Known as the Fish of 10,000 casts. Those who fish the "ELUSIVE ESOX" are celebrated as Musky Hunters, but we release our fish. Catching a trophy musky is a great and rewarding experience. The trill of catching a musky is like no other angling experience. However; with a little knowledge and experience you can increase your chances!
Remember: "If it was easy everyone would be doing it"
The Northwoods Musky season starts at the end of May, regulations are the Saturday before Memorial Day. Extreme caution in fishing musky at this time is highly encouraged as fish at this time could still be in the spawning stage or tail end. Handle your muskies in a way that reduces stress. Try to land your fish as quickly as possible, a long fought battle to play a fish out can actually be harmful. Keep your fish in the net while you unhook your fish; leave him there while your partner stows gear so you can quickly take photos & measurements. When he is unhooked work your fish in the net to revitalize them, always keep him fresh and water moving through his gills. Remove your fish only for a brief moment to take a few photos and a measurement... return them to the water quickly. Removing a fish from the water is like asking you to hold your breath... THESE FISH BREATH IN THE WATER!!! They are a fragile fish despite their fierce look. Muskies should ALWAYS be handled in this manner but Spring is a critical time! (Photo at left is a Sping Musky -- Quick Photo & Released)
Muskies at this time of year are coming off of the long winter and have lost much of their body weight and tend to have a leaner look to them. From the start of the musky season to the end of the season which is usually then end of November, muskies can be caught at all times. Their patterns tend to be the shallow weed in the spring and early summer; when the water warms they will drop deep to the thermalclines where the oxygen is better and temperatures cooler; bait fish will also retreat to these areas. Mid-day fishing will be with deep water baits while night and early mornings can produce fish in the shallow water with spinners & topwater lures. (Photo to right is a mid-summer fish caught in the early evening hours on a topwater lure)
September is a questionable month, musky fishing can be good or bad, pending the state of when "WATER TURNOVER" occurs. This is a time when the water dirties up, as the layers of cooling waters drop to the bottom and an inversion of water occurs. The time before is good, the time durning is tough and you need to fish smaller baits, slower, and tight to cover. Although muskies can be caught all season long timing and location is everything... However; if I were to have only a short time for fishing this great fish it would be the months of October & November. At this time these fish are putting on the "feedbag". They have increased girth at this time for the winter storage of fat. (the fish in the photo at the left is a fish caught in the fist week of November, it is 47 inches in length but the girth measured 23 inches making this a GREAT TROPHY FISH.This fish also released)
Fishing the months of October & November are not for the faint-of-heart; weather conditions can be tough and cold... if you dress accordingly the rewards are well worth the effort. Snowmobile suits or good Gortex type winterwear can be necessary at this time; so be prepared. The avid musky angler will find at time the more nasty the weather the better the fishing. (This fish at the right was caught on a windy day with air temperatures at 34 degrees, snow in the air, and water temps at 38 degrees) "FUN HEY!!! It doesn't get any better than this!"
Here is what the end of the season may look like when we go to launch the boat; you might say "That's Nuts" but I am telling you... you can have a blast at this time, "Just take extra caution!"
Let's Talk CPR & Fish ID
Musky Fishing has immensly grown in popularity over the last decade, more anglers are fishing musky now then ever before. Although the current population of musky is stable, the number of musky are few just based on the nature of the fish. Extreme care in handling this fish is important. C-P-R is highly encouraged (Catch * Photograph * Release). If you catch your first legal musky; or if it is a possible life-time trophy I recommend a REPLICA MOUNT. Take a good photo or two of the fish, get a true measurement of the length & girth and release the fish. Take your photo and measurements to a noted taxidermist. You can have a quailty mount made that will last a life-time, (skin mounts are know to need attention through the years). You will want someone to do your replica that does muskies all the time and has the experience in musky replica work, I strongly suggest "Rick Lax"; Rick is a member of Muskies Inc. and has moved in a great direction to do a replica at the same price he would do a skin mount. Replicas generally are 2 to 3 times higher. Ricks Studio is located just north of Conover which is just north of Eagle River, WI. "Let 'Em Go, Let 'Em Grow"
Muskies are a member of the "Pike Family" and can often be confussed to be a Northern Pike by the untrained eye. It is important to know the difference. See the chart below and learn the proper Fish Identification between Northern Pike -- Muskies; and the Musky Hybird known as the Tiger Musky. (See Chart Below)
Now here is a little slideshow from the musky season of 2009. These fish were caught by Guests, Friends, and myself.Note: the size & the Dates when these fish are caught. You may have to bundle up but there is no doubt that October & November are the best months for MUSKIES!!
For More Information on Fishing Guides & Area Information Contact Fred E. Brogle, at the following: