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south WI opener questions

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The muskie opener in the southern half of WI is May 3, and I would like to fish skies on the Wisconsin river, but I have a couple questions. I have never fished for muskie except once last fall with a fly rod, which I plan to continue to use until I catch my first one, but anyways I don't know a whole lot about muskies.

First off, with the season opener so early here is there a reason thinking about the future of the muskie that I should wait to fish muskie till a later date? I don't want to be catching prespawn fish but don't know much exactly about there spawning time periods, locations, etc. which I know depends on a lot of factors like the weather. I have a temp. guage to have an idea of where the water temps are at.

Secondly, for postspawn muskies in a river where should I look? How active are postspawn fish in general if they have just got done spawning? Muskies feeding actively in shallow current? Warmwater in bays? Probably both? Lure recomendations? Topwater good early on? (I have a 9 weight fly rod but will be out with a guy with conventional tackle) By the way, the section I am on has a lot of dams, areas with lots of shallow riffles, slow water, backwaters, most evertying, and the river is generally really dirty in the summer but the other day I saw probably a couple feet of clarity.

Thanks for any help

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If I was you I would buy a muskie rod and reel. I'm sure it would be fun to catch a muskie on a fly rod, but it may not be the best for the fish. My concern would be fighting a fish too long with a fly rod and ehausting the fish. Muskies are tough fish but they are more fragile than what most people think. Unless you are pretty confident you can yank one in with a fly rod in less than a minute, then more power to ya. My first really big muskie that I ever caught was on a walleye rod (6lb test) in the Miss. river that took me 1 hour and 15 minutes to land. The reason it took so long was because I was fishing from shore and the current was moving pretty fast. Once I got the fish somewhat close to shore it would go for another run back into the current where I could barely move the fish with 6 lb. test line. This was an upper 40" inch fish that I never got a measurement on and had a very nice girth from what I'm guessing was full of eggs. That fish was caught in May before muskie season. At the time I was happy that I caught the fish, but now that I'm more experienced at fishing for muskies, I would never want to put another big and old fish to that stage of exhaustion again.

The muskies will be in the same areas as the walleye, pike, bass, and panfish in the river systems. Look for deep water holes adjacent to the current breaks and slack water and you should find fish. They may be shallow too, but should be near those eddies. Good luck and use a leader to prevent break offs.

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Why wouldn't he be able to land a muskie quickly with a fly rod? He won't be using 6lb test, he'll likely be using around 50lb toothy critter wire leader. A 9wt is plenty stiff (it's what I use for muskies and barracuda).

I was pretty determined to catch one on a fly rod and I gave up until I was in a bigger boat and could sight fish for 'em. A fly rod is the worst search method for muskies out there, you just can't cover enough water to give yourself a decent percentage chance. You also have to get it closer to them because they won't come from all over for a fly because it doesn't create the necessary commotion. If you can't see them, you're casting blindly all day long, with a 9wt. It's pretty humbling.

Now, I'm mostly talking lakes here. Since you're going the river route, I believe you'll have a way better shot than on a lake, especially one with seams and pockets. I haven't been on a river yet for muskies but desperately want to try this june. I will be bringing my 9wt for this. There is just so little information available on bank fishing rivers for muskies I don't know where to start. I am way better at reading rivers than lakes!

I have had one hit a popper once, and got one to follow that I located before the cast. I now have like 7 muskie casting rods and a few hundred non-fly lures \:\)

Good luck!

You can email me if you wanna talk in more detail.

[email protected]

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