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-Marc V-

Musky on the Fly??

12 posts in this topic

Wondering if anybody has attempted this, and what they have found the most successful...fly patterns, retreives, if a sinking line is neccessary, or whether I could get away with a floating line with a sink tip, etc.

Figure the wire leader will be a neccessity. Have some Toothy Critter already. Anybody used this in the past? Do you attach the Toothy Critter directly to the fly (if so, what kind of knot), or can you use a snap swivel to attach the flies?

Will be up on some remote river next weekend that is supposed to have a healthy population of musky landlocked between a falls, and some rapids. I'm told they are "dumber than a box of rocks" considering we will need to portage into it, and they probably haven't seen a much for baits thrown at 'em. Figure it's the perfect time to give it a shot with the fly rod.

Thanks for any suggestions.

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I would consider myself hardly an expert on catching and landing Musky on the fly but, since I have landed a handful of them I can offer my experiences. Every single one of them was hooked while targeting smallies. A couple were taken off the surface with your everyday standard popper. The others were taken on clousers and big hairy yellow woolly buggers. When I have actually fished for them, I have experimented with wire tippets and found that no matter which knot I use, they get all kinked and cause the fly to act erratically, which may or may not be good. What I have resorted to that has worked most of the time is use a straight piece of heavy mono for a leader, say 50 pound test or something like that about 7 ft or so. It’s cheaper, and since I really don’t target them much, buying wire tippet really doesn’t matter to me. The reason I started this reply with “landed” is I have been bitten off using this rig, mostly by Pike and not Musky. Anyway, casting this rig isn’t the prettiest thing in the world, but it does work. I have tried using a sink tip (30 ft) in a lake situation, but didn’t hook into any. Mostly though, I use a 9’ 8wt with a floating line since all were caught in a river setting and not very deep. None were very big either, with the biggest being 38 inches. Fun nonetheless.

I have never tried using a snap swivel because I would think that you would introduce a hinging effect when casting, leading to a lot of problems with the fly getting fouled on the leader/line etc. But that’s just me your mileage may vary.

Like I said, all were caught while fishing for smallies so the retrieve was relatively fast with some jerking and pauses. It would appear to me that river Musky are a different animal as compared to lake Musky, and that they have a lesser opportunity to stalk their dinner as they do in lakes. They have less time to “analyze” what they are about to eat. At least that’s what I think; maybe I give them too much credit.

So, there you have it, my not so scientific, hardly expert advice on Musky on the fly. I will offer this: I would use a 9 or 10wt rod, the 8wt I have been using just doesn’t cast all that junk that well, plus if you do hook into something a little bigger, you’ll have some leverage.

Hope this helps

Mike

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That does help. Thanks for the suggestions.

My rod arsenal only goes up to an 8wt 9ft at this point, so that will have to do.

I too haven't been able to figure out how to tie knots in the "tieable" leader without kinking, or curving of the material. That's why I asked about the knots. Might pick up a spool of 50lbs or better mono. Maybe Trielenes Extra Tough. Wanted to switch my catting/musky pole over to mono rather than superbraid anyway.

Hopefully something will move. This years fishing has treated me pretty well so far...hopefully the luck will continue!

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I haven't actually done much of it myself, but know some guys who spend most of their summer doing it. Most guys use a 10 or 12 wt and there are different kinds of wire and tippet that you can use. Some guys like to use an abrassion resistant tippet called musky mono, but I have heard of more than a couple nice muskies being able to bite through it with no problem at all. There is also wire tippet that can be tied dirrectly to your tippet and your fly. it's expensive, but it seems like the popular choice. I forget the knots they use, but i'll make sure to ask the guys down at the great lakes fly company and post back some better info.

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Marc, your 8 wt should have enough nut for landing a muskie. I would have to imagine that river muskies will take smaller baits than lake muskies. regardless, muskies will still take pike flies and clouser minnows, as well as bass poppers. that your 8 wy should handle casting.

