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BRULEDRIFTER

Found 2 dead muskies floating in Head of the Lakes Bay this weekend. An approx. 45” and a measured 54”. 

Wondering if they we killed on purpose or poorly handled? 🤔

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Wanderer

I take it you didn’t see any particular injuries if you’re wondering what happened.  

Bummer.

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BRULEDRIFTER
Posted (edited)

The smaller one was stuck under the dock and completely rotten. I fished it out to dispose of it but too far gone. It looked like the isthmus (below gill plates) was severed, but hard to say if it was cut or separated because of rot. The bigger one my F.I.L saw out cruising this evening, he said he didn’t notice anything, but doubt he investigated much. 

Edited by BRULEDRIFTER
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delcecchi

The most likely explanation was hooking mortality.   For every 100 muskies caught a few will die even if handled using best practices.  For the average dude doing the handling, an extra few will die.   

My experience is more with Northerns.  I have released a few of those myself that looked a little iffy.   Add on the extra few minutes being held up for the photos, and even more stress on the fish.   It is actually surprising we don't see more floaters, or maybe they mostly sink and stay down if they last awhile after being released.    

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guideman

Handling Muskies in warm surface temps like we have now can be very deadly, even if you know what you are doing. Early morning and late evening or fishing at night can lower mortality rates however it is better to just avoid handling them during the warmest time of the summer. 

"Ace" ;) 

"It's just fishing man" ;) 

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roony

I am a firm believer that all fish that are going to be released should be unhooked at the side of the boat and not handled. You might not have a picture but you still have the memory and you know the fish has a much greater chance of surviving. Just my opinion FWIW.

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DLD24

What are your guys favorite presentations this time of year? When I come up I've mostly rigged.

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Wanderer
On 7/13/2018 at 11:45 AM, guideman said:

Handling Muskies in warm surface temps like we have now can be very deadly, even if you know what you are doing. Early morning and late evening or fishing at night can lower mortality rates however it is better to just avoid handling them during the warmest time of the summer. 

"Ace" ;) 

"It's just fishing man" ;) 

Ace, honest question here with no intent to debate, just learning more about muskies.

What surface temps do you consider to be too warm for handling muskies?

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james_walleye

DLD I'll keep rigging as long is I can keep catching good fish but entering into August I'll start to pull leadcore more.

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FishinCT
5 hours ago, Wanderer said:

Ace, honest question here with no intent to debate, just learning more about muskies.

What surface temps do you consider to be too warm for handling muskies?

I looked up the Mille lacs hooking mortality study on walleyes and it started to dramatically increase around 65 degrees. About 5% mortality at 65 degrees but about 25% at 75 degrees.

I have to imagine the numbers are higher for muskies given an extended fight with a large fish, having to take more care to not get cut up or hooked yourself while unhooking the fish, temptation to take lots of pictures, etc. 

Here's the study if you're interested http://mnmuskie.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Reeves-and-Bruesewitz-2007_factors-influencing-hooking-mortality-of-walleyes-Mille-Lacs.pdf

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guideman

Typically temps over 70 degrees are considered dangerous for handling Muskies. The length of the fight and the time you take handling the fish will make a difference. That is one of the reasons we use heavy line and big rods, you don't want to battle the fish to the death. Skip photos on smaller fish and remove the hooks with the fish in the net, in the water, not on the bottom of the boat.

"Ace" ;) 

"It's just fishing man" ;) 

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delcecchi

What do you think of the "cut the hooks" method of dealing with Muskies?   Small bolt cutters to make the process fast.   Just wondering.  

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Wanderer

Thanks for the feedback.  

We have the time from hookset to release pretty short I think.  I read earlier this spring the average fight these days lasts 90 seconds or less.  I’ll admit I was amazed to hear that but after a half dozen muskies that have come to net this year, that’s no bull.  We usually have em netted on the first pass by the boat.  My 48 inch net allows one to do all the handling in the water while the other gets the bump board laid out and phone ready for a pic.

A quick measure and quick pics and back in the water they go.

Thats about as much as we can do. 

70 degrees is lower than I expected to hear.  We were seeing those temps on opening weekend in Ontario.  We didn’t like seeing 80 last Friday on Leech.

