First Frost First Musky of the Year

by | Sep 28, 2022 | fly fishing for muskie | 1 comment

fall-fishingI felt it in my bones.  There was a serious chill in the air.  I loaded the car for fishing in my bare feet like I have every fishing morning since May.  But there was frost on the ground.  Out came the first socks in months and my duck boots.  Then I started the car and cranked the defrost.  Once on the road it was a beautiful early fall drive.


musky-fliesI was meeting up with this summers partner in crime, Bob Butler.  We’ve been exploring rivers and lakes all season here in Northern Wisconsin and today we were trying a small lake.  There was one difference, no bass rods with.  Just like when I fished on Sunday, it was musky rods only.  I had my two 9-weight Winston’s.  One for sink and one floater.  Bob was rigged about the same.  Bob also had a few cool new flies he bought from my friend and musky guru, Bill Sherer.


muskellungeOur weather conditions need to be mentioned.  Though a cold morning delivering our first solid frost, once the sun came up, so did the thermometer.  While it was by no means hot, we reached 61°.  Not bad for the Great Northwoods this late in September.  And there wasn’t a breath of wind.  None!


flyfishingWhile Bob opted to wear waders, I was so comfortable I ditched my waders at the boat ramp and found myself in shorts and flip flops before noon.  I cherish these days of fall.  The leaves are in the early stages of changing offering a zillion shades of red and orange mixed in with plenty of stubborn greenery.


I am happy to say, we finally ran into a few muskies.  At the very first stop I had a fairly large musky follow my fly to the boat.  The sleek hunter kept a distance of about 2 feet behind my fly as if to be studying what not to eat.  Then there was no doubt he saw me carelessly standing in the bow with my red plaid shirt.  The musky was by no means scared but he slipped away to the deep not to be seen again.



We hit another hour’s worth of good looking holes with no luck but along came a particular sunken tree and we saw three more muskies.  One devoured my fly.  I strip set as hard as I could and went tight.  Sadly, two seconds later it pulled loose.  Then it happened again five casts later.  It may have been the same fish but I’ll never know because I didn’t get the hook set.


Missing muskies is a frustrating yet common occurrence.  Guides, experts, your best friends are quick to say you didn’t strip set hard enough, or even worse, you “trout set” (set by lifting the rod for a dry fly) – but keep this in mind.  Some fish species grab their meal and instead of turning back to where they came from, the continue to glide forward.  Muskies do this often and regardless of how hard you strip set, they move at lightening speed and sometimes you just don’t connect.  Try adding in a jab to the side with your rod tip.


first-muskieI was having the luck seeing the muskies but it was Bob who finally got one hooked up.  This fish came from over a weedbed in less than three feet deep of water.  It was a furious attack that happened so fast I missed it.  I just heard Bob let out, “I’m on!”


Bob-Butler-fly-fishingBob has put double the time on the water chasing muskies this summer than me, and this was his first hook up.  I clambered from the rowing seat for the net.  Despite this being a teenager of a muskie, he put on a show.  But soon Bob got him close enough for me to trap him.


Bob’s first musky was 28” long.  A baby in the eyes experienced musky anglers, but we all remember our first.  Unless you’re one of those anglers that caught a permit the first day you tried, your first muskie took a long time to get.  There were trying days, punishing weather fronts and the list goes on.  But when it happens, its one of those fishing moments in every serious angler’s life that you never forget.  I’m glad I was there with Bob today.


muskellungeBob and I wrapped our day up around 4 PM.  We could have fished longer but we were beyond satisfied.  There was also enough day left that we could each return home and enjoy one of the last warm evenings out on the porch.  And perhaps celebrate.


wisconsin-fishingI’m taking tomorrow off from fishing but I’ll be preparing.  I’ve done something crazy.  Crazy fun I should say.  I entered the Hayward Lakes Chapter Muskies, Inc Catch And Release tournament that takes place Friday-Sunday.  Though its individual scoring, I’ll fish with pal Tom Smedley.  What timing it would be to get my first big muskellunge of 2022.  I feel the buildup – stay tuned!


Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

1 Comment

  1. Tad

    Beautiful day to catch a musky!


Welcome to the Blog of Jeff Currier!

Contact Jeff

I started fly fishing at age 7 in the lakes and ponds of New England cutting my teeth on various sunfish, bass, crappie and stocked trout. I went to Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin, where I graduated with a Naturalist Degree while I discovered new fishing opportunities for pike, muskellunge, walleyes and various salmonids found in Lake Superior and its tributaries.

From there I headed west to work a few years in the Yellowstone region to simply work as much as most people fish and fish as much as most people work. I did just that, only it lasted over 20 years working at the Jack Dennis Fly Shop in Jackson, WY where I departed in 2009. Now it’s time to work for "The Man", working for myself that is.

I pursue my love to paint fish, lecture on every aspect of fly fishing you can imagine and host a few trips to some of the most exotic places you can think of. My ultimate goal is to catch as many species of fish on fly possible from freshwater to saltwater, throughout the world. I presently have taken over 440 species from over 60 countries!