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Every year I set a new goal for myself; catch a 20lb+ steelhead, a carp, a pike, a golden trout, Bull trout over 30", etc. - all on the fly of course.

This year I'm going for the Tiger Muskie! There is a lake not to far from where I live that has them. Minimum retainable size is 36". Most are between 50 - 65". I know this because I've seen the results via pictures. Those however, were caught by big plugs gear fishing.

I've heard, in certain circles, of a fly that works well. Pike flies are a "no go" from what I hear - why????

Anyway, PLEASE tell me there is someone here willing to share any info.
 

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Happy to be home in the NW
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Plugs work because they are BIG. People in the midwest are successful at catching them on fly. Like steelhead they are a fish of a thousand casts, even with plugs. They will follow a fly within a few feet of the boat and not take, similar to pike, although even tougher. Cast something big and keep casting it over and over, working the shallows and weed areas. Strip fast, two handed, the faster the better. Check out some midwest sites for some info. I know some crazy muskie fishermen, that is all they fish for now, in MN that have ten or more rods devoted just to muskies. Once you start, you can't stop.
 

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Had a friend in your area catch one on a large articulated leech. Probably in the same lake you fish. He lives in the Spokane area I don't remember the name of the lake. He said Large Bunny Leeches and Large articulated Leeches work as well plugs. Have Fun. Make sure you use 30 lb plus leader on your articulated fly or steel leader and at least a six inches of very heavy leader or steel leader immediately near the hook.

Keith
 

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Fly Guy Eat Pie
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Also, please handle these fish very carefully. Tiger Muskies are a very limited fishery in the state of WA and there have been alot of talk about how we can preserve that. Handling the fish goes similar to Steelhead, don't exhaust the fish by fighting it for too long. I know these are very hardy fish but I've seen lots of pictures where peopel are holding them up by their gills and talks of fighting these fish on light tackle and such.

and they supposedly don't taste good...so i don't see why retention is even an option.
 

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Steelhead-a-holic
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Just FYI - the WA state record is in the 50" range. That's a BIG musky. You average in any Washington lake will probably hover around 40" if it's being continually planted.

That's still a big fish. ;)

Ditto what others have said. I do most of my fishing for them (muskies, not specifically tigers) in an Ontario lake known for trophy and have had giants (around 60") that followed to the boat before turning off.

Big flashy flies work. With their razor-sharp teeth, you want a durable fly that has a large presence in the water with as little weight as possible. Oh, and a really strong hook.

Dahlberg divers work, as do matuka'd bunny leeches. Try mixing some fishhair with your favorite durable synthetic flash and make it look like a 9" perch or sucker and you'll be in business.

You'll need a 9wt rod to cast these monstrosities, and finding the fish (just like steelhead) is Goal #1. You're likely to get a follow or two 'cause they like to check out anything moving around in their territory. Once you find one you can go thru the gamut of flies and retrieves to try to get them to bite. Guaranteed to drive you nucking futz, which is probably part of why fishing for them is so addictive.

There's also a book out about flyfishing for muskies - "Muskies on the Fly" - a very good read if you seriously want to do this to yourself.

Good Luck!

Brian

PS Don't forget a good set of long-nose pliers.
 

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Plugs work because they are BIG. People in the midwest are successful at catching them on fly. Like steelhead they are a fish of a thousand casts, even with plugs. They will follow a fly within a few feet of the boat and not take, similar to pike, although even tougher. Cast something big and keep casting it over and over, working the shallows and weed areas. Strip fast, two handed, the faster the better. Check out some midwest sites for some info. I know some crazy muskie fishermen, that is all they fish for now, in MN that have ten or more rods devoted just to muskies. Once you start, you can't stop.
My brother was a full time / is a part time muskie guide in Minnesota and Illinois and he tought me a technique when you get those followers up to the boat that won't bite. Once you've got your bait to the boat with a fish trailing, start a series of figure 8's with your rod tip in the water right next to the boat. You will only have a couple of feet of line out when you do this. Most of the time the fish will continue to follow the figure 8's and many times will strike. I always give him a hard time when he does this because catching a 50" fish with 2 feet of line out a foot from the boat seems a little odd, but when you've thrown a 3 pound lure all day you'll do anything for a strike.
 

