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Clear H2O

Dr. Jason Halfen

Hi-Tech Solutions to the Summer Musky Puzzle

Musky activity peaks in late summer, as warm water temperatures drive these apex predators to feed opportunistically on abundant natural forage, and to aggressively chase anglers’ baits. Full-time musky devotees frequently drop their paychecks on custom topwaters and giant multi-blade bucktails, study the moon and sun charts, and target trophy waters to get their summer musky fix. Then, there are the rest of us: anglers with families and jobs, who split limited fishing time among several different target species swimming in convenient locations. For us, the musky bug has yet to take complete hold. Nevertheless, we still enjoy the chase, and revel in its success as we lift muskies from the big Frabill net, snap a quick photo and send Esox back to the depths. How can we enjoy consistent summer musky success, without devoting our entire existence to catching them? For me, modern technology levels the playing field, and puts summer muskies in the boat when I’m not chasing river smallmouth, cleaning the cabin gutters or pulling the kids on the tube. Here are four “tech tips” to help you hoist more warm weather muskies this season.

By Ted Pilgrim
Traditions Media

Patience, Petite Tackle and Opening Day Muskies

Eight months is a long time to wait between casts. When the season finally opens in May or June in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ontario, casting withdrawal reaches maximum angst. It’s just the sort of abstinence that can elicit a nasty case of lure charades, that nervous habit that makes certain anglers constantly change baits.

A dude I used to fish with had it bad, manically switching lures in hopes of discovering the one. You know the type. When follows are sparse, lure-changer rotates through whole piles of baits, a new one clipped to the leader every ten casts or so. And most of these anglers carry a boatload.

Now, as a bit of a lure collector myself, I’ve been guilty of the occasional wild experiment, believe me. But most openers, good, bad or otherwise, I mostly limit myself to a couple favorite baits, throwing them uninterrupted for 12-hours. Not that I don’t occasionally get tempted by what ifs.

For my friend, it wasn’t so easy. One winter, he’d accumulated a load of new baits—more ballast for his already over-crowded lure rotation. Things got dicey that particular opening day, as I recall counting 11 different lures clipped to his leader in the space of a single hour’s fishing. Late that afternoon, it looked like a jack-in-the box of baits had exploded all over his casting deck.

(Provided by IDNR)

Michigan's decision to cancel its muskie-stocking program this year due to a virus outbreak in adult fish they capture for muskie eggs has prompted Indiana DNR officials to say a similar situation could develop in the Hoosier state.

Viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus (VHSv), which is responsible for a number of dead fish in Lake St. Clair and the Detroit River, could potentially show up in Lake Webster, Indiana's only source for muskie eggs.

"If VHSv does show up in Lake Webster, we wouldn't want to bring infected eggs into our hatchery system where they could contaminate the water and spread to other fish," said Dave Meuninck, manager at the Bodine State Fish Hatchery and DNR fish disease coordinator.

To reduce the risk, Meuninck processes dozens of fish collected each spring from Lake Webster for testing during Indiana's muskie egg-taking operation.

The fish, including bluegills, bass, and other species, are captured in traps used to catch adult muskies.