Musky America Magazine October Edition

Musky America Magazine October 2022 Edition Thank you for visiting Musky America Magazine! September brings cooler air and water temperatures. Changes in tactics go hand-in-hand with the change of the season. Season’s end is about a month away. The evening temperatures are already dipping into the 30s and 20s. This issue has information on Turnover and sucker fishing techniqes Stay Safe, You Can’t Catch Musky From The Grave Each day of the Musky season, anglers experience encounters on the water that can provide insights for all of us Musky anglers. We are offering $10.00 for your article. For information about submitting articles for inclusion in Musky America Magazine, please CLICK HERE! Craig Sandell Owner and Fellow Musky Angler The Icons shown here are at the bottom of the Magazine pages. *All Rights Preserved©*

If you find yourself in need of “short-term” medical care for cuts, abrasions, hooks in the hand, and other Musky fishing maladies, this is a great option. Visit the website at Birchwood Family Medicine | Birchwood Direct Primary Care. The Underwater Seasons Craig Sandell © 2010 During the course of the Musky season, every body of water undergoes changes in its water temperature as well as changes in the oxygen that is dissolved in the water. As the underwater seasons change, the Musky react to those changes driven by their need to eat and their need to breath. The successful Musky angler must tune into these changes. He/she must be prepared to be flexible with regard to lure selection as well as conducting a better evaluation of water and weather conditions. Late season fishing can be marked by drastic weather changes and dramatic changes in the condition of the water. As the water begins to warm after the long winter months and as emergent vegetation adds oxygen to the water, Musky become more active and settle into their seasonal patterns.

For the greater part of the Musky season, most bodies of water are locked into the characteristic thermal distribution commonly referred to as the "summer thermal water pattern". The graphic shown here at the left demonstrates this summer thermal pattern. Water at the surface tends to change gradually in water temperature and tends to have higher levels of oxygen than the water layers beneath it. The thermocline is sort of like a buffer area between the warmer surface water and the cooler deeper water. The cooler deeper water tends to have the lowest level of oxygen during this period of time. Musky tend to populate the upper water levels when they are active and the lower water levels when they are inactive. The hotter the top layer of water, the more likely Musky are to seek a comfortable temperature at greater depths. At these greater depths, they are less likely to be aggressively active. As summer transitions to fall and the water looses its heat to the longer cooler evenings, the temperature difference between the thermal layers of the lake become less distinct. Most of the oxygen is still located in the surface layer of the water and Musky tend to be more active during this time. Typically, this time is associated with late August and early September. Temperatures will vary depending upon the geographic location and the depth of the body of water so you should keep a close watch upon the water

that you plan to regularly fish. The graphic at the right will provide you some perspective regarding this gradual shift in water temperatures. Relentlessly, the seasons move on toward fall. The nights get cooler robbing the water of heat as the warming effect of the sun diminishes due to its lower position in the sky. The water temperature tends to equalize the temperature between the upper warmer and more oxygen rich layer and the cooler less oxygen rich lower layer. The thermocline is still in place but as you can see from the graphic at the left the water is on the verge of homogenizing into a uniform temperature distribution. This time is a prime Musky activity window but the window is very short lived. It is very difficult to accurately predict the exact time of this water temperature circumstance. You'll just have to trust to "luck" if you are trying to hit this period on the head. NOTE: One should also remember that, depending on the spring warm up, presummer and Imminent turnover are relatively the same water conditions.Finally, the water succumbs to the persistence of the changing season and "turnover" takes place. The thermocline barrier disappears as the water temperature becomes uniform throughout the body of

water. This is typically a very slow period for Musky activity. The blending of the oxygen rich upper water and the oxygen poor lower water causes the overall oxygen level to be less than what the Musky are used to having. The Musky require time to adjust to the new oxygen level as well as to the fact that they are "stuck" with a uniform lower water temperature. As you might suspect, this is not a good time to Musky fish. Every body of water will experience turnover on its own timetable so it is very hard to predict. If you plan to fish late in the season, you must "keep your finger on the pulse" of the body of water that you plan to fish.The Musky soon acclimate to the changes in the water oxygen levels and the temperature. Around late September or early October the Musky put on their winter feed bag and take advantage of the seasonal movement of forage fish. This is typically the time when you have a better than average chance to tie into a 25 to 45 pound fish. This time of year, however, is not for the "fair weather" Musky angler. You can plan on the weather being wet, cold, snowy and generally miserable.Hopefully, this article has shed some light on the mystery of turnover and its effect upon your chances to have a Musky encounter. As has been said in other articles posted on this website, Musky fishing has a large element of luck associated with any angler success. The best thing you can do is be prepared with as much information as you can muster about the water you are fishing and then trust in the "Musky Spirts" to favor your efforts.

