

The term “river” can be a broad one. A river can be a large meandering stream or a fast flowing beast. Most rivers in Alberta are in between and offer some excellent angling opportunities. Rivers will generally produce larger fish in deeper water with plenty of forage.

trout fishing

The same techniques and tackle that produce in smaller streams will also work well in rivers. The main difference is that anglers will need to bump the tackle up a bit. Medium spinning outfits and 6wy fly outfits work well. Larger lures and flies will also be used. Spinners, spoons, and shallow diving plugs are the top artificial lures. Nightcrawlers and leeches are the best natural baits.

Lake fishing in Alberta

Lake fishing is very productive in Alberta. Some of the largest game fish will be found in the pristine area lakes. Most species of trout will be caught in the lakes or the waters entering or exiting the lakes. Anglers can fish from the banks, though they are obviously limited. Boaters can troll, cast the bank, or drift fish for a variety of species.

There are many great lakes for fishing in Alberta. Generally speaking, the best lakes are in the northern part of Alberta. Obviously, with it being in Canada, ice fishing is extremely popular and effective in the winter. The same species that are caught in summer can be taken through the ice in the winter.

Top fishing spots in Alberta, Canada

Alberta has an abundance of great spots to fish for trout and other species. The list is long, with the North Saskatchewan River, South Saskatchewan River, Cold Lake, Bow River, Lower and Upper Kananakis Lakes, Slave Lake, Winefred Lake, Gull Lake, and Pigeon Lake being some top spots. Lake Athabasca is world renowned for giant lake trout.

Top Alberta game fish species

Alberta offers anglers some excellent fishing for cold water species in freshwater. These include brook trout, lake trout, brown trout, rainbow trout, tiger trout, bull trout, and cutthroat trout. Other species include northern pike, sturgeon, walleye, grayling, and whitefish.

Brook trout

Brook trout are found in both streams and smaller lakes. They average 12-15 inches but brookies to 2 feel long are caught regularly. The best lures for catching brook trout in Alberta are tube jigs, small Panther Martin spinners, and smaller crank baits. Worms are the top live bait. Maligne Lake in Jasper National Park would be top destination.

One great aspect of targeting Alberta brook trout is the unique color patterns that they display. They are found moderately across the province. Anglers are have opportunities to fish brook trout as per the stocking program. There are multiple places that have them stocked. Emerald lake for example.

Rainbow trout

Rainbow trout are an extremely popular species that are found throughout the region. Trout that average a foot or so are found in many small streams. Larger fish are taken in the big lakes by anglers trolling. Rainbow trout have a varied diet and feed on a wide variety of fish, crustaceans, and insects. The Bow River is the top spot in Alberta for targeting rainbow trout.

Small lures such as spinners, plugs, and spoons work well on rainbow trout. They can be taken on a variety of live baits along with eggs and commercial baits. Large spoons and plugs produce big fish in larger, deep lakes.

Brown trout

Brown trout are another popular trout species that flourishes in Alberta. They feed on insects when young and then switch over to foraging on bait fish as they mature. Most big brown trout are caught by anglers casting or trolling plugs, spoons, and spinners. Top area for brown trout would be the Bow River system. There are also many stocked lakes in the province that provide opportunities to catch brown trout.

Lake Trout

Lake trout grow very large and are mostly caught in the deep, cold lakes in Alberta. These fish average 20 pounds but grow to over 50 pounds. Trolling is by far the most effective method used to land lake trout. Large plugs and spoons are the top lures as they mimic the bait fish that lakers feed on. Kristen does very well trolling Lyman Lures.

The best lakes for catching lake trout in Alberta are Cold lake and Lake Athabasca. Lake Alberta can produce lake trout as well The best times of year

Cutthroat trout

Cutthroat trout, or “cutty’s” are found in several Alberta lakes and rivers. The best lures for fooling cutthroat trout are XXXXX, and XXXXXX. They are using found in riffles and eddies as well as fallen trees.

Top spots for anglers looking to catch cutthroat trout in Alberta are the Lower and Upper Kananaskis Lakes as well as the Old Man River, Ram River, and Peace River.

Bull Trout

Top spots for targeting bull trout in Alberta are the Red Deer River, Highwood River, Clearwater River, Lower and Upper Kananaskis Lakes, and the Bow River.

Tiger trout

Top tiger trout spots in Alberta are the Black Nugget River, Blood Indian Reservoir, Chain lakes, and East Twin Lake.


Walleye are one of the most popular freshwater game fish in North America. While they put up a decent little tussle, they are prized more for their snow-white delicate fillets. Walleye are mostly target by anglers fishing in lakes, though they are also caught in rivers as well. Trolling and drifting are the two most effective techniques.

Walleye feed close to the bottom near structure. Submerged rocks, timber, and drop offs will all hold walleye. Anglers present their baits close to the bottom and at a slower pace. North Saskatchewan River , Lac la Biche, Pigion Lake, Wabamun Lake, Gull Lake, Marie Lake, and Slave Lake are top walleye spots in Alberta.

Northern Pike

Northern pike are an aggressive species that is found in lakes and river systems. Pike prefer shallow, weedy bays with little current. They are voracious feeders and will attack almost anything when hungry. Larger lures and heavier tackle are often required. Spoons are a top lure, as are spinners and plugs. Live bait fish such as suckers will fool trophy pike.


Sturgeon are found in Alberta in a couple of large river systems. The main rivers that provide the most success for anglers in regards to lake sturgeon is the North Saskatchewan River and the South Saskatchewan River. Surgeon are also found in other river system like the Bow River, but the opportunities for anglers are not as plentiful.

Most sturgeon are caught by anglers bottom fishing with heavy tackle. These fish grow quite large and stout tackle is required, particularly in heavy current. The best baits are cut sucker and chub.

In conclusion, this article, Fishing in Alberta, an Anglers Guide, will helo both resident and visiting anglers catch more fish!

In conclusion, this article on Manitoba and Alberta fishing tips should help anglers catch more fish when visiting this great area. Anglers can find Manitoba fishing regulations and more information on the government site, HERE.

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