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Fishing Pinawa

Pinawa Pike Classic_300_300

Fishing Pinawa...

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 An Introduction to the Winnipeg River...,

The Winnipeg River is a Canadian river which flows from Lake of the Woods in the province of Ontario to Lake Winnipeg in Manitoba. The river is 235 kilometres (146 mi) long from the Norman Dam in Kenora to its mouth at Lake Winnipeg. (Wikipedia).

The Winnipeg river is interrupted by 9 hydro dams; 6 of which are in Manitoba. All are of the classical
Run-of-the-Riverdesign.
Run-of-the-river hydroelectric stations are those with small or no reservoir capacity. They are the cheapest versions of hydro dams for the purpose of generating electricity but are highly depended on the short term availability of water in the upstream river system.

As fishermen fishing those areas,.. one has to be aware of the possibility of sudden changes in water level (dropping water levels) due to sudden increases of power production during peak periods of consumption.  This occurs particularly in fore bay areas and in the immediate river stretches upstream from the dams. In areas such as Sharkey’s Channel near Pinawa or at “the three cables” 3km upstream from the White Dog dam, sudden and insurmountable rapids of several feet height can be created, cutting off your return path.

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Name / Location

Date build

max Power

Reservoir type

Norman, ON

1898-1926

14 MW

Lake (LOTW)

Kenora, ON

1906/1921-1926

10 MW

Lake (LOTW)

White Dog Falls,ON

1958

68 MW

River/Lake

Pointe du Bois, MB

1926

77 MW

River

Slave Falls,MB

1928-1948

67 MW

River

Seven Sisters, MB

1952

165 MW

River

McArthur,MB

1955

55 MW

              Lake
 (Lake Lac du Bonnet)

Great Falls,MB

1928

136 MW

River

Pine Falls,MB

1952

89 MW

River

This in essence creates two basic groups of trophic state water systems.

All bodys of water upstream of the Norman and Kenora Hydro (11) dams as well as the area upstream of the McArthur Hydro (4)  dam can be classified as Mesotrophic to Eutrophic with an TI index of 50 to 70 and overall low flow velocity. Especially the nutrient rich Whitemouth River joining the Winnipeg River below the Seven Sisters Hydro station, does increase the Eutrophic character of the water downstream until the McArthur Hydro dam. The Whitemouth River is the most significant source of nutrient rich water due to farming, of all Winnipeg River tributaries.
All other sections of rivers upstream of
Pointe du Bois (7+8), Slave Falls (6 shortest section), Seven Sisters (5), Great Falls (3), and Pine Falls (2) can be classified as Oligotrophic to Mesotrophic bodies of water with an TI index of 30 to 40 and an overall high flow velocity. The Whiteshell River entering the Winnipeg river near sturgeon falls is a creek/river which is not affected by any farming but a rather clear system, which is home to some nice trout fisheries.
 
The area upstream of White Dog dam (9+10) is a combination of both scenarios with a mix of fast flowing river/channel like sections but also relatively large lake like areas.
This in turn creates different fisheries.

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Walleye and Sauger reproduce better in turbid water which is typical in slow flowing waters which are typically also high Mesotrophic to Eutrophic. Simply put the demersal fry, juveniles, and adults are very photosensitive (FWS/OBS-82/10.56).Because of the photosensitivity of these two species excellent Walleye and Sauger fishing can be had between McArthur and Seven Sisters Falls,certain areas around Minaki, as well as upstream sections from Kenora and the Norman Dam.
In Oligotrophic to low Mesotrophic waters Walleye and Sauger are most likely to be found in the deeper areas which provides protection from direct sunlight and stays cooler but limits your ability to practice safe catch and release especially during the months July and August.
Deeper waters in reference to safe catch and release without causing baro trauma for Physoclistous fish is considered in many publications (Ontario MNR, Minesota DNR) already fishing in depths below 20-25ft /6 to 7.5m or for sure below 30ft. Fishing in depths deeper than 45ft might lead to almost 100% mortality.
(There are two basic types of swim bladders in freshwater fish. Physostomous fish possess a pneumatic duct which connects the swim bladder to the alimentary tract. These fish, which include carp, esocids, trout, sturgeon and salmon, can expel gas and make buoyancy adjustments more quickly than Physoclistous fish. Physoclistous fish, which include bass, walleye, perch and most panfish, have closed swim bladders with no connecting duct between their swim bladder and alimentary tract. Deflation is accomplished by diffusion of gas via a network of capillaries. As a result, these species are unable to release air quickly (A Review of "Fizzing" - A Technique for Swim Bladder Deflation S. J. Kerr Fisheries Section Fish and Wildlife Branch Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources Peterborough, Ontario November, 2001)).

Pike, Musky and Smallmouth on the other hand do prefer the less turbid waters which, “as in our cases due to the fast flow velocity”, also stay generally cooler and offer larger sections of cool water during hot summer months. Sturgeon also reproduce better under these circumstances.

That’s why we are talking about the Pinawa Pike Classic!

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