They’re Everywhere… They’re Everywhere By: Craig Sandell © 2012 The changing color of the trees heralds the impending end of Muskie season and the start of the long wait for next year. I was able to steal a long weekend on the Chippewa Flowage from the 24th to the 28th of September. I had every expectation of seeing a Muskie or two even though the time was short because of the time of year. As we who fish for Muskie know, the Muskie tend to put on the feed bag late in the season just after the water turns over; but it is always a good idea to revisit the mechanics of this phenomena. If you have read my article on Understanding Turnover, you know that turnover is the homogenization of the water into a single temperature up and down the water column. When this happens, the dissolved oxygen is also evenly distributed. What this means to fish movement is not always obvious, so it bears elaboration. As we know from the recent study participated in by my good friends John Dettloff and Scott Allen, Muskie, at least on the Chippewa Flowage, tend to spend most of their time in deep water and, only occasionally move shallow. Once the water turns over, the reason for fish to stay in deep water, assuming it is temperature and/or forage related, disappears. Now, Muskie could be anywhere and probably are solely focused on location

based upon available forage. More so than any other time of the year, forage will dictate the presence of Muskie. With that in mind, and after verifying that the lake had turned over, the hunt for this little 3-day excursion took on a new tactical approach. The location and concentration of the forage fish became extremely important. Combined with the turn-over, was the gradual dropping of the water level on the Chippewa Flowage. This accelerated the mild current that moves the ‘flotsam and jettison’ upon which forage fish feed through the ‘neck down’ areas. It soon became obvious that this was the key to an emerging pattern of Muskie location. Along with John Dettloff, we consulted our maps of the water to determine the likely areas that would be ‘high percentage’ given this fall pattern. On Saturday evening, John and I set off for one of these spots and put our attack plan into action. With a pattern like this, one never knows where the fish are likely to reside on a piece of structure, so the method of area coverage also became very important. Our approach was, given the structure we were fishing, to accomplish multiple drifts of the area in overlapping patterns. We reasoned that this would allow us to cover the area efficiently and fish it clean. Lure selection was another variable to the Muskie equation. We looked at the recent catches and recognized that early evening success was vested in the use of jerk baits. John and I loaded our rods with a Bobbie and Striker, respectively, and began to systematically execute the plan of attack.

The evening shadows announced the setting of the sun as we made our 3rd drift of the area. As John and I discussed the events of the day and the ‘general meaning of life’ (the way most Muskie anglers do when fishing methodically), a Muskie came up behind my Striker and timidly embraced the rear treble hook in his mouth. To be honest, I wasn’t even aware of him until I executed the next Jerk of my lure. The Muskie swirled on the water, and feeling the hook began to run in an attempt to free himself. I was busy fighting the fish and only got a glimpse of the fish’s head and neck area; however, John saw the whole animal and, recognizing that it was in the 25-pound class, encouraged me to go to free spool and thumb the line. About that time, this beast rose by the side of the boat, turned his head away from the boat and straightened the treble hook. Surely, I was disappointed that this fine Muskie won the fight, but the action did confirm the soundness of the attack plan. We set up another drift and began to work the area again. This was the 4th drift of the area and about three quarters of the way through, John’s Bobbie was struck by a small Muskie. Recognizing that it was undersized, John shook the rod and executed a "fish friendly" release. That was the end of our adventure for that evening. We did another couple of drifts to no avail. On Sunday, I got a late start on the water. It was already past sunset when I arrived on our spot for the evening. Once again, lure selection was an important part of the Muskie equation. Even though the water had turned over, surface lures were still effective after sunset. I loaded my rod with a creeper and began a drifting pattern over a shallow shelf area. On our first drift, a Muskie swirl up behind the lure, reinforcing my confidence in the attack plan. I finished up the first drift and set up for our second

drift. This drift did not yield anything, however, still confident in the approach and in the area, I set up for the third drift. Just as transitioning from 6 feet onto a 3-foot stump shelf, my creeper abruptly stopped plopping its way through the water as the result of an aggressive clobbering from a Muskie. I pulled back on the rod to set the hook and began to reel in to keep a tight line. As the fish came close to the boat, it was illuminated by my head lamp and I could see that it was a very respectable fish. He tugged at the line in an attempt to shake the hook, but without success. I lead him around the front of the boat and finally positioned him toward the waiting net. Bit-aBing, Bit-a Bang, Bit-a-Boom, he was in the net and the growl of success vibrated the vocal chords of a very excited angler. The work was accomplished to free the Muskie from the lure. Muskie in hand, it measured out at 38 inches. A picture or two and the Muskie was back in the 61-degree water and on his way. I did a couple more drifts of the area, but the adventure was over for the evening. I returned to Indian Trail Resort to register the fish and institute a ritual celebration of buying the bar a round of root beer Schopps. This was, for me, my last Muskie adventure on the Chippewa Flowage for the season. It was certainly a pleasure to share it with friends and confirm a few new variables to the equation that is Muskie fishing. No matter how much you fish for Muskie, there is always something more to learn.

