Outdoor Notebook: It’s musky time
By Roger Sabota
Special to the Star Journal.
As the waters in our lakes and rivers begin to cool down, fish begin to change their patterns. The cooling water temperatures combined with dying weeds alter the day-to-day action of all wildlife in our waterways.
Perhaps the most attractive aspect at this time of the year for those of us who enjoy musky fishing is the reduced amount of boat traffic. Following Labor Day weekend many of the boats and water toys are pulled out of the water and stored for another season.
This year those anglers who like to “drag a sucker” while they are casting with artificial lures may do so legally. On July first the trolling law across northern Wisconsin was changed and motor trolling is now legal.
A few weeks ago the “Osseo Jinx”, Tom Twesme, his good friend, Don Wolfe, and this writer headed north. We were towing a boat that was loaded with musky fishing gear and were heading for Lake of the Woods in Canada where, for the past five years, we have been making this August musky fishing trip. For the “Jinx” and this writer we were looking for the chance to do battle with a musky that would measure in the mid-fifty inch range when laid on our tape measure. Don was searching for a musky that would exceed his longest of 40 inches. He has worked hard trying to land a trophy that would exceed that 40-inch mark.
Don certainly understands how difficult and frustrating the search for a trophy musky can be. He has tangled with several large muskies over the years. Each has shed his hooks before it lay in the net.
We had been told that the lure of choice was a double cowgirl. The cowgirl has two number 10 blades that cause a great deal of resistance while being retrieved.
Tom seemed to have the magic cowgirl and he put two nice sized muskies in the net the first afternoon of fishing. To begin our first full day of musky fishing the “hot” lure was attached to Don’s leader with the hope that he could land a big fish.
A unique aspect of musky fishing on the huge Lake of the Woods is that muskies often follow a lure to the boat and will hit the lure at boat side as the angler drags the lure through a figure-eight maneuver at boat side. It is difficult to maintain concentration and do a figure-eight when no musky is seen following the lure in.
Not long after Don attached the “hot” lure we heard splashing in the front of the boat as Don set the hook. Tom and I brought our lures into the boat as Don fought a lively musky at boat side.
After removing the hook we took several pictures of the musky and quickly released it to fight another day. The musky stretched the tape to the mid-forty inch range and Don had a new personal large musky catch.
When we put the boat on the trailer Don gave us the results of the information he had kept track of; we had seen 33 muskies and 6 of them saw the inside of our net. One of the muskies was shorter than 40 inches and the rest were in the mid-40 inch range.
We did not break that 50-inch musky target for the “Jinx” and I, however, we will return to Lake of the Woods next August to try again.
Meanwhile closer to home 1,266 anglers participated in the 30th Annual National Championship Musky Open last weekend headquartered in Eagle River. Anglers participating in the tournament are able to fish on most musky lakes in northern Wisconsin. A total of 195 muskies were caught and released. The largest musky registered was 49 inches long from Kentuck Lake. The winner was Andrew Martin from Williams Bay, Wisconsin, who caught and released five muskies totaling 200 inches.
The World Musky Hunt is being held this weekend in Lake Tomahawk. More about that in a future column.
Longtime Northwoods outdoors enthusiast Roger Sabota writes a bi-monthly column for the Star Journal.