October 21, 2012
Bill Sherer and I don’t like to make a habit of getting skunked. We got our butts kicked yesterday by the muskellunge and we couldn’t let it happen again. To increase our fish catching chances today, Bill guided me on a double float. We literally floated two days worth of stretches on one of his secret muskie haunts. This meant I needed to do my share, loosen up the shoulder, cast the 10-weight like it’s a 3 and fool as many chasers as I could.
As usual, I have an idea where we were but couldn’t begin to name the water body. The place was in the boonies and other than a trapper and his young boys there were no other humans all day. The sunrise will be memorable for the blast of colors from trees and the millions of leaves covering the ground. The scene left my mind twirling about whether or not I should’ve left this wonderful place nearly thirty years ago. Bill returned from doing the shuttle after about a half hour and we pushed off under a rich blue sky and temps in the 30ºs.
The tiny river consisted of long flats, a winding corner then a 100 feet of riffle. I stripped my intermediate line through the riffles then dredged the deep corners with my 300 grain. Because of the amount of river we were covering Bill pushed through most of the flats where there wasn’t enough water to hold a muskie. Ten minutes into the morning I ripped a small muskie out from behind a log. A similar spot to where I’d catch a brown trout on the Green back home. It was an awesome attack on my fly, much more aggressive than that of a trout. The baby muskie of 28 inches leapt from three feet away and landed on my fly with his mouth open. I actually missed him then but he chased my fly towards the boat and I enticed him to eat again.
Fishing never slowed down from there. We pushed through a few more flats. There were a few turns without fish but then we floated into a run that reminded me of fishing for peacock bass in the Amazon because there were baitfish fleeing for their lives. There were multiple muskies here and my heart raced. I braced myself and sure enough on the first strip of the first cast I hooked up. I ruined the fun morning for this muskie and he made me pay. Even with my 10-weight, all I could do is hang on for his first smoking run.
I ended up catching three beautiful muskies from this one run. Two were just over 30 inches and this one we didn’t measure. Although he’s not nearly a monster, this is a fish I’ll remember to go along with today’s sunrise. I had four muskies landed on the fly and it wasn’t even 10 AM.
Things warmed up considerably. I’ll bet the temperature was close to 55º in mid afternoon under mostly sunny skies. Bill and I were shedding layers between muskies. Yes, I said “between muskies”. Today will likely go down as the top muskie fishing day of my life. I hope it’s wasn’t but seriously, I doubt I’ll top today. Our final fish count was nine muskies to the net. The smallest was the first of the day. All the rest were over 30”!
If fly fishing for muskellunge isn’t on your list then I suggest you make room for it. Muskies are one of North Americas top game fish and Northern Wisconsin is one of the best kept secrets of all. I truly love it up there. You can get in touch with Bill Sherer through his We Tie It Fly Shop in Boulder Junction, Wisconsin.