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Some have had success at the evergreen reservoir in the quincy wildlife park. I don't know what the recent numbers have been. You might check out the WashingtonLakes site for recent reports and possibly other information.
 

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Steelhead-a-holic
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My brother was a full time / is a part time muskie guide in Minnesota and Illinois and he tought me a technique when you get those followers up to the boat that won't bite. Once you've got your bait to the boat with a fish trailing, start a series of figure 8's with your rod tip in the water right next to the boat. You will only have a couple of feet of line out when you do this. Most of the time the fish will continue to follow the figure 8's and many times will strike. I always give him a hard time when he does this because catching a 50" fish with 2 feet of line out a foot from the boat seems a little odd, but when you've thrown a 3 pound lure all day you'll do anything for a strike.
Yeah, the figure 8 move works. Forgot about that in my previous post. Doesn't work so good with the sun @ your back :)beathead:), but if you've got a follower do a large slow figure 8 by the side of the boat. Slow because it's like leading a dog on a leash - those big Muskys have to be able to turn and follow it to stay interested. Minor variations in speed (let them almost catch it then speed up a bit) work too. Like teasing a cat with a string. It's hard to believe they will eat it 2' off the rod tip, but they do it time and again.

Damn, I miss those beasts. Here's one from Sept 9th this year. The two towel-heads are my dad and our guide Ron.
 

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Native Trout Fan
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I was lucky enough to help the WDFW electro survey a Spokane area lake a few years ago. We didn't see any even close to 50" and from what they were telling me the growth rates aren't that hot in the two Spokane area lakes. Hauser in Idaho might be a good bet.....if you are willing to drive Curlew was the one they shocked the monsters out of.... But you have a better chance of catching a scary big Northern Pike in the Spokane area than Tiger Musky, just my opinion. Feel free to PM me if you want to know more about the TM or NP. Good luck!
 

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If you have any questions regarding Muskie fishing, please feel free to PM me. I used to be a Muskie guide in Ontario for quite a few years and have learned ALOT about these fish. I'd be more than happy to help out!

I am glad to hear you all have some of these magnificent fish! Bar none, they are the best looking Esox out there! Absoulutely gorgeous fish! :thumb:

Just a side note........50" to 65" fish are GIANT! I have a 51" Tiger to my credit and a personal best 53 1/2" barred Muskie, the Tiger would have been the 20lb. C&R record if I documented it. I have had clients boat 54"+ fish and I have seen two fish pushing 60"! I say this not to brag but to say that a true, legitimate mid 50" or bigger fish is an absolute horse! Very, Very, Very few of those fish around!
 

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Yeah, the figure 8 move works. Forgot about that in my previous post. Doesn't work so good with the sun @ your back :)beathead:), but if you've got a follower do a large slow figure 8 by the side of the boat. Slow because it's like leading a dog on a leash - those big Muskys have to be able to turn and follow it to stay interested. Minor variations in speed (let them almost catch it then speed up a bit) work too. Like teasing a cat with a string. It's hard to believe they will eat it 2' off the rod tip, but they do it time and again.

Damn, I miss those beasts. Here's one from Sept 9th this year. The two towel-heads are my dad and our guide Ron.
Just wanted to add something...............................

If you have a GOOD fish, one in the 50"+ plus range, forget the figure 8! Rather than a figure 8, make a big oval. If you are in the front of the boat, bring the lure/fly around the front, to the other side of the boat, make the arc and then come back around to the other side and repeat. As you are nearing the arc, dip the rod thus driving the lure/fly deeper and as you enter the turn, raise the rod, thus bringing the lure/fly nearer the surface. This gives the impression of a baitfish that may escape.

