One of the many advantages of Pine Island Lodge (PIL) is its accessibility. Anglers fly to Winnipeg, Manitoba, are met at the airport and driven by van to Pointe du Bois: From there, it’s one-half hour by boat to camp (a most scenic and enjoyable by the way). No overnights. Quick and easy.
PIL is located at the remote boundary of Manitoba’s Whiteshell Forest on the famous Winnipeg River system. The lodge is 22 miles from the nearest road, and can only be reached by boat or float plane.
Pine Island Lodge is nestled on 17-acre private island, among the spruce, birch and pines. The Winnipeg River is not what most anglers imagine when they think of a “river.” The Winnipeg has huge lake-like areas with large bays studded with spruce and birch covered islands, rocky reefs that border immense weed beds, submerged gravel bars that stair-step from 8 to 100 feet of water. The coves and inlets are fringed with lily pads and wild rice.
The Winnipeg flows around dozens of beautiful tree-filled islands that harbor quiet back bays and deep dark runs: ideal places to locate fish even in the hottest weather. Wind is not a problem at Pine Island, because of the numerous islands, protected bays and inlets.
These waters are productive for northern pike, walleye and smallmouth bass. There are numerous good fishing areas available, so the angler will not be crowded at any time nor worry about fishing pressure. Northern pike average 4 to 8 pounds, but each season many over 18 pounds are caught. Walleyes are typically two to three pounds, but larger walleyes–exceeding five pounds– are caught every year.
Perhaps it is smallmouth bass, though, that really distinguishes Pine Island Lodge from other Manitoban camps. Pound for pound the smallmouth is considered one of the strongest freshwater gamefish. It leaps, it makes fast, bulldog rushes, changes direction quickly and fights to the last second.
Pine Island has access to Manitoba’s finest smallmouth waters. The majority of Master Angler Awards for smallmouth come from these waters, and most of them are caught by Pine Island guests. You can fish the river itself, or if you prefer, Crowduck or Big Echo Lakes which are reached by portage (PIL keeps boats on these lakes). For a real change of pace, fly into George Lake, (at an additional charge for the charter plane), which has produced a great number of giant bass in recent years. During the early season, George Lake also has lake trout in its shallow waters to add a further dimension to its fishing.
Accommodations at Pine Island are modern and comfortable and earned a government approved Four-Star rating. All cabin are paneled, carpeted, have round-the-clock electricity, private bathrooms and showers. Bedrooms have single beds with inner-spring mattresses to insure a good night’s sleep in preparation for tomorrow’s great fishing adventure. Cottages hold from two to eight guests, depending on the size of the party. There is daily maid service and every morning a pot of coffee is delivered to your doorstep and each evening the ice bucket is filled. The main lodge incorporates the dining room and lounge which offers TV, stereo, pool table, etc.,for evening relaxation. A small but well stocked tackle shop is equipped with additional lures.
Meals are excellent; they typically feature roast pork, chicken, steak and turkey. Breakfasts are equally hearty. And of course, the big shore lunch prepared by your guide is one of the highlights of the day.
Equipment and Guides: PIL uses 16-ft. Lund, deep-vee aluminum boats powered by 20 hp Mercs. Each boat is equipped with swivel seats, coolers, landing net, boat cushions, and an experienced guide is assigned to each boat (maximum two anglers).
Conservation Policy: Manitoba offers a conservation fishing license which costs less. PIL sells this license exclusively and has instituted a trophies-only policy for smallmouth bass. Two reasons why fishing has improved.
About the 1995 Season: “One of the best in a long time for smallmouths,” some of the regular guests seem to echo.
From J. C. Joyce, of Tulsa, OK.: ” …we boated 30 or more bass each day on the river and those bass were from two to four pounds and would nearly jerk you in the lake…”
John Gaines and Fred Lane landed 40 bass from George Lake (fly-out), which is outstanding, but the previous year this duo landed 135 smallmouths in one day at George. Walleye fishing was also good, topped by a 29.5-inch walleye caught by Mark Ruffey.
In 1994, a number of very big northern pike (over 20 pounds) were landed; 1995 was a good year for numbers of pike, but the really big fish (18 pounds or larger) were not as numerous. Reason? The weather was extremely good and bright and the fish may have been in deeper waters.