Video: Sick Wife Catches Trophy Walleye in Minus 47 Degrees

Avoiding dangerously low windchills, a husband and wife seek shelter in a SnoBear ice machine to target Lake Winnipeg’s famed trophy walleyes.

Video: Sick Wife Catches Trophy Walleye in Minus 47 Degrees

Calling in sick is code for “There’s a hot bite and I need to go fishing,” but when you’re actually sick on the day of a highly anticipated fishing trip, it’s the worst. Major kudos to Sam Siemens — wife of Manitoba blogger Jay Siemens — for willing herself to continue with a multi-day ice fishing adventure to Lake Winnipeg in spite of an illness hitting her on the day of departure.

Nothing was going to get in the way of her pursuit of a trophy walleye, not even windchill temperatures dropping to minus 47 degrees F. That backdrop, several interesting how-to tips, and some great aerial drone footage combine to make this video well worth the watch — and the best part is the fishing gods rewarded Emily for her determination with a monster 28.75-inch Lake Winnipeg walleye.

Lake Winnipeg isn’t exactly day-trip close for US anglers, but what it is, as Siemens says, is one of the meccas for trophy walleyes. Now thru ice out will offer the best odds for anglers targeting a 30-inch giant on the famous fishery, so with that goal in mind, several interesting takeaways jump out in this video. The first is shared by Liam Pyzer, grandson of Hall of Famer and ice fishing legend Gord Pyzer. Liam reveals details about the new rainbow trout pattern Kamooki SmartFish he helped his grandpa design.

Monster walleyes in Lake Winnipeg like big lures such as the 3-inch Kamooki SmartFish. This one is in the new rainbow trout pattern.
Monster walleyes in Lake Winnipeg like big lures such as the 3-inch Kamooki SmartFish. This one is in the new rainbow trout pattern.

Like most baits, it’s less about the specific pattern and more about the profile and movement in the water initially. The SmartFish is designed to be rip-jigged, with a smooth, laterally compressed body that sits head-down, tail up at rest thanks to its precision-engineered zinc keel. Give it a rip and a tight, vibrating side-to-side tail wag gets attention, while a slow flutter when you drop the rod tip down often triggers walleyes to instinctively inhale the bait. Click here to watch Gord Pyzer showing a killer demo on how to use the bait.

The other big point in the video, fitting with the trend of state-of-the-art portable ice fishing shelters, is seeing first-hand what it’s like to use a SnoBear. Lucky for Jay, considering his wife was sick and windchills were dangerously low, he had lined up a SnoBear machine (think truck, tank, ice fishing shelter all in one, hooked up hardcore with electronics and fishing gear). Innovations such as the SnoBear are part of the reason why Grand View Outdoors Senior Editor Dave Maas wrote a few months back that no outdoor activity has changed more dramatically in the past 3 decades than ice fishing.

Need shelter from a winter storm? A SnoBear not only takes you safely from spot to spot, but you can fish inside the vehicle’s cab.
Need shelter from a winter storm? A SnoBear not only takes you safely from spot to spot, but you can fish inside the vehicle’s cab.

Before you watch the video, think back to your childhood days of sitting on a bucket ice fishing on a windy afternoon waiting for your dad to declare it time to go home for the day … then try not to tell your own kids that when you went ice fishing back in the day, you had to walk uphill both ways to get to the spot. If for no reason other than comparison sake, you should think back to those days then watch this video and see all the bells and whistles of a SnoBear. The aerial shots of the SnoBear cruising Lake Winnipeg are neat, but the coolest visual is seeing the SnoBear lower down and seal against the ice after holes are drilled.

Rental company Icebound Excursions will meet you at the access with a SnoBear for the day, and from there you can do it yourself or have a staff member drive and guide you. There are three Humminbird Helix fishfinders in the SnoBear, including one up at the dash for whoever’s driving. You can choose to bring your own gear and bait, or have it provided in your SnoBear — and pulled pork or beef tacos are on the menu for your included lunch! 

Like anything, there are tradeoffs — it’s $700 CDN a day to rent a SnoBear and is obviously not your typical, old-school fishing experience — but it’s definitely something to see and has unique advantages.

In this case, Jay and Sam were fishing in the SnoBear for less than 2 hours when Lake Winnipeg gold struck, and Sam landed her trophy 28.75-inch walleye. In sickness or in health, that’s a heck of fish.

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