The reason for the arc and not the figure 8? A good fish, 50"+ variety, has a very difficult time making the number of tight, narrow turns that a figure 8 requires. When the fish can no longer make these turns, it is required to go deeper and swing wider to turn. As the fish does this, it gets further from the lure/fly and often times loses sight of it because we are at the opposite end of the figure 8. Once one of these good fish loses sight of their "prey", they lose interest and often sink to the depths. Usually never to be seen again, at least that day! :beathead:
 

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On Tapps, I get em on size 6 & 8 muddler minnows... They love those things and the fight will remind you of something you'd see on Discovery channel!
 

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"Chasing Riseforms"
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Just wanted to add something...............................

If you have a GOOD fish, one in the 50"+ plus range, forget the figure 8! Rather than a figure 8, make a big oval. If you are in the front of the boat, bring the lure/fly around the front, to the other side of the boat, make the arc and then come back around to the other side and repeat. As you are nearing the arc, dip the rod thus driving the lure/fly deeper and as you enter the turn, raise the rod, thus bringing the lure/fly nearer the surface. This gives the impression of a baitfish that may escape.

The reason for the arc and not the figure 8? A good fish, 50"+ variety, has a very difficult time making the number of tight, narrow turns that a figure 8 requires. When the fish can no longer make these turns, it is required to go deeper and swing wider to turn. As the fish does this, it gets further from the lure/fly and often times loses sight of it because we are at the opposite end of the figure 8. Once one of these good fish loses sight of their "prey", they lose interest and often sink to the depths. Usually never to be seen again, at least that day! :beathead:
And to think I get an adrenalin rush just watching a coho bulging and following my fly before it strikes .... :eek:
 

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Eyes to the sky...
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My dad in the Adirondacks is a muskie lunatic. He got a 40" out of a kayak. He said it was unreal. He ties huge flies that look like a Vegas showgirl with a hook that have proven to be pretty consistent. I'd like to get out to Mayfield and Riffe this summer and see if they produce out here.
 

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And to think I get an adrenalin rush just watching a coho bulging and following my fly before it strikes .... :eek:
It is an AWESOME rush!

Although I have yet to experience it, I can not wait until I have the opportunity to fish surface flies for Silvers!

One of the reasons I loved guiding for Muskie and having at least one person throw top water when conditions were favorable; nothing like seeing 6' plus grown men quivering at the knees and shaking like a leaf when that 50"er is pushing a 8" tall wake behind their surface bait and the dorsal fin is out of the water.

Then the dorsal disappears............................then BOOM! Like a bomb when off and there is a bath tub size hole in the water and your lure/fly is gone. SET THE HOOK!:D
 

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Still truckless now farther away
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What I want to know is these fish grow this large this fast they must eat like crazy. that means they have lots of trash fish or pest fish to eat and so what happens when they're really hungry again and the trash fish are gone or hard to find? They never would eat the game fish Right? and they wouldn't eat the game fish first, then the trash fish? How do they tell when the fish is a hatchery raised fish and that we paid to raise it, so they shouldn't eat it? We pay an awfull lot to raise fish to replace fish that are being depleted from lakes and streams. I think that from what I've heard that we are paying to feed the tiger muskies and in cases where they have escaped the lakes they were planted in they may be eating native fish in the rivers. I haven't inquired of the WDFW as of yet but I don't know if any other explanation makes sense. The WDFWshould know that we alrerady have commoarants and caspian tern's and squaw fish and seals to keep our fish populations down we really didn't need the tiger muskie. Maybe some of you want to catch them since they 're so big,but I'd much rather have the native fish do well and go to where muskie are to fish for them. That's all that makes sense to me, the old thinkng fish and game people have done enough damage to our natural resourses. They need to do something that works!!! And soon!!! Bob here I rant again!
 
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