Ice Fishing on Lake Winnipeg This Winter? Here’s What You’ll Need

By David Janeson

Ice fishing is a big business. According to a report from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. anglers spent nearly $180 million on ice fishing equipment in 2016, supporting an industry that’s growing rapidly despite the steadily warming climate.

It’s nice that folks south of the border are finally discovering the joys of ice fishing. Up on Lake Winnipeg, we’ve been keen on winter angling for decades.


“Each and every year, we’re proud to welcome first-time ice anglers to our neck of the woods and help outfit them for successful outings (fingers crossed).” — David Janeson


Are you one of those first-timers? You’ve come to the right place. Here’s what you’ll need to have a good time and stay safe out on the ice.

Ice Rod and Reel

You wouldn’t go warm-water fishing without a rod and reel, would you? Then don’t leave home without your ice fishing rod and reel (or a sturdy rental).

A word of caution for first-timers: ice rods and reels aren’t quite the same as warm-water rods and reels, though you can use the latter in a pinch. For best results, look for sensitive rods capable of feeling lighter bites — you want something that, ideally, can handle delicate perch and aggressive pikes alike.

All-Purpose Utility Buckets

True to its name, your utility bucket will pull at least double duty on your ice fishing outing: first, as a seat or table while you wait, and later (hopefully) a place to store your live or iced catch. When in doubt, bring an extra bucket.

Ice Auger

You’ve got your rod, reel, and buckets. Now, you need to get through the ice. For that, you’ll need an ice auger.

Automatic ice augers are easier and safer to use than manual ice augers, but they do cost a pretty penny. Plus, manual augering is a nice workout for your core and upper body. Just be sure to watch an instruction video first or get someone who’s done this a few times to help you out.


Ice fishing is a waiting game. Tip-ups (or “tip ups”) ensure you don’t have to keep your eyes glued to the line at all times. If you’ve set out multiple lines, as is likely, this is all but impossible anyway.

Baits and Lures

Just as in the warm-water game, you’ll need a selection of baits and lures based on what you’re hoping to catch. Talk to a local expert for guidance on what types of baits and lures work best for what types of fish.

Ice Cleats and Picks

Depending on ice conditions and your own personal preference, you may want to lace up ice cleats before you head out on the ice. They’re all but essential for moving around on clear, smooth ice.

An ice pick or safety claw, meanwhile, is something you’ll hope never to need — a means for self-rescue if you fall through unstable ice. You can make ice claws in a pinch if need be.

See You Out on the Ice

This isn’t an exhaustive list of everything you could possibly need for a successful ice fishing outing. But, for first-timers, it’s a good start. If you’re up our way next season, we’d love to show you our favorite ice fishing spots.

Hope to see you out on the ice!




David Janeson owns Gull Harbour Marina, a seasonal lakeside resort on beautiful Hecla Island, Manitoba.

Vacations Aren’t Just for Summer: 5 Off-Season Getaways to Try in 2019

By David Janeson

If your perfect vacation means walking a sandy beach in warm sunshine, you’re right — it’s a perfect vacation. But, have you thought of taking a winter vacation? Not a winter vacation where you travel to the tropics, but a vacation where you embrace the cold weather and enjoy the fun cold weather and snow have to offer?

Offseason vacations have lots of advantages over summer. Travel and accommodations typically cost less and destinations aren’t crowded.

Winter vacations give you a chance to enjoy the great outdoors in a different way, too. If you’re ready for a whole new experience, take a look at what a winter vacation has in store.

Cross-Country Skiing and Snowshoeing

If you love to hike trails in the summer, you’ll discover a whole new world on many of those same trails in the winter. Cross-country skiing is the perfect way to experience nature’s winter beauty.

Another winter hiking option is snowshoeing down the trails.


“Most people learn to walk with snowshoes quickly, making it ideal for those who want to get out and go without a steep learning curve.” — David Janeson


Gull Harbour and many other resorts offer groomed trails and winter accommodations for those who want to enjoy nature’s winter beauty and a warm fire and comfy bed at the end of the day.

