Musky Killers!



Catch, Photo, Release (CPR) is the common practice of musky anglers. The results of CPR have become obvious, more and bigger musky! CPR sounds easy, but even the most experienced musky hunter will tell you it can be difficult at times. Poor handling of a musky can defeat your best intentions of a safe release. Basic CPR can help ensure your musky-pike-walleye lives to grow and fight another day. Please help educate others on Quick-Safe-Release methods.

A common practice!

imagesCARRMB9H kill

It is still not unusual for people to use gaff hooks and clubs to subdue muskies either in the boat or on the side of a boat.  Things like a gaff/bat combination called WAK-N-GAFF  was advertised back in a 1990 Musky Hunter magazine…..


You would think the editor of a magazine dedicated  to the preservation of muskies would have stopped an ad like this from running.  What was he thinking? Release practices was in full practice when the ad ran!

The type of novice buying and using such a stupid piece of equipment surely had or has no idea when to use it,  killing many muskies for no reason at all. Using things like this isn’t a whole lot different than shooting a fish with a gun at boat side, which is still going on!




Here are a few facts you should know;

According to the old FIELD $ STREAM magazine contest records from 1935-1961, there were only five (5) Muskies over forty pounds caught on live bait (suckers, minnows & chubs) out of the 295 muskies recorded.

Way back in the day, a common method to fish for Muskies was to use Suckers for bait. When a Musky did latch on to the sucker, the recommended way to make sure that you would not loose it, would be to wait for the musky to turn the Sucker around in its jaws to swallow it head first with the scales. Sometimes, it would take an hour or so depending on the size of the Sucker and the size of the Musky. After setting the hook and fighting the fish, many Muskies died on the bottom of boat because of the damage caused by trying to get the hook out of its belly.  The  excessive time out of the water, bleeding and shock also killed many muskies later on, even if released, as well.  Today, there are many people that are  using  SUCKERS, gold fish, pan fish,  and even small walleyes to fish with! I have seen some jerks actually chumming with cut bait and dead minnows, as well.  Talk about hard up! All of this kind of stupid activity must end!

 There is no proof that fishing with live bait is  more productive than casting or trolling with artificial lures. Fact is, there are more trophy muskies caught by people that don’t fish with live bait.

Here is a Musky Hunter that knows what he is talking about, for a change!

A few reasons why I think the use of live bait for muskie should be banned in NW

1) It is a tradition in other
jurisdictions, it is not a tradition here

2) Improper use of live bait (waiting too long to set the hook)
results in high mortality. There are no regulations around the proper use of
quick strike rigs, nor is it even illegal to use a single hook sucker rig. I can
buy them today at Bobbys Bait Shop here in Vermilion Bay.

3) A quick strike rig used improperly is not
much better than a single hook in my opinion.

4) Many waters here are managed as a trophy fishery. It is
foolish to allow a method such as live bait that has such a bad track record to
be used on trophy waters.

5) Transferring
adult fish (large suckers) from one water body to another has the potential to
transfer unwanted disease from one area to another.

6) With the one rod rule here in Ontario, there is the
temptation to use a second casting rod while soaking a sucker over the boat. I
have heard many reputable reports that this is already happening……..I find
this unacceptable.

 Here is a study and confirmation that Sucker fishing does kill Muskies:

During the past couple weeks I’ve had a number of discussions with folks regarding the practice of single hook sucker rigging and improper use of quick strike rigs. Most of us dedicated musky fishermen are aware of this dangerous practice but I’m amazed at the amount of anglers who still persist in this tactic. I hate to paint with a broad brush but it seems most common among people who only fish muskies in the fall during what they consider “musky season”. Sadly there are still some guides who insist on telling clients that a fish released with a hook buried in its guts will be fine as long as they cut the leader as short as possible and then let the fish swim away. Hard to believe that such “logic” still exists out there but I can assure you it does. Here’s a copy of some factual evidence produced by Wisconsin DNR fisheries supervisor Terry Margineau about an actual study that was conducted while analyzing delayed mortality in muskies that were gut hooked with single hook rigs.

Effects of a Single-hook Live Bait Angling Technique on Muskellunge Survival
Terry L. Margenau
Use of live bait is a popular method to fish muskellunge during fall months. However, muskellunge anglers have expressed concern that certain live bait techniques may cause muskellunge mortality to be unacceptably high. This study monitored the survival of adult muskellunge (31.5 to 42.3 in) for a period up to one year after being angled using a single-hook live bait rig where muskellunge were allowed to swallow the bait prior to hook set. Over a two-year period a total of 40 muskellunge (20 fish/year) were field transferred into a 1-acre lined hatchery pond in early September. After allowing muskellunge several weeks to acclimate to the hatchery pond, angling was initiated using live suckers (approximately 12 in) with a 10/0 single hook attached to the suckers snout and suspended from a bobber. A total of 22 muskellunge were hooked with the single-hook rig. Hooked fish were landed as quickly as possible, inspected for hooking location and injury, and released after cutting the leader. Average time from a strike until hook set averaged 17 minutes. Play-time (hook set to landing) averaged less than one minute, and handling time averaged approximately 5 minutes. Immediate mortality (first 24 h after hooking) of muskellunge was zero. Short-term delayed mortality (24 h until ice formation; approximately 45 d) was 22%. Cumulative mortality (hooking until one year) was 83%. Results from this study have several implications for management agencies and anglers. First, all fish hooked appeared healthy after being caught and released, thus leading an angler to believe that the release was successful. Second, delayed and long-term mortality appeared related to the extent of internal damage suffered from the hook. Finally, while mortality to one year is unacceptable for fisheries that rely upon successful release, not all fish perished. Those fish surviving to one year maintained good relative weight values and appeared externally healthy.


