June day, my good friend Rob Meusec and I set out for a Musky adventure on
the Chippewa Flowage. I had been fishing the Chip for about a week waiting
for Rob to join me and I felt that I had some good spots with high
potential. So, when Rob arrived, I had a ‘dance card’ ready to go.
Plans are all well and
good, but the weather may have you wondering what and where to fish when it
throws you a curve, as it so often does.
We had high skies and
pleasant conditions in which to fish and the first day had us executing the
dance card but without any fish in the boat…we did have a couple of blow ups
and a couple of follows. What action we did have was an indicator that the
fish were moving around and somewhat active.
The next day we awoke to
the “blessing” of gusty winds out of the South in the 20 – 25 MPH range. We
went to breakfast and discussed how we would approach the day. I told Rob
that I had a spot that had been a fish producer for me in heavy wind with
As we headed out on the
water and got a taste for the wind on the water, I told Rob that this was a
bucktail kind of day…After a 15 minute boat ride, we were facing an open
expanse of water with character.
What the heck is that?
open water with character is that water that combines at least three ‘high
percentage’ elements. High percentage elements might be sub-surface
structure, adjacent deep water, irregular bottom depth and a main river
channel. Of course, you have to combine that ‘character water’ with a likely
weather pattern and water conditions as well as with a healthy fishery.
Remember, you can fish prime locations all day long but if the fishery is
only supporting 1 fish per 9 acres of water, your chances are far less than
if the fishery is supporting 1 fish per six – nine tenths (.6 - .9 ) of an
acre of water.
Here again, the key is
knowing the water you are fishing. There is no substitute for some research,
a good lake map, some knowledgeable advice and, of course, some luck.
The illustration shown
here should provide some perspective on what to look for as you pound over a
lake map in preparation for your Musky adventure. Notice that everything
starts with the main river channel. Such channels in flowages or natural
lakes are a kin to highways upon which all fish travel, including Musky. Add
to that highway, the presence of islands and shorelines, varying contours
and a sub-surface stump field and you have a truly high percentage spot
(lots of character).
I set up the boat to take
the best advantage of the wind, explaining to Rob that I was going to face
the bow into the wind and troll against the wind to allow for a slow troll
of our target area.
About the second cast, and
after telling Rob that “if the lure stops, set the hook”, my bucktail
stopped and I set the hook. The fish pulled back and took a deep run. The
fight was on and Rob was working hard to get his lure in and get the net at
the ready. Another run or two and the Musky was finally at the surface. I
could see that the Owner hooks had done their job and the rest was up to me.
Anyone who has had a Musky on the line knows how hard it is to keep
you wits about you.