Land some major cash, prizes in the 2016 Falcon Lake Winter Fish-Off

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This 17.34lb northern pike caught by Kyle Fenning was the $10,000 winning fish at the 2015 Falcon Lake Winter Fish-Off. Photo by Jay Siemens.

Fishing, Falcon Lake, the Whiteshell Provincial Park, spending time with friends, and winning big $$$ and prizes – If you enjoy any of these things, then you may want to sign yourself up for the 2016 Falcon Lake Winter Fish-Off.

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The 2015 winner! Photo by Jay Siemens.

The 13th annual all-species fishing tournament is returning once again to Falcon Lake on Saturday, March 19. This is a great fishing derby the whole family can enjoy… And includes over $40,000 in cash and prizes!

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Once again, the biggest fish will swim away with the $10,000 grand prize. Plus — If you happen to land that magical hidden weight number you could be taking home a whopping $50,000 cash!

Early bird ticket sales end March 9 and all early birds get the worm… Or better yet… Entered to win an autographed Chris Thorburn jersey, an Eskimo Quickfish Shelter, or $1,000 cash!

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Photo by Jay Siemens.

 

For more information, visit winterfishoff.com. See you on the ice!

All photos by Jay Siemens Media Productions.

Fin + Bone 4: Four ways to Experience the Whiteshell this May long weekend

Written by Marney Blunt, Experience the Whiteshell editor, for Fin + Bone 4:

Finally it is here! The May long weekend. The start of another season of summer time lake living in the beautiful cottage country of the Whiteshell Provincial Park. Whether you’ve been coming out to the lake all winter or you’re just opening up the cabin for another season, here are some things you can do to kick off the season. I recently wrote my top four picks of things to do on the May long weekend for Fin +Bone magazine. Have a look here and have a great May long weekend:

Glassy calm waters, echoing loon calls, eagles soaring overhead, towering pine trees, the eerie howls of wolves in the distance: These are just a few of the enchanting sights and sounds that many lucky people have experienced in the Whiteshell Provincial Park over the summer season.

Glad to say I’m one of those lucky people. Growing up with a cottage in the beautiful Canadian Shield terrain of the south Whiteshell has given me plenty of opportunities to venture throughout this gorgeous part of our province.

The older I’ve gotten, the more time I’ve spent in the Whiteshell during the ‘off season’. Truthfully, I love the Whiteshell in all four seasons, 365 days of the year. I honestly couldn’t think of a time I haven’t been excited to head down Highway 44 towards the lake. But growing up, the May long weekend was always an extra special time. While I was in school, the May long weekend was always the official start of another summer season of lake living. It meant school was almost done, and it was a taste of a few of the fun and exciting adventures I would get to do all summer long.

So to give you a taste of a few great things to do during the spring and summer season in this magical land known as the Whiteshell, here’s four ways you can experience the Whiteshell this May long weekend:

McGillivray Falls.

McGillivray Falls.

Hike the Whiteshell

One of my favourite things to do in the Whiteshell during the spring is hike the McGillivray Falls trail. McGillivray Falls is a self-guided, glacier-formed trail that is potentially one of the best trails to hike during the spring season as the rapids are rushing down from McGillivray Lake into Caddy Lake. The trail is located off Highway 44 near the Caddy Lake turnoff. The trail also features a shorter 2.8 km loop or a longer 4.8 km loop.

Mild temperatures and no bugs make the May long weekend one of the best times to hit up the hiking trails of the Whiteshell, and there are several other trails you might want to check out this weekend. Another great hike is the Hunt Lake trail, which is a 12.6 km trail that edges along the outskirts of Hunt Lake and the east side of West Hawk Lake, heading north towards Indian Bay. My favourite time to do this trail is at sunset, you can get a stunning view of the sunset over West Hawk Lake from the top of a tall cliff on the east shore. Another great one to do is the South Whiteshell trail, part of the Trans Canada Trail. Last August, a new portion of this trail opened up leading from the causeway (near the Falcon Lake Marina on the south shore of Falcon Lake) through the woods behind Falcon Lake and into the secluded and picturesque High Lake.

