Musky America Magazine October 2023 Edition

Allen added. The practice of set-lining is "a big problem”, especially on the Chippewa Flowage. We have to stop it, and stop anglers from using swallow-type hooks," he said. "This is hurting our fishing, and it is having a negative impact on Sawyer County businesses, especially in the fall when tourist dollars are needed the most," Allen said. Betty Greene, co-owner of D & B Bait and Tackle on the Chippewa Flowage, agrees that "this practice has hurt everyone in this business, and it's got to stop. Something has to be done. Fall business is going to heck. I sure wish some tourist would have had that (52-inch fish) on his line and had the thrill of his life," she said. A long-time musky' fisherman and former trapper on the Flowage, Rick Marks, said that "in 13 years of trapping every day during the fall, I found numerous muskies floating in the stumpy back bays, reeds and weed edges. Invariably, all of them had a sucker harness wire sticking out of their mouth. I really feel that one of the biggest reasons we're not seeing the 50-inch-plus fish with consistency despite catching and releasing all these 46-, 47- , and 49-inch fish is because we’re killing a great many of them using sucker rigs," Marks said. "Many times, when set lines are used, by the time the fish is done fighting and is landed, it has done serious damage to its intestinal area," Marks added. If it is released, "it's no different than a deer that has been gut-shot. It will run away and die." Marks added that he is "not against sucker fishing if you’re going to keep the fish or use a quick-strike rig to hook it in the jaw and then release it.. But I'm against sucker fishing (with a gut-hook rig). I've seen too many of them that have been gut-hooked that have died."