You shouldn't have to worry about muskies biting off your leader, I'd be more worried about pike. 50 or 60 lb fluorocarbon should be some nice stiff leaders for the muskie. If you're still concerned about bite-offs and want to run wire, I tried using wire leaders with a snap and swivel. I was lazy to tie wire leaders, so i bought some at the store. Surprisingly they cast fairly well; I was using fluorocarbon leaders, so the stiff line to the swivel was not an issue. The over-sized flies are what made the casting more difficult. My biggest problem when fly fishing muskies was the wind, and having my line blow into the motor and steering rack/tiller handle. A stripping basket is necessary if fishing out of a boat.

good luck

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Quick, that's be great if you could find out some info on the knots used.

Any luck this year on the fall run browns? Saw your post earlier about it being a little slow...just wondering if anything has turned around recently. I hope to make a Brule run again this fall for those steelhead...those things blew my mind last year! hopefully this year I'll actually land one. shocked.gif

Otherwise, I'm on the hunt for some 50-60lbs flouro. Was just at Gander, and heaviest mono, or flouron for that matter, carried was 30lbs. Hopefully I can find it in a store before next weekend, otherwise online ordering could become a problem timeline wise...know of a catfish bait shop down here that might carry something along those lines.

JP...will be fishing out of a canoe, so the line tangle shouldn't be quite as much of an issue. Could be interesting if I actually hook up with one though! cool.gif

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look at the leader spools of flouro. I use the 30 yd leader spools of vanish. They can be tricky to find in stores; I ended up getting mine at gander in fargo. the rogers cabelas did not have any leader spools of any brand of line when I was there during the early part of the season. Some of the ganders didn't carry them either. I think the only reason the fargo store had the spools was because of all the cat guys fishing the red. If you can't find the line at the catfish shop, mail order from a saltwater store; they'll have plenty of selection.

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Hi Guys,

I haven't been on much but I can't resist sharing this since the request is posted.

I've wanted to go target a muskie on the fly for a long time and finally just put it on the calendar with a friend, and last weekend was the date we had set. We chose an obscure small river in WI that is generally overlooked. Water was VERY low and I questioned whether it would worth the time or effort, but we had made the trip so we gave it a shot.

Fishing was very slow, but we managed one muskie. I think that small river muskies generally run smaller in size due to the forage base, etc.

Anyway, this one took a deer hair slider with a grizzly hackle tail that I've been using for smallmouth. I caught it on an 8 wt, which was plenty considering the size of the water and the fish (small). I just used my normal smallmouth leader with 15 lb tippet - which I wouldn't recommend. I just got lucky. The fish actually adjusted the fly in its mouth and when I saw the deer hair head pop out the front edge of its mouth I set the hook. (Like I could ever do that again...)

Anyway, it's always fun to share some pics so here you go. Please post back and let us know how you do!!

grin.gif

Musky1.jpg

Musky2.jpg

Musky.jpg

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Mark, if you decide to head up this way get a hold of me, I'll let you know what's up.

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Quick...Will do. Thanks.

Fall usually goes by in a flash. Trying to make it a priority...

Nice fish Stiff! All I'm hoping for it one! ...but more would be good too. smile.gif

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Stiff,

Nice muskie! I haven't been able to add that species to me fly rod list yet.

I tried for carp this weekend in one of my favorite central minnesota spots, but the river was way too low. No carp around. I only managed a few bullheads. Oh well...bullheads need attention, too.

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Well, unfortunately no muskys caught on the fly...but there were no muskys caught by the other 5 people that were spin fishing for the weekend either. There were a few there, but didn't seem to be in a good mood.

Thanks for the tips everyone. Learned some new tying techniques in the process of getting ready for the trip...like tying with EP fiber. That's cool stuff. Makes really nice looking bait fish imitations.

Trip wasn't a complete bomb though...ended up with some nice smallies on the fly, and a nice northern also. Just couldn't seem to go wrong with the long rod. Spin fished for a little bit, didn't catch much, switched back over to the fly, and started spanking them again. This year has been like that. Really makes me consider selling all my spin fishing rods.

Unfortunately didn't get a pick of the northern, but here are some other pics...

17inSmallie.jpg

18.5inSmallie2.jpg

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