As the local fauna begins its transition to the fiery autumn hues we all have come to love in the northwest, the fall musky fishing enters it prime. The feedbags are strapped on as the water temperature cools, and they seem to care less and less about being the mythical fish of 10,000 casts. At this time of year they are out to prove they are the top of the freshwater food chain and they can eat whatever will fit down their throat.
While sliding a pontoon craft or float tube into the water in October and November with a 9 or 10 weight rod may not be on every ones bucket list, it should be. Imagine casting a massive fly 10 inches long, or better yet a popper the size of a Dixie cup at structure for a fish that can grow in excess of fifty inches and upwards of 35lbs. Your next cast could bring you the fish of a lifetime. Chasing musky with the fly rod requires no more commitment than any other fish. It may be cold, raining, snowing and windy, but I guarantee you have fished for trout and steelhead in those same conditions without a second thought. The time is still well spent.
We are lucky to have two lakes within a 30 minute drive that provide us with fly fishing friendly waters, suitable for smaller watercraft – Newman and Silver, and both lakes provide stunning back-drops for fall fishing. Fall musky means top-water action. Big poppers, giant deer-hair frogs, foam sliders, or big wake flies are on the menu. At this time of year a large musky will come up from 15 feet to inhale a well placed fly, or chase it to the boat and crush it 1 foot away from the side of the boat. They are aggressive and looking for easy calories with minimal effort.
The main areas that you will want to concentrate your efforts...
- In and around 10 feet of water.
- Weed lines with secondary structure, such as rocks, ledges, and points near or leading to shallow bays.
- Find schools of bait-fish such as perch or bluegill and the musky in Newman and Silver should be close by.
Fly fishing is a very effective way to target musky especially in the fall. Musky by no means are an easy catch and once they are hooked there is an array of things that can go wrong very quickly. If you have done your homework they are there waiting for you to find them, and if you haven’t or don’t have time to dedicate to tying the flies and learning the areas where muskies hunt, book a trip and cut to the quick and let the pros show you how. We are booking fall musky hunts now and the dates are filling up.
I will leave you with these words of old; "If you seek so shall you find." So go do some seeking… Cheers – The Warmwater Rambler (aka Dave Dana)