Hunt Lake.

Hunt Lake.

Cast a line in the Whiteshell

I’ve always loved fishing at the lake, as I little girl I mastered the art of catching tiny smallmouth bass in our boathouse at Star Lake. That was really all I knew, and it was all I needed to know to have fun. It wasn’t until a few years ago when I was shown the ropes of fishing that I became, excuse the cheesy pun, completely hooked on it.

Although I still have a lot to learn, I can say one thing for sure: The May long weekend and walleye fishing just go hand-in-hand. Nothing says the start of opening fishing season like jigging for that huge master walleye or just heading out on the water to catch dinner. With a healthy population of beautiful fish, Falcon Lake is a walleye angler’s paradise. Last year, a lot of walleye were in the 23-27” range… So maybe in coming years the lake will be filled with masters, just saying. walleyeCheck out the Whiteshell Fish Hatchery

The Whiteshell Fish Hatchery is an amazing combination of history and fishery conservation. I had the awesome opportunity to tag along with some of the hatchery staff last year while they collected eggs and tagged walleye on Falcon Lake. The walleye eggs are then taken back to the hatchery where they will remain in incubator containers for about 21 days before reaching the eyed-egg stage, which last about six to ten days for walleye. The eggs then hatch into tiny fish referred to as ‘fry’, at this stage the walleye are stocked into the lakes. The survival rate for young fish at the hatchery can be 80 per cent, whereas in the wild the survival rate is one per cent.

The hatchery raises both cool water fish (walleye, northern pike, and lake sturgeon) and cold water fish (rainbow trout, brook trout, brown lake trout, arctic char, and trout hybrids including splake and tiger trout). The hatchery has big outdoor tanks where you can see a brood stock that includes brook trout, brown trout, tiger trout, and even lake sturgeon. But why am I telling you all this, get down there and check it out for yourself! One of the friendly staff at the hatchery would be more than happy to give you a tour. hatchery2 sturgPaddle the Whiteshell

I once had the opportunity to see the Whiteshell via floatplane, and it was mind-boggling how many lakes there are so close together. The Whiteshell is an endless chain of lakes just waiting to be explored. There are so many opportunities for different canoe and kayak routes, with easy portages between them. A classic and one of the most well known canoe routes is probably the Caddy Lake rock tunnels. You can rent a boat or canoe from Green Bay Resort or Caddy Lake Resort and head out through Caddy Lake and into South Cross Lake, and then through South Cross through the second tunnel into North Cross Lake. Several camping spots are located along the way and there is prime fishing in all three lakes. There are also several other lakes that are within portaging distance of this canoe route. canoe

Bait your hook, drop your line, and jig em’ up…

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

A time of the year so many Manitoban anglers anticipate… The opening day of the 2015/2016 fishing season. This Saturday, May 9 marks the first day of open water fishing in the Whiteshell. Whether it’s walleye, black crappie, smallmouth bass, northern pike, or lake trout that you fancy, be sure head out to the Whiteshell Provincial Park this weekend to catch those first fish of the season in one of the beautiful lakes in the park.

IMG_3029IMG_3154For the more competitive anglers, be sure to come out and fine tune your jigging skills for the 2015 Walleye Masters Cup on Falcon Lake, scheduled for Saturday, June 6 this year. The tournament is in support of the Central Walleye Trail, Fish Futures, and the Never Alone Foundation. Continue reading

12th Annual Falcon Lake Winter Fish-Off

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Photo by Jay Siemens.

There’s more than $40,000 in cash and prizes swimming around the depths of Falcon Lake – So why not get drop a line in and reel up some cash during the 12th annual Falcon Lake Winter Fish-Off, scheduled for Saturday, March 21 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. this year.

