Lyons Lake Manitoba—Tips for first-time trouters

Lyons Lake, located on the TransCanada Highway near the Ontario border, is an ever-popular spot for rainbow trout fishing. I’ve fished here since I was knee-high to a grasshopper, but in the last few years I’ve learned how to get good numbers out of the lake. Here are some top tips if you are new to trout fishing.

Species

A nice mid-size rainbow trout, caught from shore at Lyons Lake.

Rainbow trout is the primary species you’ll catch here. The lake is well stocked with rainbows, though most are in the 8-15-inch range, with plenty of smaller ones.

Brown Trout live in these waters too. Big ones. The hatchery dumps the big brood-stock males once they’re bred out. I’ve yet to land a Lyons Lake brown, but I’ve seen plenty of photographic evidence.

Perch for days here too. I usually use trout bait over worms to keep ‘em off my hook. If you’re looking to catch jumbo perch, this isn’t the place. Most of the perch I’ve seen here appear pretty stunted.

Black bullheads will occasionally bite your line. These little catfish serve an important purpose in this lake—scavenging dead matter. They’re the only bottom-feeding species in Lyons, so these little guys likely eat well.

Tackle Rundown

Lyons Lake is hella stocked with numbers, but most of them aren’t too big. Trout are also notoriously finicky eaters, so you’ll want to gear up appropriately. Big jig heads and minnows? No. Pickerel rigs? You’re better than that.

Small hooks small hooks small hooks. These trout, even the big ones, don’t have big mouths, nor do they usually go for large presentations. My go-to lure is a size 1 or 2 Mepps Black Fury. Play around with different colours if you like, but the black fury always gets me fish. For spinning lures, it’s about matching the hatch, meaning that since trout love feasting on flies and bugs throughout the open-water season, you’re best off using a lure that looks like one.

If you’re shore fishing, tie up a little slip-sinker rig with a size 6 Octopus hook and bait it with some marshmallows or trout dough. These are hatchery trout, raised on fish pellets, so they love artificial baits. This method has caught me hundreds of trout in summer and winter.

In the video above, I put on a medium five-of-diamonds spoon in an attempt to catch larger fish. No luck there, but a few little ones surprised me by hitting the lure, which was nearly half their size. This day was an exception to the usual striking habits of average-sized rainbows.

Hardwater Check out my previous post for some ice fishing tactics that will help you on this lake.

Location

You can catch little trout like this all day long, right from shore!

Lyons Lake offers very accessible fishing. There are three docks/casting platforms on the lake, and you can have a busy day right off these spots. Rainbows love the weed beds that line the shores of Lyons, so if you’re shore fishing, you’re in luck. If the docks are busy or boring, find yourself a spot next to a fallen tree, just try not to get snagged!

If you have a boat with an electric motor, the world’s your oyster. No gas engines allowed here, so don’t be that guy. I troll the shores in my inflatable, getting as close to different structures as possible. Directly across from the lakes largest casting platform is a sizeable bay. I’ve marked some monsters on my flasher here: troll from point to point.

On particularly active days, the rainbows will be hitting the topwater—hard. Watch for rises and cast right at them. Nothing’s more fun than hooking up as soon as your lure hits the water.

Regulations

Be sure to read the Manitoba Anglers Guide before you head out. Stocked trout lakes have some distinct rules, and Conservation Officers rightfully monitor them closely.

Here are some top regulatory takeaways:
• You can only keep two trout on a conservation licence, and only one can exceed 45cm.
• Gas-powered motors are prohibited.
• You can fish stocked trout lakes year-round!
• If you’re coming over from Ontario, remember, you need an MB fishing permit and barbed hooks are banned.

Wildlife

A big old baldy made a brief landing right in front of me at Lyons Lake. I always bring a camera with me when I’m out fishing in the Whiteshell Provincial Park.

Take some time to enjoy the beauty of this area. You’ll likely see bald eagles, grouse, deer and loons, along with both painted and snapping turtles. Fishing here is a pretty sublime experience, so make sure to pause, breath it all in.

It took me a long time to figure trout out. I spent years bringing the wrong setups to this lake, so I’m happy to give out some pointers—there are plenty of rainbows here for everyone. Get out and land some trout!

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