Minnesota Musky Fishing

February 13, 2009 by  

Our Outdoors
Nick Simonson

Theres some solid musky fishing in Minnesota

There's some solid musky fishing in Minnesota

Up until last year, the muskellunge was just a footnote in my fishing journals. Between jigging for walleyes, pitching tubes for bass, and waxing a few panfish on the flyrod, there wasn’t much room for another angling pursuit. Sure, I had a muskie rod, but its use had fallen by the wayside since I first purchased in 2001. To say I wasn’t a devotee would have been correct.

That was until a sunny August morning produced a 40-inch fish, and the fight of my life, just moments after my bait slapped the surface of Big Detroit Lake. Then it was on. Cash flashed across the Sportsman’s Warehouse counter as Cowgirls, Suicks and Bull Dawg baits piled up in my bag. The tackle wall at the lake cabin filled with ten- and twelve- inch lures and the obsession became all too apparent to anyone who set eyes on the board filled with baits.

My co-dependent in the pursuit was my brother, Ben, who tallied two forty-inch class fish the year before. And last year, during his summer of sweetness – so dubbed because of his sweet work schedule which allowed him to work Tuesday through Thursday and fish a five-day weekend while on break from school – he caught multiple muskies and had hook-ups and follows from fish that would cause a veteran angler’s heart to skip a beat.

While Ben had fished away most of the summer in pursuit of muskies, I fished bass on the river back home, and eagerly awaited his phone calls each night which detailed his adventures. Such tales included a fish half the size of our 12-foot boat that had been hooked on a 1/16-ounce jig and four-pound test while he was fishing for bluegill. Another story detailed the hook-up of a monster fish in two feet of water on a spinnerbait, which, upon the leviathan’s leap completely out of the water, sent the oversized lure buzzing by my brother’s ear, adding attempted injury to insult.

As summer turned to fall, we became desperate for just one more fish. Angling into October, when we should have been stalking grouse and pheasant, we made forays along the shores of Big Detroit in between Florida Gator and Minnesota Vikings football games, coming in to warm our hands and calm our eyes. After a few weekends of follows and no hookups, I was finally able to land a 30-inch fish on an explosive attack against a Poe’s Jackpot topwater lure in the cold of a Sunday morning on the last fishable weekend in the fall. That muskie, swimming off with the creek current, rather than the barren trees and icy north wind, heralded the end of the season. Reluctantly, we cleaned our lures and unstrung our rods for the year.

We were worn both physically and mentally. Each Sunday, on our way back from the lake, we’d complain of sore shoulders and elbows and wondered aloud at the long-term effects that 3,000-cast weekends would have on our joints in the future. We often asked each other to confirm whether or not we actually saw a fish follow the lure up to the boat, just to make sure the event was not imagined after the adrenaline had worn off.

This winter, I hung the new pictures of our biggest fish on the wall at work to remind me of the approaching opener and the new hope that summer always brings for every angling pursuit. When April dropped 32 inches of snow on my doorstep, and my hope of a big steelhead faded away, I began cranking out spinners for this season, readying our arsenal for the mad devotion we now show to Esox masquinongy..

The day is fast approaching; our season started the other weekend on Lake Vermillion in northeastern Minnesota. With hooks sharpened, reels tuned and lake maps in hand we once again ready ourselves for sore shoulders, boatside scares and smiles as toothy as those of the elusive 50-inch muskies we continue to chase…in our outdoors.


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