Consider this quick post a tease for future articles about a May 24-27, 2017, trip to Manitoba that still seems too good to be true.

We’ve covered Aikens Lake Wilderness Lodge in previous OHUB articles, including “Fantasy Island for Fishermen” and “Video: Bizarre But True Fishing Story,” and finally the lure was too strong for me to ignore and I made plans to visit myself. All through my life, my brother Steve, who is a year older than me, has been one of my favorite fishing and hunting companions, so it only seemed right that we’d check out Aikens together.

The author, left, and his brother taking a break from casting at Aikens Lake.

Like I said at the beginning of this post, I’ll save all the important details for the future – especially an innovative dead bait technique for monster pike that was tremendously effective – but I just wanted you to know that big fish lurk in the many waters of Manitoba, and I can’t think of a better place to begin your adventure than at Aikens.

During our 3 days of fishing, Steve and I landed four northern pike that met the 41-inch minimum requirement for Manitoba’s Master Angler Awards Program, and the two pike I landed on May 26 measured an incredible 45 and 47 inches! According to our guide Austin, who is shown below with one of Steve’s twin 41-inch pike, my 47-incher is the longest pike to come from Aikens in 5 years!

Steve Maas and guide, Austin, with one of Steve’s twin 41-inch pike.

Through the decades, I’ve caught a handful of pike measuring 40-41 inches, and my biggest had been a skinny 44-incher from almost 40 years ago, but these two Aikens Lake fish were in a class by themselves. And as these photos show, while the 47-incher wasn’t skinny, the thickness of the 45-inch pike makes me wonder which fish weighed more. My best guess is they both tipped the scale at 25 pounds.

The author caught these two monster pike on the same day at Aikens Lake Wilderness Lodge. He landed the 47-incher on the left just before noon, then the heavy 45-incher a few hours later.
The author carefully releasing his 45-inch pike.

Note: To ensure a top-notch fishery into the future, the only fish kept at Aikens are for shore lunch (walleyes typically), and all other walleyes, northern pike and lake trout are released immediately. As I’ll explain in a future article, great care is taken to minimize stress on a big female pike after she is landed, which includes holding her in the proper way and making sure she swims away under her own power. It’s also important to note that Manitoba prohibits barbed hooks, which makes catch-and-release much easier on the fish, as well as the angler.

If you still haven’t decided where to take your annual fishing vacation, I can highly recommend Aikens Lake Wilderness Lodge. And if for some reason Aikens doesn’t fit into your travel plans, Manitoba has many other great destinations, too. In fact, just this morning I booked a trip for my dad, who will turn 80 this December, and my two sons, ages 12 and 14, for a channel catfishing adventure on the Red River near Winnipeg.

After all, I have a Manitoba fishing license for 2017, so I might as well use it; I can’t wait to return!

View of Aikens Lake Wilderness Lodge from the air.

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