Recreation Opportunities for Conference Attendees

Image Credit: Travel Manitoba, a Gold Sponsor of the TWS Annual Conference

For wildlifers who enjoy fishing or bird hunting, this year’s TWS Annual Conference in Winnipeg could be the perfect opportunity to land a trophy walleye or bag any number of waterfowl and upland game birds. A short trip outside the provincial capital city will quickly reveal some of the best angling and hunting in North America.

Manitoba’s famous fall walleye run will be in full swing during the conference and channel catfish are often still biting in the same waters at this time, which can make for interesting combo fishing trip opportunities. The trout bite in western Manitoba is also hot at that time of year, even if the water temperatures aren’t!

The Red River that flows through Winnipeg offers a variety of fish species for folks who can only spare a couple hours during conference week. For those feeling a little more adventurous, the Lockport Dam is situated just 28 miles north of downtown and is a popular destination for one-day fishing trips. Although Manitoba does not offer a temporary tourist fishing license, the cost for a non-resident is just $32 (U.S.) for the year. Licenses can be pre-purchased or purchased upon arrival. If pre-purchasing, anglers should allow four weeks for the application to be processed and returned.

For conference attendees who wish to venture outside of Winnipeg to fish, it is recommended that they use an outfitter or guide. Guides have experience and knowledge of the area, and outfitters can provide transportation, rods, tackle and other accommodations. City Cats, based in Winnipeg, is a great option for channel catfish and walleye fishing in the area. About 40 minutes north, in Selkirk, Manitoba, Cat Eye Fishing offers full-day or half-day trips on the Red River for catfishing. Bruin Outfitting offers full-day or multi-day packages for various species of fish, including walleye, northern pike, muskie and lake trout. Blackwater Cats offers full- and half-day catfishing trips in Selkirk, Lockport and Winnipeg.

Fall in Manitoba is also hunting season, and the best bet for many conference-goers might be the waterfowling opportunities found just outside of Winnipeg. Ducks and geese will be in season at that time, as will sandhill cranes and other forest-dwelling birds like grouse and woodcock.

Much of the bird hunting in Manitoba — particularly for waterfowl — is done in the interlake region, just north of the city, between Lake Winnipeg and Lake Manitoba. Areas surrounding Oak Hammock Marsh are popular for hunting, as they host a variety of bird species. Once again, it is recommended that hunters plan their outing through an outfitter, as they will provide transportation, gear (including firearms) and access to private hunting lands. Trips to the interlake region are at least a one-hour drive from Winnipeg, but could be much longer, depending on the outfitter and the hunt. As with fishing licenses, game bird licenses can be pre-purchased online or on site in Winnipeg. The cost for a non-resident bird license is $144 (U.S.) for the year and includes all species of waterfowl and upland game birds.

Muzzleloader season for whitetail deer and the general season for barren-ground caribou in the far north will also be open. However, big game hunters should note that typical hunt packages offered by outfitters are one week in duration, and hunters who are not residents of Canada are required to use the services of an outfitter when hunting for moose, black bear, whitetail deer, caribou, wolves or coyotes.

For all hunting inquiries and planning purposes, the Manitoba Lodges and Outfitters Association (MLOA) is a great resource. The MLOA will be exhibiting at the conference and has agreed to assist attendees at the conference or prior to arrival. Trips can be booked on the spot, but outfitter availability tends to fill up long in advance, so be sure to plan ahead. The MLOA cannot book or coordinate trips directly, but will work with conference-goers to help them find outfitters who can accommodate them based on their preferences for species, budget, timeline and other considerations. For more information about hunting and fishing in Manitoba contact Paul Turenne of the MLOA at 1-800-305-0013 or by email mloa@mloa.com.

Information courtesy of Mark Clarke, Paul Turenne and the Manitoba Lodges and Outfitters Association.

To learn more about this year’s Annual Conference, visit our conference site

Nick WesdockNick Wesdock is The Wildlife Society’s Operations Assistant. You can follow him on Twitter at @nick_wesdock.

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