Scientific name: Esox masquinongy (Esox comes from the old name for pike in Europe and masquinongy comes from the Cree “mashk” meaning deformed and “kinonge” is a pike.
Meet the muskellunge—a lean, mean fightin’ machine that’s the most sought‐after trophy fish in Wisconsin. Named the official state fish in 1955, this ferocious member of the pike family is often implicated in fish stories as “the one that got away.” Legends about Old Sawtooth, Big Max, the Terminator, Scarface and other monster muskellunge lurking in Wisconsin lakes are told by seasoned northwoods veterans to wide‐eyed novice anglers. The feared muskellunge has even been the star of a full‐length feature film entitled Muskie Madness (the title was later changed to the less ambiguous Blood Hook). The muskellunge also plays a starring role in Wisconsin’s tourism industry. Wisconsin offers some of the best muskellunge fishing on the planet; yet it still takes the average angler more than 100 hours to catch a legal muskellunge. Hooking a muskellunge is a first‐class fresh‐water thrill no angler will ever forget.
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
Bureau of Fisheries Management
Despite the vast array of options the northwoods fly angler is blessed with, Musky have taken center stage in the fly fishing community over the past few years. There’s something slightly twisted about devoting yourself to such a notoriously fickle pursuit, but the reward for spending countless hours on the water is well worth the price of admission. These river monsters can be truly unpredictable at times, but their devoted (and maybe slightly demented) followers know that time on the water is key. You have to be there, with your eyes wide open, when it goes down- ’cause you can’t make them bite, but when they decide to you’re unlikely to ever forget it.
Throwing big flies on big fly rods all day can be a bit like running a marathon. If you give in to that initial adrenaline and get too crazy right away you could very well be pretty burnt out halfway through. The trick is to pace yourself in a way that allows you to cover water consistently throughout the trip. There will be some silence, but there could just as well be some chaos- and that’s what it’s all about!
Taking advantage of the services of a river guide is a great way for anglers of all skill levels to absorb some of the experience and information that only comes from time on the water. Time on the water is really what its all about because this is a game in which you just can’t say what will happen next- but you won’t see it from the couch! I firmly believe that sharing the knowledge I’ve gained in this slightly obsessive pursuit is what guiding is really all about and I enjoy it immensely!