Chippewa Flowage

“The Big Chip!” Home Of The World’s Record MUSKY

The last time I  fished the mighty “The Big Chip” was back in the late seventies!  I can still remember the fantastic islands, floating bogs, sand bars and stumps, inlets and unreal  weed beds ……On first look, you think you are in a Musky paridise!  It’s no wonder that thousands of optimistic Musky Hunters migrate there in search of a trophy sized Musky…..The Chippewa Flowage, home of the world record Musky, still offers some of the best musky fishing in the world.

This 17,432 acre historic flowage, created by the Winter Dam on the east and west forks of the Chippewa River, is located  about twenty miles east of Hayward Wisconsin, and is close to 450 miles from Chicago. It’s about a 7-8 hour trip depending on where you are located in Chicago or the suburbs.

Musky hunters are drawn to this flowage not only by its natural beauty of the terrain, but by the historical legend of Louis Spray. On that momentous  22nd day of October  1949,  Louis Spray, a local area musky hunter hauled in the World’s largest musky at 69 lbs, 11 ounces! The thought of that colossal record Musky, and the yearning of landing  another world record provides the inspiration that keeps dedicated musky hunters pounding the waters year after year.  

Spray’s World Record Muskie Stands

The National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame will not disqualify Louis Spray’s world record muskellunge that was challenged by a group of Wisconsin and Illinois businessmen.

The group, calling itself the World Record Muskie Alliance had submitted some photographic analyses that purported to show that Spray’s muskie was ten inches shorter than the recorded 63 ½ inches that Spray’s 69 lb., 11 oz. fish measured when caught in 1949.

According to a detail report on the hall of fame’s web site ( ), the record keepers submitted their numerous photos of the Spray fish to various photo analysts who say the fish had to be at least 63 inches.

Besides the photo evidence, hall researchers interviewed several eyewitnesses who saw the fish shortly after it was brought into Herman’s Landing on the Chippewa Flowage. The witnesses agreed the fish was freshly caught.

“In retrospect, Louie Spray’s world record musky is likely the most scrutinized musky ever caught. Some may never want to believe in the musky and, perhaps, that goes with the territory whenever one talks about such a fantastic accomplishment or happening. However, the fact remains that Louie Spray’s 1949 world record musky is exceptionally well documented and the NFWFHF is confident that the fish was as big as claimed,” concluded the hall of fame document.

Former hall of fame historian Larry Ramsell who said he resigned when he discovered Spray’s fish would not be disqualified. Ramsell was widely quoted as saying: “Every single member of the hall of fame board is a local (Hayward) businessman who has a vested interest in keeping that record were it’s at.” Ramsell says the group will resubmit their evidence to the hall soon.

On the other hand, another WRMA member, Pete Maina, is a Hayward resident whose personal relationships with local anglers and the hall has been at best strained for years. Maina is a muskie fishing guide in Hayward and a self-promoter who would put Louis Spray’s legendary self-promotion to shame.

Gotta love those muskie anglers, eh?