Channeling Big Fish
The muddy waters of the Red River have proved the ideal habitat to produce monster fish of this species. Many of North America’s sport angling experts say the stretch of river from Lockport to Lake Winnipeg is as good as it gets; abundant food, tremendous spawning habitat and strict catch and release regulations for the large fish have allowed them prosper. In fact, trophy fish of this species have now made their way into many of the tributaries of the lake.
Rivers like the Manigotagan and the Winnipeg River below Pine Falls on the east section of Lake Winnipeg all have abundant numbers of these top-of-the-line predators. Still, the best place to catch these fish is below the dam in Lockport to the city of Selkirk - especially in May, June and September. Lockport is located twenty minutes north of Winnipeg.
Shore angling for this species has taken off in Winnipeg as well. Anglers line the banks of the mighty Red River daily, and these areas have recently produced many a trophy Master Angler! There are a number of outfitters that would be glad to show first-time visitors how easy it truly is to catch magnificent trophy channel catfish.
Heavy equipment is needed as many of these fish get larger than 20 pounds, with 30-pound fish quite common. Most guides use large fiberglass rods, level wind reels and 30-pound test line to battle these fish in the currents where they’re frequently found. Some of the most popular baits include shrimp, cut bait like goldeye and sucker, and, of course night-crawlers.
Channel catfish are a warm-water species – action for them slows dramatically in October, when most anglers switch over to walleye.