By: Kristen Connolly
The other day I had the opportunity to go out with the Wausau Musky League on Lake Wausau. It was an event sponsored by Big Brothers Big Sisters where Bigs and Lils were matched up with a fellow in the League and taken out for out try at finding the big one! Although my group did catch a fish it was a Northern Pike. At 24 inches it was called a "baby" but to me it was the biggest fish I had ever caught!
I had received a question about Musky fishing and when the best time to catch the fish was. Since I just happen to be out with a few experts I was able to pick their brains and also had the opportunity to head over to the Fisheries department at the DNR last week and spoke with Garrett a technician there.
Some of my findings really intrigued me. I have to say the one thing I was most surprised about was that Musky fishing is a "sport". People do not catch the fish to take and eat but rather to measure, weigh then take pictures of. I constantly see advertisements for Musky tournaments and never realized that it is really about the thrill of the strike( when it bites the line) rather than keeping the fish. I was informed that most participants take their picture in and get a replica made. Over the past 10 years the sport has really taken off especially in our area. One of the reasons is Musky fish are natural to Northern Wisconsin unlike many places where it is artificially stocked. There are tribal stories to date how far back the fish has been around in our area.
Musky can grow in length up to 60" with a 45" to 50" being a trophy fish and one to mount on the wall. They are cold blooded animals so their metabolism relates to the weather. In the summer they will obviously consume more food when temps are warmer.
So when is the best time to catch the fish? There is no exact science to the best time but I received a few tips from the experts. The best seasons are spring and fall., fall especially. If you check out the two videos I have posted one explains why fall weather is ideal for Musky fishing and the second talks about another event that happens in fall that assists in concentrating the fish to one area, therefore being easier to presume where they are located. There are also people who believe that fish times are related to moon phases. They think that when it is a full or new moon and when the moon is at its highest point will be the best time to fish. Fish are also known to be very active when there is a big shift in the weather for example a front coming through. This is probably because of the shift in winds and in pressure which makes the fish livelier.
To try and find out more information about the trends of Musky they are also tagging the fish now which began in the spring of 2008. I have attached a picture of the tag and also a picture of a one of the guys in the League that caught a fish the night we were out. As more of the fish that are tagged are caught they can gather information on how the fish move. One thing they have learned is that fish move through dams.
Here are a few organizations if you want to find out more:
Bills Musky League
12 Apostles Musky Club
Wausau Musky League
Till next time...