The Big Three
Walleye is our No. 1 species. They are abundant and can offer fast action, but what truly makes our walleye fishery one of the best in Canada is the incredible population of big fish over 25". Our lake record is 33.5", and it's not uncommon for guests to land a Manitoba Master Angler (28" or bigger) or make the Century Club (4 walleyes in one day totalling 100" or better). We were an early adopter of slot limites and catch-and-release, so 100% of our giant walleyes stay in the lake and keep growing and spawning their big DNA for future generations.
Guests can keep a few eating size walleyes each day for shorelunch. Many of the "regulars" say eating fresh-from-the-lake walleye in a delicious shorelunch prepared multiple ways by their guide is a highlight of the Aikens Experience.
Aikens Lake offers outstanding northern pike fishing, especially in the early season. One of the most ferocious freshwater fish, these toothy predators will devour baits and make your drag scream. Pike can grow up to extreme lengths at Aikens (lake record is 49") and we boast a great number of Master Angler catches every year (41" or bigger). In fact, our trophy pike fishing has reached an all-time high in the past several years.
Many guests catch Master Angler pike "by accident" in the midst of jigging for walleyes--what a thrill that is with light-action rods and 8-pound test. Our guides are also adept at a variety of productive pike tactics; with the trophy pike action getting so good in recent years an increasing number of guests catch countless walleyes in the morning, then spend the afternoon targeting Master Angler pike.
Lake trout are the biggest predators in Aikens Lake. The lake record is 44.25", but we believe there are even bigger fish in the depths as lake trout are the least targeted of "the big 3" at Aikens. Of course, even the average 6-7 pounder makes your wrist sore, as many say lake trout offer the best fight of any fish. It's fun to hear guests come in off the lake with a story about battling their lake trout.
We prefer jigging for lakers with lighter tackle to make the fight even more intense. Fishing is better in spring, before the water temperature rises and the lake trout run to depths of 80, 150 or even 200+ feet. While the lake trout's oily flesh makes them unsuitable to fry at shorelunch, 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!
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.