Best Ever Advice is to keep them in the water, especially if you are fishing alone. However you say Musky, Muskie, Muskellunge they can’t grow any bigger if you kill a trophy fish. This video is proof positve CPR works. Major Muskie clubs recommend Catch Photo Release


Trolling is a better choice  than Sucker fishing!

One summer, I was trolling my favorite lure through a known hot spot. As I made my way there, I noticed a couple of casters working the area over pretty good. Undaunted, I continued my trolling run along a sharp drop-off, and connected with a  30 pounder in an area they just vacated. Trolling put my lure in the strike zone, where casting was not able to.

With few exceptions, casting is most effective for water under 10 feet. Anglers cast to specific areas: rock piles, weed patches, etc. Trolling is most effective when fish move into deeper water, cruising open water, especially when there are suspended baitfish. The deep water between points and sunken islands are favourite and productive trolling areas.

In the spring, before the weed growth, fish move off the shelves into deeper water, where they are vulnerable to trolling along the drop-offs.

In the summer, Muskie will suspend in deeper water, where trolling deep diving crankbaits works well.  These fish will move to ambush areas in shallow water, for the casters.

Sharp drop-offs attract baitfish along the face of the wall, in turn attracting suspended Muskie to these prime feeding areas. Trolling is the most efficient way to present the lure to these fish.

Fall is the classic time for trolling. The colder water moves the forage base to  structure in deeper water, and away from dying weed beds. The deep Muskie move up to the structure to feed on the bait fish before winter while the shallow fish follow the schools of  baitfish, to feed. Look for deeper structures adjacent to the dying weed beds, and deeper rockpiles and points.

Musky  National Anthem! (Release Me)


For I don’t love you anymore
To waste our lives would be a sin!
Release me and let me love again

I have found a new love, dear
And I will always want her near
Her lips are warm while yours are cold
Release me my darling, let me go

Please release me, let me go
For I don’t love you anymore
To waste my life would be a sin
So release me and let me love again

Please release me can’t you see
You’d be a fool to cling to me
To live a life to bring us pain
So release me and let me love again…..Let me love! Let me Go!

This is what one dork said about Musky Fishing: 

I launched out of the Alter Rd. launch on Thursday & took the long way out to the river. As I was passing by the burnt out marina there were 2 guys docked there at the end in a tan Lund. The one guy asks if I was going out jigging for walleye. I told him I might after I’m done fishing for musky. He says to me, “Make sure you kill those musky!” I told him I strictly catch & release on musky. He replies, “If you really loved fish you would kill any musky you caught, damn things are eating all the perch & walleye out there“.

WOW!  What would happen it all Pan fisherman thought like that??

The myth that motor trolling for Muskies is hurting the Musky population is stupid and wrong! The idea that it is too easy a method to catch a Musky is total “BULL SHIT!”

If there is one thing I learned about how to catch a Musky, it’s this:  There is no one method that can be used to catch Muskies consistently, and anyone that says there is, is full of it! I don’t just make a statement like that without some proof ! Over my many years of fishing for Muskies , I have used every method known to the human race to capture a trophy large enough to mount! (30 lbs +)   It doesn’t take a mental giant to know that you can cover more water, with more rods,  much easier by trolling. However, that is where any advantage ends!  Musky hunters that cast can use some tricks that trollers can’t. They can cast where the big girls hang out, like drop offs next to weed beds, or openings  and pockets in a large weed bed. They can use figure eights, or change quickly to another rod with a different lure. Casters can work shorelines, small bays, inlets, shallower fish holding boulders and rock bars etc. How about those stumpy areas? Try trolling those areas, which account for most of the legals caught every year.

Many of your better Musky lakes have banned motor trolling anyway, and the ones that are left are  far and few between! Open water trolling is only effective on some lakes, and certainly not enough  to bother anyone!

The authorities should spend  more of their time worrying  about SUCKER FISHERMAN and poachers!  They probably kill more small Muskies than all the  motor trollers combined.

 There should  also be more attention given towards the polluters and  the boaters that use our great Musky lakes for their play grounds. I’m talking about the nut jobs that disrupt the natural habitat with their jet skies, water skiing and speed boating!

My  final thoughts about releasing  Muskies:

You may be getting tired of hearing about release, but with the pressure of Musky tournaments, more and better equipment, media hype and more and better musky hunters, everyone must strongly consider releasing his/her fish to maintain and improve the musky fishing we have today. How can anyone KILL something that has fought so valliantly and given so mush pleasure? If you want a 20  pounder, we have to release 10 pounders. If you want a 30 pound trophy, you must release 20 pounders,  and if a 50 pound beast is what you are after, you must consider releasing 30 and 40 pounders! If we don’t, soon there will be no pounders!

Except for Sucker fishing and netting, I really don’t have a problem with any method, as long as it is legal….. I do troll on lakes where it is legal, but I only do so as a relief from casting.  Generally, I troll later in the day when my arms and legs are about to fall off!  To me, it’s a way to keep a line in the water while I sit on my ass to take a much needed break!