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Wanderer
8 minutes ago, delcecchi said:

What do you think of the "cut the hooks" method of dealing with Muskies?   Small bolt cutters to make the process fast.   Just wondering.  

We had to cut the hooks on one of my fish this year.  Caught on a Cisco Kid, 2 of 3 sets of trebles in the fish.  Just by how they were twisted, the leverage made removal by pulling very difficult and the fish would thrash when I attempted to work them out.  Made the decision pretty easy to cut the hooks.

I’m honestly considering going barbless on everything.  Half the time the lure shakes free in the net anyway so the pressure is what keeps them buttoned until netted.  The plus is if one of us gets one in the hand when working on a netted fish, it won’t hurt so bad getting it out!

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PSU

Coming up tomorrow for the rest of the week, and changes in the fishing patterns for walleye? I assume still leeches and crawlers? 17-25 feet

Thanks

 

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Cliff Wagenbach

PSU,

Lindys, bobbers with leeches and crawlers.

Trolling with cranks and spinners are now good also.

Cliff

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BartmanMN
21 hours ago, Cliff Wagenbach said:

PSU,

Lindys, bobbers with leeches and crawlers.

Trolling with cranks and spinners are now good also.

Cliff

Thanks Cliff. I am coming up for my week of paradise tomorrow as well.

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delcecchi
On 7/15/2018 at 10:15 PM, Wanderer said:

We had to cut the hooks on one of my fish this year.  Caught on a Cisco Kid, 2 of 3 sets of trebles in the fish.  Just by how they were twisted, the leverage made removal by pulling very difficult and the fish would thrash when I attempted to work them out.  Made the decision pretty easy to cut the hooks.

I’m honestly considering going barbless on everything.  Half the time the lure shakes free in the net anyway so the pressure is what keeps them buttoned until netted.  The plus is if one of us gets one in the hand when working on a netted fish, it won’t hurt so bad getting it out!

When we go to Quetico, barbless or mashed down barbs is mandatory.   To tell the truth I haven't noticed that we lose more fish with barbless than barbed.   Not catching muskies though.  Pike, walleye, bass, lake trout. 

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LBerquist

I wish barb less hooks were more available. I'd switch, heard they come out easier....

20180707_150927.jpg

20140613_200015.jpg

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Wanderer
15 hours ago, delcecchi said:

When we go to Quetico, barbless or mashed down barbs is mandatory.   To tell the truth I haven't noticed that we lose more fish with barbless than barbed.   Not catching muskies though.  Pike, walleye, bass, lake trout. 

Manitoba requires the same, and I agree, we didn’t notice a difference either except for keeping bait on the hook.  It’s just a hard mental block to get around.

@LBerquist, ouch!  Unfortunately I know what those are like.  Both getting them out of myself and helping others!  You can pinch the barbs down on any hook though.  Some lay down nice and others will break off, leaving just a little bit of a rough bump which I kind of like better.  There’s a little bit of grip left that way.

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delcecchi
3 hours ago, Wanderer said:

It’s just a hard mental block to get around.

I haven't done it on all my stuff, but I don't avoid using a bait because I mashed the barbs.   It would probably be a good idea to mash more of them, even if just to make it easier to get them out when they get hooked on something like clothing or a rag.  

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redlabguy

Okay, I’m not into gore. I’ve only had to do surgery on one hook and that’s enough.

PSU, I’m wondering how you’re doing. Cliff offered good advice. In the Frazer Bay Area, bobbers are my only means of catching fish of size. I t seems like the dinks are dominating the reefs. Spinners can pick up fish near structure. I was looking back at my logs recently and late July has always been tough. 

Dick

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PSU

We did okay in Frazer over the weekend. Some nice 15's and 16's and tons of the smaller walleyes. For some reason I usually catch the smaller ones clean, but I throat hooked a ton this weekend. Just couldn't feel their bites, so I'm guessing they had plenty of time to try to swallow the bait. 17-22 worked best for us with Lindy's and seemed leeches outperformed crawlers about 2-1

