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. West Watjask Lake regulations are:
      • Closed to all fishing from November 15 to and including June 15
      • May only use artificial lures and flies and may only use one hook per lure
      • Possession limit is zero
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. Fisheries Managers are asking West Watjask Lake muskie anglers to participate in an exciting new research project. To assist in determining individual growth and survival of muskies without stressing them, we are testing the ability of an image recognition program to identify individual captured muskies. Photo submissions, by angling citizen-scientists, will be entered into a recognition program database that will help us to predict population size, health and growth.
The following information from you would help us to better understand this population:

  • Date of catch
  • Time of catch
  • Length of fish (cm)
  • Location of catch (optional)
  • General health/condition of fish
  • Before a quick and safe catch/release, please take a high resolution photo of:
    • Entire fish on its left side (see below)
    • Skin pattern on tail end of fish (zoomed)
    • Photo quality suggestions: High resolution and good focus, No glare from sun, Ensure tail end is visible, Good angle showing entire left side of fish, No belly or back pictures

Please email photos and submissions to ian.kitch@gov.mb.ca

Please call 204-734-8350 if you have any questions.


**Due to the nature of difficulty regarding access on backcountry lakes, launch access areas are restricted to small watercraft only. SVSFE is working with partners to make minor improvements to the boat launch and development is designed to facilitate small boats.


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 ~8.5 km. A portion of the access road is Designated Route S and is often accessible by four-wheel drive vehicles as it can be muddy during wet periods. Lake access is either by truck/ATV in the summer or snowmobile in the winter. This road is not regularly maintained and a well established logging road. Use caution when travelling and be sure to contact the nearest government office for updated information before using this road.