Muskie fever can be catchy

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 6, 2002

As the 4th of July comes around and the weather gets into its summer phase, I seem to come down with the same symptoms. I get a fever (not a real one) but the one that is directly related to fishing. It is called &uot;Muskie Fever.&uot; I start anticipating, planning and going through my tackle (numerous times) to make sure everything is in order.

This year’s trip will be to the Longville area. We will be going to Lake Wabedo, not to be confused with Lake Woebegone.

Fishing for muskies can be a funny business. Sometimes just having a follow or having a big one on is the best one can hope for in a week’s fishing. Some guys beat the water all day for them, but I have other family members to consider, so I fish for a little bit of everything. I usually get in a few hours each day fishing for the elusive muskie.

Email newsletter signup

If you go to a lake with just one fish in mind and are staying a whole week, it can be a long week if that species has &uot;lockjaw&uot;. You can find them and throw everything in the old tackle box at them and they still won’t bite. That’s why when fishing with your family it is good to be flexible.

There is a certain feeling you get when casting for muskie, you can cast and cast and all of a sudden out of nowhere there is a flash and then your line goes tight. I have cast a lure and had fish explode out of the water before the lure was 12 inches from the water. That thrill in itself is worth the effort.

One afternoon I was fishing by myself on Spider Lake and I made a cast, had a fish on but lost him halfway to the boat. The adrenaline was really pumping and I couldn’t wait to make another cast. I was a bit too anxious, however, as I went to make the cast of my life a fishing pole went flying by my head. It seems I had hooked my spare rod and was casting my large muskie lure and the one attached to my other pole. Luckily there were enough hooks on my lure so my spare rod stayed hooked and didn’t go the bottom of the lake.

I like to think that I have learned to stay a little more under control after that episode.

I don’t know if anyone really knows why fish refuse to bite at certain times. A good fisherman always has a repertoire of excuses; cold front moved in, too hot, storm fronts keep moving in, water levels are down, water is too high, too much rain. Mayflies are the one nemesis that can be held accountable for a slow bite.

With that in mind, here are some fishing reports from around the state:

– Detroit Lakes &045; The fishing in general continues good all across the Detroit Lakes area.

Most of the fish are coming from 12-24ft.

– Lake Winnibigoshish Area &045; The mayflies have come and hopefully gone. Even with the heat the bite is still very good. A LOT of Walleye in the 17″ to 26″ (sorry they have to go back), sort and you will get some great eaters.

– Leech Lake Area &045; Live Bait Rigs is producing the majority of the walleyes on Leech Lake right now. A rig with a 48″-60″ snell tipped with a Leech or Crawler is attracting eyes. The one key according to the guides has been the Super Glo Hook on the snell. Northland Tackle’s new: “Super Glow” hook is out producing a standard hook.

– Alexandria Area &045; Hot. One word describes the weather. Okay, windy too. Fishing was hot for some area anglers as well. The first real scorcher weekend weather brought out lots of recreational boaters as well. This may have made angling tough on parts of the Chain of Lakes, as anglers competed with pleasure boaters for space on the water.

– Kabetogama Area &045; Big changes since last week, the mayflies have hatched, the water levels have risen, and the surface temperature of the lake is now in the mid 70’s. Walleyes have basically left to shallow water and are roaming the mid-range depths. Anglers report 28-32′ depths using rigs with leeches and crawlers doing best, long lining working well. Sauger and perch action best at 35-40′ using jig and minnow.

– Grand Rapids Area &045; The lakes in the Grand Rapids area are really heating up right now just like the weather. On the smaller lakes for walleye’s they are a little tougher to get at but they are there. A little hint for the day when things are tough and the weather is hot try putting a couple splitshot above a plain hook, 2-3 ft up and pitch it in the weeds. Sometimes you can pull them walleyes right out of there.

– Lake Vermillion Area&045;

Well the dreaded mayfly hatch has finally hit Big Bay on Lake Vermilion! We had two consecutive hatches on Thursday and Friday nights, which has almost completely shut down the walleye bite for the weekend. I have not been able to get them to bite with any of my usual hatch methods. The only walleye bite there is in the Big Bay area is very early morning and late evening/after dark.

– Mille Lacs Lake Area &045; Fishing on Mille Lacs remains fabulous! The gravel bars, flats & rock reefs are still producing fantastic catches of walleye. Presentations of choice include spinners with crawlers; lindy rigs with leeches or crawlers and bobbers with leeches. The water temperature is around 68 degrees now.

– Cass Lake Area &045; Well the water is still cold (mid 60’s), and its level has been rising rapidly. Guy just can’t get a break from all the crazy weather we have been having. Between the lingering Mayflies, lightning, and nasty wind, it has made for some tough fishing. Despite all the rottenness there are still fish to be had. Best bet for some walleye is to hit the structure East of Star Island and the bars on the North end by the Turtle River.

– Waterville &045; Fishing in area lakes can be a little tougher, this time of year, due to the numerous recreation activities that accompany the mid-summer heat. Fishing smaller lakes or early morning fishing can be the best, late evening and night fishing can also be productive at this time of the year. Sunfish and Bass still seem to be doing well in most lakes, with a few stripers being caught on Tetonka. I f at all possible, fishing during the week would probably be more productive because you would see less boat traffic.

Don’t forget to enter a picture of your fish in the Tribune’s Catch of the Week contest.

Good Luck and Good Fishin.’