Muskie Marks Wisconsin Fishing Musky Guide Service for Lake Redstone, Castle Rock Flowage, Lake Petenwell Flowage and the Wisconsin River. Fishing reports, musky fishing articles, muskie fishing tips and musky fishing news with professional Wisconsin fishing guide Mark Saemisch.

Fishing Tips & Articles
by Fishing Guide Mark Saemisch aka "Muskie Mark"

C.P.R.
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Tis the season to be in a hurry! I’m not talking about driving to the boat landing fast or flying across the lake at top speed. I’m going to talk about what I consider to be the most important topic on musky fishing during this time of year. C.P.R. Catch, Photograph and Release. Now for most of you who musky fish you know the importance of catch and release. How ever we will go over a few things to help everyone, even the avid musky hunter.

It costs $12.00 for each musky stocked. Out of a thousand fish you may have any where from 6 to 50 percent survive. So splitting the difference each fish costs about $43.00 at age two. Then about 75 percent get thrown back as adults, according to studies done in Ohio. This makes each fish cost $57.00 each and as they keep getting taken out of the lakes the totals keep growing. So to keep a 500 acre lake stocked at one fish per acre, it’s like spending $28000.00 for 500 fish. A ratio of about one fish per acre is considered about right for healthy fish. At this ratio is where muskies got the nickname, the fish of ten thousand casts. Also I would like to mention that it takes around 8 to 10 years to grow a 40 incher. This is equivalent to a 20” bass for our area. A 20 inch Bass is nice to catch but 24 to 26 is a trophy for the area as a 50 + musky is a trophy for a lot of people. Being a musky guide I throw back 50 inchers. The world record is over 60 inches. For every person the magic number may be different. Now days if you want a mount on the wall you can have a replica made from length and girth measurements along with a picture. It makes sense to throw back after looking at the length of time and amount of money it takes to get a trophy

After looking at why it’s important to do C.P.R., I would like to discuss reasons why this time of year can be so hard on the muskies when we catch them. It is said that a lot of pressure on the water, puts stress on the fish. Stress effects feeding pattern and fish need to feed to be healthy. Pressure can come in many forms, Fishermen, jet skies, tour boats, water skiers, other fish and the biggest culprit is heat. During July and August the water temps get into the 80s. A lot of people will not fish during these times, because they do not want to hurt these fish. To see a fish follow your lure and not hit makes you think.

(Why did that fish waste all of its energy to follow my lure and not hit?) The answer is easy. If you are reeling as fast as you can or even trolling, it is easy for this fish to keep up with your lure in the water. The fish is just waiting for the right time to strike. When a musky wants to it can have a burst speed of thirty miles an hour or better with one flick of its tail. This is the beginning of where a musky starts to use up its energy in extremely large amounts. At this point it already would have been over if it were eating a bait fish. This is why it puts everything into the strike to stun or kill when it hits. But if your lure is what it hit then the fight has just begun and now the musky has to expend more energy. To improperly release a musky is equivalent to having a high school wrestler go a few periods with a guy from the old folk’s home, and then you don’t feed the old guy or help him while he gets his wind back, if he can. Now throw extreme heat into the mix and you could have disaster.

How to properly handle these fish from beginning to end is what I’m going to explain in detail. First of all you need to use the right equipment. In this heat you want to net the fish while it is still green, so you don’t tire the fish out too much. In order to do this you need to get the fish to the boat fast and with out as much fight. You will need to have a stout rod of about six to seven feet long, which is made for musky fishing. On this rod you need a reel with line to match. I like the Abu Garcia C6500. This reel should have one coat of electrical tape on it for a base. This will keep the no stretch line that you will need from slipping on the reel. For the line I like to use 80 lb. Power Pro. I then tie on a good wire leader made of 175 pound leader material. I use a Polymer knot and retie often when using a jerk bait. The constant jerking of the line will break it at the knot if you are coming in contact with a lot of weeds throughout the day.

This combo will allow you to bring the fish to the boat quickly by being able to be the one in control. You need to power the fish in during hot conditions, in order to net the fish green. Once you get the fish to the boat you should have a partner to net the fish. This also helps keep the time of the fight to a minimum.

Do not pull the fish up by the boat. As it will probably try to jump and thrash in the air. You should pull the fish down into the water and make a big circle. The net man should insert the net into the water when you are heading towards him with the fish. As he nets the fish he should get the net around the fish then drop the handle down into the boat while leaving the net in the water over the side of the boat. This is important to keep the fish in the water. You want to use a big net that is made for musky fishing. The One I use and recommend is the Frabile Power Catch. This net is big enough to net me and I’m 6’ 4” and run about 240lbs. The other thing that this net offers is that it has a safe coating for the fish. This coating does two things. It keeps the net from tangling in the gills or the lure. It also will not cut the fish if it is heavy. You also won’t see a fish eat through this net. Go ahead and laugh, but I’ve seen this happen on other nets.

Sometimes when these fish hit regular netting material with an open mouth and a little force, they will go right through it. At this point your line is going through the net and out the other side with a lively fish on the other end. You do not want this to happen. It does make for a pretty good story. Now that you have the fish in the net you need the proper procedure and tools for unhooking the fish. Keep the fish in the net while in the water. You will need a good pair of heavy duty needle nose pliers and heavy duty side cutters. Another good tool is a jaw spreader. Grab the lower jaw by the gill plate underneath with bent fingers only. Do this firmly. Lift just the head out of the water a little and stick the jaw spreaders in the fish’s mouth. Then unhook the lure with the needle nose pliers. If the hook is going to come out hard, then you will clip the barb off with the side cutters to remove the hook quickly.

Set the fish back in the water and measure if you need to. I only measure for clients when they ask or if it’s really big. If you need a picture make sure the camera is ready to go. The other person should understand how to work the camera. Carefully grab the lower jaw again with one hand and hold the other hand about mid way back on the fish. Raise the fish out horizontally and get the picture. Then set the fish in the water gently and let it go. Make sure that it swims off ok. If it doesn’t take off right away and you leave, it may get hit by a boat prop. During heavy wave action you don’t want to hold the fish in the water long. Let the fish acclimate to the waves on its own as much as you can. Holding it in the waves can tire the fish out.

Well I hope that this helps you out during the hot times on the water. Please enjoy the sport of musky fishing, but protect it also. Practice C.P.R.

If you have any questions you can call me at 1 608 415 1231.

Mark Saemisch
Muskie Mark’s Guide service
www.muskiemarks.com
President of Muskies Matter of Sauk and Juneau counties

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