Today I had the pleasure of fishing on Lake Minnewanka with my brother and father-in-law. Here are some things I learned.
You need a special fishing license to fish in a National Park (make sure you are allowed to fish in the lake, fishing is allowed in Lake Minnewanka). We purchased a one day license for just over $10/person.
We could buy the fishing license in the Town of Banff or at the boat launch area in Minnewanka. Don’t bother getting on the Lake extremely early if you don’t have a license as they don’t start selling licences until 8:00 AM at the marina on the lake. A bit later in our case as the guy who was running the store showed up at about 8:10 AM.
You aren’t allowed any lead lures, or barbs. There are additional regulations so make sure you check them out and abide by them before heading out on the lake.
You are almost guaranteed to meet up with a game warden if you are out on the lake for long. The warden checked out our licenses, and all of our tackle. Out of a lot of lures he zoned in almost immediately on two lures that we had no idea contained lead. He wrote us up a warning (we thought we were all ready for an inspection so it was good that we only got a warning). I would suggest running your tackle past a game warden on land if you can find one before heading out on a lake if you aren’t sure if any of your lures contain lead.
There are big trout in Lake Minnewanka. The fish finder showed lots of fish. At points it looked like we’d be able to step out the back of the boat and walk on them the screen was so full of fish. You will need a down rigger to have the best chance of hooking in to a really big fish. My father-in-law caught a 5 to 6 lb lake trout near the very end of our 8 hours of fishing. We threw back another small laker and at least one other fair size one got away. Good scenery and overall a great day.
I’m not sure that I would go on the Lake Minnewanka boat tour. I can’t say for sure as I haven’t taken the tour yet. However, as an observer it looked like it powered down the full length of the lake and paused for a bit and powered back. They likely have people on board with binnoculars looking for wildlife but as an observer it didn’t look like something I would like but I’ll likely try it some day to report back. If you’ve been on the tour (and don’t work for Brewsters) let us know what you thought of the tour. Much of tour is likely around the stories they tell which may be great but it didn’t look like a tour I would take if I was hoping to see a lot of wildlife.
We did see some mountain sheep licking salt off rocks and some loons but that was it in regards to wildlife after 8+ hours of trolling most of the lake.