How to Hold a Musky (and other info)

Friday, September 16, 2005

Metro Musky Fishing can be very rewarding

When you think of musky fishing in Wisconsin, most people think of going “up north” to find the big brutes. Sawyer County and the Chippewa Flowage, Vilas County and other counties all hold some monster fish. Some Musky fishing that should not be overlooked is in the metro areas of this state.

Dan Small’s article from Wisconsin Outdoor News goes over several metro musky fishing areas. In the southeast, several lakes in Waukesha County, which is just one half hour west of Milwaukee, are quickly becoming the go-to lakes when anglers only have a few hours to fish. Pewaukee and Okauchee are getting a good reputation for producing good numbers of fish, and the lakes are stocked at a rate of 2 fingerlings per acre, and local musky clubs stock several hundreds more. From these lakes, the muskies migrate into Fowler, Lac La Belle, and Oconomowoc.

Pewaukee Lake has the largest abundance of muskies for musky fishing, with 2,500 acres of water. There are about .5 muskies per acre here. This is your best bet to catch a big musky, with reports of up to10 muskies over 50 inches caught here every year. The east end of Pewaukee is shallower and a good place to cast bucktails and shallow running cranks. Later, work the west end around Rocky Point with diving lures.

Although the musky fishing on Okauchee is not as good because of less abundance of fish, they tend to run larger. This lake has great structure to it with many rock bars, and weed edges. You can try casting diving baits, or plastics, or try soaking a sucker. Power trolling is also very popular on lakes in this area. Try trolling large cranks at speeds between 4.5 and 7mph along the ridge that breaks between shallow and deep water. Trolling is allowed on all Waukesha County lakes.

The Madison Chain is another great musky fishing metro area. 3,200 acre Monona, 2,080 Waubesa, and 345 acre Wingra are all DNR managed musky fisheries. Wingra has nearly 4 muskies per acre, which is four times that of most good musky lakes. There are loads of 30-39 inchers. Speed trolling is permitted on these lakes as well using shallow running crankbaits. You can also cast topwaters and bucktails over weeds and along weed edges.

Monona and Waubesa lakes are heavily stocked and have been for the last decade.
On Monona in the spring, bucktails over weeds work well, and later you can target the midlake humps, pint bars and weed edges. Waubesa is a great spring and early summer fishery. Weedbeds come up early and provide very dense cover. Topwaters and bucktails over the weedbeds work very well all season long.

When you think of Green Bay and the Fox River, most anglers think about the fantastic walleyes there in the early spring. However, Green Bay is quickly becoming an outstanding musky fishery.

Green Bay is unique in that it is one of the oldest and newest. Muskies are native to the tributaries and the Great Lakes, but a century of industrial abuse made most of their habitat uninhabitable.

After thirty years of clean up efforts, Green Bay and the Fox River are being stocked with Great Lakes spotted muskies since 1989. Now, 20,000 or more fingerlings and yearlings are stocked in the bay and its tributaries every year.

Due to the low population density, these fish grow very large for their length. They feed on carp and suckers, and they bay and river has large populations of gizzard shad which “puts the beef” on the muskies.

Musky fishing in the Fox River is best in the fall because of algae blooms. Most anglers troll here with noisy jointed crankbaits. This is because the water is so dark on the river, and there’s lots of it. These are not deep running crankbaits, but shallow ones because muksies suspend not too far from the surface.

Metro Musky fishing is alive and well in Wisconsin, and should definitely not be overlooked when going for your next trophy!


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