West Watjask Lake

West Watjask Lake is 96.2 hectares with a maximum depth of 13.4 meters and a mean depth of 3.4 meters. Targetable fish species present are yellow perch and a small population of muskellunge. Research funded by the Fish and Wildlife Enhancement Fund (FWEF) was conducted by SVSFE in 2015-2016, which found West Watjask Lake to be a suitable candidate for muskie introductions. Muskie were introduced in 2017 with a small planting of 35 followed by a planting of 450 fish in 2019. Anglers can read about this undertaking in the 2019 West Watjask Lake Musky Introduction Final Report. It is important to note, this fishery is not an established muskie fishery at this time. Muskellunge limit is zero and this species is far more sensitive to angling pressure than northern pike. The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (OMNR) provides a great illustration on the difference between northern pike and muskellunge. The species variation present in West Watjask Lake are the Leech Lake Spotted Muskie. Northern pike are not present in the system, but it is beneficial to know the difference. Key identification characteristics to look at include coloration and markings, pores on the underside of lower jaw, shape of the tail fin and scales on the face. SVSFE has proposed regulation changes to the Government of Manitoba in order to protect the population from over-exploitation. These proposed changes include;
1) Season closure between November 30th until the third Saturday in June
2) Gear restriction of artificial lures only
3) Tackle restriction limiting lures to two hooks only
Please angle respectfully to ensure sustainability of this unique fishery for future generations. Practicing safe fish handling techniques is essential to reduce post release mortality. SVSFE is asking anglers to assist in the management by reporting angling experiences. Please provide hours fished, muskie seen/caught, measurements, health and photos if possible. Submit this info through the online Angler Survey – Daily Submission or via email swanvalleysportfish@gmail.com. **Due to the nature of difficulty regarding access on backcountry lakes, launch access areas are restricted to small watercraft only. SVSFE is currently working with partners to develop a safe and more accessible launch for small watercraft.

Located 72.2 km from Swan River, MB off of Highway 83 in the Duck Mountain Provincial Forest. The distance from trailhead to West Watjask Lake is 8.9km. A portion of the access road is Designated Route S and is often accessible by four-wheel drive vehicles. Lake access is either by ATV in the summer or snowmobile in the winter. This road is not regularly maintained and often used for logging operations. Be sure to contact the nearest government office for updated information before using this road.