Ice Fishing

If you love to fish in summer, wait until you try it in the winter. Be warned, however — ice fishing is addictive. You’ll want to spend all your free time out on the ice once you’ve tried it.

Ice fishing equipment and protective gear have come a long way, and that’s part of the reason ice fishing is such a great winter activity. Another reason is the fish. Perch, bluegill and walleyes are just a few of the fish you could catch.

Ice Skating

Ice skating is the perfect winter family activity. It gets the kids out of the house and is a wonderful way to exercise and enjoy physical activity in the winter. Again, many summer resorts, including Gull Harbour, provide family accommodations and ice skating opportunities.


Many winter trails are specifically groomed for snowmobiling. Snowmobiling is the perfect group activity. Gather your friends, pack a lunch and see the woods as you’ve never seen them before.

Visit a National Park

Most national parks offer wintertime activities and programs for the whole family to enjoy. Enjoy cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and fat bike riding over winter trails. Many parks feature winter programs with guided tours. Family activities, such as winter carnivals and stargazing events are scheduled throughout the winter season.

Winter vacations give you a golden opportunity to experience the beauty of nature and its wonders in an entirely new way. You’ll discover new ways to recharge and renew.

And, after a winter getaway or two, you may find that your idea of a perfect vacation changed from sand to snow.


David Janeson owns Gull Harbour Marina, a seasonal lakeside resort on beautiful Hecla Island, Manitoba.

Have a Great Family Vacation Even If You’re on a Tight Budget

By David Janeson

If you’re on a tight budget, you might think taking a family vacation is out of the question. But, it doesn’t have to be. In fact, if you plan it right, you and your family can look forward to a memorable vacation that doesn’t cost a fortune.

Start Saving Now

Open a savings account dedicated to your family vacation. Your contributions don’t have to be large. You’ll be amazed at how quickly putting away a tiny bit of money each week adds up.

Look Close to Home

Disneyland may be out of your budget range. But, there are countless treasures near you. For example, Gull Harbour, with affordable accommodations and a load of recreational activities, is just two hours from Winnipeg.

Ask your friends and co-workers if they know of any little-known places near where you live. Conduct internet searches to find vacation possibilities you’ve never heard of.

Many family-owned vacation resorts and facilities offer incredible deals to families. They also tend to be less crowded and go beyond the norm when it comes to serving their guests.

Go OffSeason or During the Week

The time you choose to go makes a huge difference in the money you’ll spend. Prime vacation times are summer and holidays. That makes sense because that’s when everyone has time off from school and work.

If at all possible, plan your vacation for offseason or weekday stays instead of those prime travel times. Flexibility is key.

Try Camping

Purchasing camping equipment will cost you, that’s true. But, you can often find budget family camping packages on special or used tents and camp stoves sold in online marketplaces. Once you have the equipment, your adventure options are wide-open.


“Quick tip: If you purchase a used tent, assemble it in your backyard to test for leaks and practice setting it up before you take it on your trip.” — David Janeson


Many parks have campgrounds with affordable rates. Depending on the park, your adventure could include biking, fishing, swimming and hiking on any numbers of scenic trails.

Choose a Different Type of Vacation

Driving to a place and hanging out isn’t the only kind of family vacation there is. Some of the alternatives are not only affordable but provide a unique experience for the entire family.

Factory tours may not sound like the most fun type of vacation experience, but how does a chocolate factory tour sound? That’s something you can sink your teeth into. Many factories offer tours, and some let you sample the goods as well.

Learning vacations, such as learning to make crafts, riding a horse or digging for fossils, are increasingly popular. Learning vacations are budget-friendly and give you and the kids hands-on experiences you won’t forget.

Another type of vacation possibility is the volunteer vacation. A volunteer vacation is not only a great way to spend time with your family, but it also teaches children the joy that comes from helping others.

Getting away from the stresses of everyday life is important even if you can’t afford to take a two-week trip to Disneyland. Some of the best places to recharge, regroup and have fun with your family are right outside your back door.


David Janeson owns Gull Harbour Marina, a seasonal lakeside resort on beautiful Hecla Island, Manitoba.