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • TAJ
      I agree with Rayguy. A lot of ecological changes happening everywhere and I think we’re seeing that on the Whitefish chain. Keep looking for new spots and new structure. Fish are still there. It’ll be interesting to see how Fall fishing goes. I am planning on fishing the next couple of days. I’ll let you know how I do. 
    • Cliff Wagenbach
      Ace is right, no need to run to far to find walleyes! They are all over the East end where you will be staying. The number one rule is "trust your depth finder"! I never fish a spot unless I see a few fish there! Lindy rigs, spinner rigs, slip bobber rigs, and jigs will all catch walleyes that time of the year. Cliff
    • bluewater2
      Thank you, my husband and I usually go to Kabetogama . but we are going to go later, had a chance to go here for the first time(Labor day weekend)and are excited to try it. Found a private cabin to rent very reasonable in that bay.
    • Borch
      I fished most of the lake in scout mode today.  Found walleyes early on midlake humps and bars in 18-24 fow.  Got a couple to go on jigging raps but then they shut off.  Spent the rest of the day trying to pin down a panfish pattern.  Found good numbers of sunfish in shallow cabbage beds(6-9 fow).  None were huge but good numbers of 8-8 1/2" gills.  A few crappies are mixed in with them and some are suspending off the break.  There are also good numbers of sunfish in or just outside the reeds.   Most of the sunfish ran smaller though although there were some keepers there too.  Pike and bass I did not target but saw others do so successfully.   Plenty of bass in the reeds and spinnerbaits seemed to be what most were using.   Troll over the weeds and you will be rewarded with pike.
    • Borch
      I fished most of the lake in scout mode today.  Found walleyes early on midlake humps and bars in 18-24 fow.  Got a couple to go on jigging raps but then they shut off.  Spent the rest of the day trying to pin down a panfish pattern.  Found good numbers of sunfish in shallow cabbage beds(6-9 fow).  None were huge but good numbers of 8-8 1/2" gills.  A few crappies are mixed in with them and some are suspending off the break.  There are also good numbers of sunfish in or just outside the reeds.   Most of the sunfish ran smaller though although there were some keepers there too.  Pike and bass I did not target but saw others do so successfully.   Plenty of bass in the reeds and spinnerbaits seemed to be what most were using.   Troll over the weeds and you will be rewarded with pike.
    • Borch
      I fished most of the lake in scout mode today.  Found walleyes early on midlake humps and bars in 18-24 fow.  Got a couple to go on jigging raps but then they shut off.  Spent the rest of the day trying to pin down a panfish pattern.  Found good numbers of sunfish in shallow cabbage beds(6-9 fow).  None were huge but good numbers of 8-8 1/2" gills.  A few crappies are mixed in with them and some are suspending off the break.  There are also good numbers of sunfish in or just outside the reeds.   Most of the sunfish ran smaller though although there were some keepers there too.  Pike and bass I did not target but saw others do so successfully.   Plenty of bass in the reeds and spinnerbaits seemed to be what most were using.   Troll over the weeds and you will be rewarded with pike.
    • Rick
      No brush or yard waste burning today through Sunday The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has issued an air quality alert for today through Sunday for northern Minnesota.    As a result, the Department of Natural Resources will not issue burning permits for brush or yard waste for all areas north of Alexandria, including Mille Lacs and Pine counties. Burn restrictions may expand as smoke from the Canadian fires drifts south. For updates and the air quality forecast, check the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency website. Discuss below - to view set the hook here.
    • guideman
      If you are looking for Walleyes stay on the east end. There is no need to go running all over the lake to catch them. Daisy bay has Walleyes available as does Big bay which in my opinion has some of the best Walleye fishing on the lake.  Trolling cranks works this time of year, as well as Lindy rigging, or pulling spinners on a bottom bouncer. You can also find some decent evening slip bobber fishing close to where you are staying.  Good luck and have fun, you won't be disappointed.     "Ace" "It's just fishing man".   
    • guideman
      Anyone that takes 16 years to boat a Muskie most likely doesn't target them all the time.  I average one Muskie every time I go out on Vermilion. It really isn't that hard if you do your homework and do the little things that it takes to be successful. Get out there and cast, cast, cast until your arms fall off.     "Ace"   "It's just fishing man"   
    • bluewater2
      Was wondering if anyone could give me some pointers on fishing the lake, we will be staying at a cabin by Daisy Bay / Arrow Head point. Not asking for your hot spots, just wondering if the area where the cabin is, if fishing for Walleye is close by. I here talk about east vs. west side. Not sure what that means? Any help would be great.