As always, all the prizes are guaranteed and the holes are pre-drilled. Catch the heaviest fish and you’re guaranteed to win $10,000 cash! Prizes are awarded down to 50th place, giving you the chance to win a variety of prizes or cash.
Photo by Jay Siemens.

Photo by Jay Siemens.

Back by popular demand, is the $50,000 Hidden Weight Contest. Simply catch one of the first 120 fish and you’re automatically entered into the contest. If your fish matches the hidden weight, you win $50,000! If nobody matches the weight, then the angler with the closest weight will receive a Frabill Headquarters six-person ice shelter.cash
The Falcon Lake Winter Fish-Off is once again proudly supporting the St.Amant Autism Program. The tournament will be donating $1 from every ticket sold, as well as all the proceeds from on-ice bait sales. In addition, St.Amant will be doing a 50/50 draw on the ice! Last year’s 50/50 winner took home $3,595 and a total of $5,824 was raised for St.Amant!

unnamedAdult tickets are $50 before March 11, then $70. Second hole and kids are just $30. You can purchase tickets at 13 ticket vendors across Manitoba and NW Ontario, online at www.winterfishoff.com or over the phone at toll-free 1-866-676-FISH (3474).

To get your ice fishing-stoke on, check out this short ice fishing documentary, filmed at last year’s Falcon Lake Winter Fish-Off.

– Compiled by Andrew Klassen & Marney Blunt.
– Photos by Jay Siemens.
– Video by Marney Blunt.

Fathers, Family, Fishing, & Falcon…

Have you got plans for Dad this Father’s Day weekend? Well, it just-so-happens that this weekend is Father’s Day and Manitoba’s Family Fishing Weekend! The perfect scenario!20ColesBigWalleye copyOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFamily Fishing Weekend, June 14 and 15, allows everyone to head out to the water and try out fishing – No fishing licence required! This is an excellent way for the entire family to spend the Father’s Day weekend fishing with Dad. It’s also a great weekend for anyone who wants to try out the sport of fishing for the first time – Free of charge!

 

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Whiteshell Fish Hatchery

The Whiteshell Fish Hatchery was built in 1942, and is an important part of Whiteshell history and fishery conservation.

The hatchery raises fish from eggs to be stocked in sport fishing lakes across Manitoba, ranging from the United States border and extending up to The Pas. The hatchery is located just off Highway 312 between West Hawk Lake and Ingolf, Ontario. The highway was non-existent when the hatchery was built, so a crude road was built from Highway 44 to bring in materials. Heavy equipment was brought in the winter by horse and sleigh.

Inside the interpretive centre at the Whiteshell Fish Hatchery.

Inside the interpretive centre at the Whiteshell Fish Hatchery.

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Whiteshell Summer Bucket List

The ice is melting, the trees are budding, and the birds are singing; spring is here and summer is just around the corner. So are all the awesome summer activities in the Whiteshell. Summer is the most-happening season in the Whiteshell. Whether you want to explore the back-country of the Whiteshell or just relax and take in the scenery, the Whiteshell is the place to be in the summer. Here are the best ways you can Experience the Whiteshell this summer:

South Cross Lake - Photo by Marney Blunt.

South Cross Lake – Photo by Marney Blunt.

1 – Hike the Whiteshell – There are many different hiking trails to explore in the Whiteshell. Whether you want to climb the cliffs of the Hunt Lake Trail, take a casual stroll, or ride your bike through the South Whiteshell Trail, there are a variety of gorgeous hiking trails that will take you deep into the beauty and nature of the Canadian Shield. Some great hiking trails to check out include the Hunt Lake Trail alongside the east shore of West Hawk Lake, the McGillivray Falls Trail, the South Whiteshell Trail (part of the Trans-Canada Trail), the Mantario Trail, the trails at Falcon Ridge, and many more! Check out falconwesthawk.com for more information on these trails, and keep checking Experience the Whiteshell for articles and photos this summer!

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