How to Hold a Musky (and other info)

Monday, June 04, 2007

Muskies could be an addiction

The muskie season opened on Saturday, which means the entire 2007 open water season is now officially under way.

Muskie fishing is good in Minnesota. When it comes to sheer numbers and overall size structure of the muskies within our lakes, some argue that Minnesota is the best in the country.

I'm not a muskie fisherman and have no intentions of joining the growing number of other muskie anglers in the state. It's not that I wouldn't enjoy catching these big critters, but from what I've heard, once you start it's tough to stop.

I know quite a few good walleye fishermen who hooked their first muskie and quit fishing walleyes — and everything else for that matter. While I understand the addiction, I just don't want to be a part of it. I'm afraid of getting bit by the same bug and I'd hate to give up the walleye and panfish game.

While I have caught a few small muskies by accident over the years, there have been encounters with big fish that have left me with a respect for these toothy gators and an overall appreciation for their scrappiness and addiction among other anglers.

One that stands out happened on Cass Lake two summers ago. I was fishing a small piece of shallow structure for walleyes and visibly watched two giant muskies rolling on the surface, almost playing like dolphins.

Those muskies were in the back of my mind all night, almost intimidating with their size and presence. At no point did I put my hand in the water or get to close to the edge of my boat to net a fish. I've heard stories about these big boys and didn't want any part of losing a limb.

Anyway, just before sundown they disappeared for a long period of time. For the first time all evening, they were out of sight and out of mind — that was until I was reeling in a walleye about 17 inches long.

With one quick swipe near the surface, I saw a mouth and set of teeth open and tear the rear end out of that walleye. The Adrenalin rush was incredible, not to mention it scared the heck out of me. At that very moment I knew my ticker was in good shape.

That was enough fishing for me on this particular night. But I couldn't help realizing that this is what the muskie angler lives for on a daily basis.

I couldn't imagine having that happen several times on any given outing. Once was enough for me, which is why I'm sticking to other species — at least for now.

This is the opinion of Times outdoors columnist Glen Schmitt. Contact him at 253-5789 or by e-mail at


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