Summer. It just doesn’t seem to be over. Neither is the fishing season. Even though I can’t chase trout, which has been my primary focus this season, I can switch to different pursuits.
Shhhhhh, don’t tell anyone! Lake Harriet in South Minneapolis is one of the best places to land a monster muskie from shore. I often times chase them in my boat with big muskie rods, and fancy electronics, but today I wanted to get back to the basics and wade this sandy milfoil flat with the long rod. The Minneapolis city lakes are the best muskie lakes in the state. I’ve fished most of the top lakes all across the state and I still have yet to find one that surpasses this “urban” fishery. It produces 50″+ muskies, 7lb largemouth and 10lb + walleyes if you know where to look. These lakes have a small cult of loyal fishermen, but generally receive little pressure compared with other lakes. Most people don’t want to bring their big boats here due to the “trolling motor only” policy. This morning I was the lone fisherman on Lake Harriet.
Low 80′s and bluebird skies aren’t what I expect this time of year, and certainly won’t help the bite, but fish when you can! I didn’t have a lot of time to fish, so I moved quickly casting a large clouser and a medium split. I had low expectations based upon the weather conditions and the nature of this endeavor. The fish of 10,000 casts, easily becomes the fish of 40,000 casts on the fly rod, it just isn’t a high percentage deal. I covered a few hundred yards of weed flats casting to 6″ to 4 feet of water, no fish were spotted and I hadn’t even hooked up with a bonus bass to make things interesting.
I was down to my final 10 casts, beginning to repeat the familiar, “just one more cast” mantra that we all play in our heads. I thought I was snagged and pulled the line tight to reveal something all together different:
I didn’t even see the fish follow or hit for that matter, but the inadvertent hookset made the fish angry. Game On! It wasn’t the longest fight I’d ever had with a muskie, but it was a good one, the fish got partially airborne a few times to reveal itself as a respectable fish!
Catching a muskie in a city lake always attracts a crowd. The citizens of Minneapolis are always surprised, and slightly horrified to think that these “things” swim in “their” lake near their jogging path. Fortunately for me, one young woman was nice enough to take some “slightly less than professional” pics of me attempting to subdue the beast. I wish I could have done a better “muskie guy” pose, but this will have to do to capture the moment.
Want to stick your hand in there and see what happens?
Here’s what’s left of my fly!
I tried to get the fish up against the 8 wt. fly rod for a length measurement. Not the 50″+ fish that you die for as a muskie angler, but I think this fish will just touch 48″ a rock solid muskie by all standards, and a blast on the fly! I’d love to see this fish come December after it put on the pre-winter feedbag.