Hot weather means muskie fishing time

Published 9:18 am Friday, July 9, 2010

It’s not the heat — it’s the humidity! Ever found yourself saying something like that when talking about the weather? One thing we Minnesotans can always count on is the weather giving us plenty of material to talk about. The storms and tornadoes that we had the past few weeks were not the things that we need or want to fuel our conversation. The countless stories of people helping people in time of need were the good chapters of that book.

The sweltering heat and humidity of the past few days hasn’t done much to make me want to hit the lake in search of fish. I wonder if the fish take the same approach and are kicking back under a log, lily pad or dock waiting for cooler weather. I can only imagine a big ol’ hawg laying in wait for some poor unsuspecting baitfish to swim by and join it for a meal.

One year while camping at Spider Lake Brian, my oldest, asked me if we could go bass fishing so I agreed to spend a good part of the day fishing bass. We took the boat to the back of a small bay and started casting. We weren’t there very long before Brian shouted — Muskie! As I looked towards the lily pads I could see what looked like a submerged log but I soon recognized it as a big muskie that was laying in wait for some unsuspecting bass to swim by. At about the same time Brad, my youngest, said “there’s another one” and sure enough there it was.

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I quickly opened up my tackle box and frantically searched through my tackle for some muskie lures. We began to throw everything we could think of at those toothed “wolf fish” but at first we could manage only a casual follow. Brian threw a spoon that I swear almost bounced off a fish’s back and only drew a passing glance as it swam slowly away.

One fish that followed my lure was huge and would have probably gone 50 inches. It followed my bucktail to the boat and watched as I dutifully figure eight-ed at the side of the boat. All the while that big monster sat about 10 ft. from the boat watching and I can swear it was laughing at my futile efforts to entice a strike. Finally that big fish swam right toward the boat and disappeared slowly under it only to emerge from the other side and swim lazily away. We counted 30 different fish on that day as we worked that little bay. We did however manage to get quite a few follows and some actual strikes. We eventually did manage to put two fish in the boat, which were released.

This is one of those things that I will probably experience once in my life, being surrounded by muskies and being able to see them follow a lure not once but numerous times. I always have hopes of a day of muskie fishing when the fish are numerous and aggressive at the same time. That is a time that most fishermen dream about but not many get to experience.

The first time I fished Spider Lake was with a friend of mine named Charlie Thompson. We were there in September of 1976 and at that time we saw two muskies caught by an avid musky hunter. He fished from a small boat with a folding lawn chair placed sideways in the back so he always faced the shore while he speed-trolled. His favorite lure was a giant Red Eyed Wiggler that he trolled right next to shore and along the weed edges. After watching him boat those two fish I knew that I was pretty much “hooked” on muskie fishing. I later met the muskie fisherman’s dad who had taught him how to catch that fish. He said he liked to speed troll so close to shore that he could almost reach out with his rod tip and touch the rocks. His theory of fishing that shallow was pretty much proven to me the week my family and I saw all of those fish hanging under the lily pads right next to shore.

The highlight of that week in September however, was when this elderly couple was fishing crappies and the man hooked into a 20-lb.-plus northern. He fought that fish for 10 minutes or better. We had stopped our boat some distance away just to watch when he asked if we had a landing net. We did but feared that if we tried to motor over to him we would tangle in his line and lose his fish for him. He had the fish to the boat two times and both times it rolled and took out drag but finally the that giant pike exploded out of the water, spit the hook and just like that it was over. The man sat there silently for awhile then looked at us with a smile and said “now that was one great experience”. My heart was pounding just from watching him battle that brute of a fish. When it rolled I swear that the fins on that thing were the size of oak leaves! That’s when I knew that I’d be coming back to this lake in future years. Each time I do I think of that first time and I have this vision of that monster pike just waiting for my lure. This is why I love fishing because you never know when you’ll make one of those “lunker” memories.


The Wednesday July 14th meeting of Southern Crossroads Chapter 54 of Muskies Inc. will be on the water at French Lake. We will fish from 6 to 9pm. Come and fish earlier if you can. Afterward we will meet at Hoy’s Resort for refreshments, updates and conversation.

Looking ahead; Wednesday September 1st, visit our booth at the Minnesota State Fair. Mark your calendar for Thursday September 2nd, to attend a public hearing for Tetonka Lake. It is being considered for musky management. Time and place not yet announced. Check our web sight at for any info.

Our regular meetings are 2nd Wednesday of every month at 7 pm at Eagles Club in Owatonna. They include informative speakers, updates, door prizes and raffle. (Our summer meetings are social, and on the water at French Lake and Hoy’s Resort, with updates only. Check our web sight for changes) Anyone interested in musky fishing is always welcome. Bring a friend, check us out, and help improve musky fishing in Southern Minnesota.

Until next time “respect our natural resources, enjoy the outdoors and Let‘s go fishin.’”

Take a little time to remember our brothers and sisters who are proudly serving our country so that we can enjoy the freedoms that we have today.