The “Big Windy” Greenbacks
Lake Winnipeg is a large body of water nestled in Manitoba strait north of Roseau, Minnesota. This lake produces some of the most sought after walleyes in North America. “Greenbacks” as they call them, are walleyes with a beautiful green hue to them – almost looking transparent at times. These fish are spectacular to catch, however doing so can drive any great angler crazy trying to find them. The wind is unbearable at times and the terrain can be extremely dangerous.
We headed out bright and early on Friday morning to the large South Basin of Lake Winnipeg. The group of 4 I was with layered up with Minus33. March tends to be a difficult time of year to predict weather. One minute it can be warm and sunny, minutes later turning cold and bitter. Lake Winnipeg produces some very nasty weather as it seems the lake has a climate of its own.
The 10-mile drive by ATV was long and daunting, we had to cross multiple ice ridges along the way, finally arriving just a couple miles off the Red River. Minus33’s base layers and socks kept us warm and dry the whole ride. Once there we punched holes very quickly and began our attempt at finding the elusive thirty inch “greenback”. This early start made for a constant day of moving.
We went North looking for the fish, finally finding big schools of 16-25” fish midday. No big walleyes were caught on day one, but Minus33 base layers kept us warm to fish the 13 hour day.
The next morning went from great to worse very quickly. The early start was met with windy weather and broken equipment. After starting our day around 5, two broken augers and a sled later we were finally on the fish around 9:30. The day started out with a bang catching plenty of slot fish. However, the big spawning females were tough to find and when you did find them, they were even tougher to catch. With only a few hours left in our trip, we made a quick attempt at finding the big females and it paid off, pulling in a couple fat 27” walleyes. Not the monster we were hoping for, but fun to catch nonetheless. As light faded on our trip it’s always clear that Minus33 keeps you going through it all. The swings in temperature or wind, it truly is remarkable at how it adjusts to changing climate positions. It’s something I always have with me no matter what. If you can’t take my word for it, just try it!