QuickStrike Rigs... Good For Anglers & Better For Musky By John Myhre © 2011 For many years the use of live baits such as very large suckers has been an accepted method for fall Musky. Along with this tradition came the idea that Muskies caught with live bait should be killed, since they were most often "gut hooked". The catch and release concept has made a real improvement in our Musky fisheries over the past few decades, and the technology in quickstrike (QS) rigging live-bait is totally compatible with this line of thinking. Quickstrike rigs allow for an immediate hook set with near 100% hookups. Most live-baiting for Muskies is done in the cold-water periods of the year when a Musky's metabolism is slowed way down. Since Muskies are almost always mouth hooked on a QS rig they are very releaseable. Live bait fishing with QS rigs can add a whole new dimension to your Musky angling, especially during the cold water periods when fishing gets extra tough. Sucker harnesses and other types of live bait rigs have been around for many years. QS rigs, a generic name, are the new generation of these live bait rigs. Things like finer wire, smaller hooks, and perfect hook placement in the bait make these rigs very productive.

MATCH THE HOOKS TO THE BAIT SIZE For many years the consensus was that one should use as large a hook as possible for Muskies, but in actual fact the bigger the hook, the harder it is to drive home into a Musky's bony jaw. Smaller hooks set much easier. When rigging, use treble hooks that are just big enough to have exposed hook points after being rigged on a sucker minnow. Here is a list of treble hook sizes for corresponding bait lengths. BAIT SIZE Hook SIZE 8" - 10" #l or #2 11" - 15" #1/O or #2/0 16" - 18" #3/O or #4/0 My personal preference is for 12" to 14" size suckers. The huge size, 18" and over suckers usually don't work very well with quick strikes because their body is too thick to get good hook exposure and they are so strong that they often tear the hooks out of themselves. When using the smaller size hooks I always use heavy duty models to prevent straightening or crushing. Remember needle-sharp hooks are a must, so always sharpen them. RIGGING FOR 100% HOOKUP Hook placement in the bait will make the difference in hooking percentages. I have found that a sucker hooked through the nose with one hook, the traditional method, will get 50% of the fish that strike. The other 50% wind up getting no hooks and just letting go of your sucker. In order to get good hookups, the hooks must be positioned properly and move in the Musky's mouth to penetrate. Hooks just

don't tear out of a sucker's nose that easily. When I started hooking the front hook through the soft flesh on the cheek of the sucker so the hook could easily tear free, my hookup percentages jumped incredibly. The best placement for the rear hook seems to be low on the side just behind the dorsal fin. This usually puts the hook in a good position to nail 'em. QUICKSTRIKE RIG CONSTRUCTION The basic rig construction consists of a 24-inch length of uncoated bronze stranded wire, 20 to 50 lb. test, a heavy-duty rear treble hook, and a smaller front treble or optional single front hook. The front hook should contain shrinkable tubing around the shank so it will slide on the wire making it adjustable. A strong black swivel should be attached on the opposite end of the whole rig. An optional small spinner blade should be added in front of the front hook making it legal for use in states where a multiple hook rig is illegal. The whole thing can be assembled by using either crimp-on sleeves or twisting the wire to make a good connection. You can easily make your own rigs or they can be purchased from most Musky tackle outlets. PRESENTATION TIPS When fishing with quickstrike rigs it is often better to freeline the suckers instead of using bobbers. Use a 1/2 to 1 ounce sinker on

the line just ahead of the swivel. The additional weight will keep the bait in the productive zone nearly all of the time. In the fall, work your suckers over the deeper areas that have stumps, logs, cribs, and or rocks. When fishing on clear natural lakes concentrate on bars and areas of shoreline that have sharp breaks into deep water with cover and bait-fish present. When a Musky picks up your sucker, try to get directly over it right away and set the hook very hard. So there you have it. Some new twists to an old idea that may help you to boat a few more fish. The next time you're going to fish live bait for Muskies, try a quick strike rig. They're the answer to many problems associated with live bait angling, and most importantly, they rarely damage the Musky.

A Successful Technique For... Catching Those Uncatchable Musky By: Richard Quade © 1998 How many times have you been on the water chasing the elusive Musky only to draw follows and no strikes? If you’re like me, you enjoy follows as they get your heart pumping and your concentration rising, but they are inherently disappointing. They don’t result in a landed fish. The lake that I most often fish seems to draw a follow rate of about 4-5 followers for every hooked fish. A technique I like to call "suckering" the Musky can greatly improve your hookup to follow ratio, if you don’t mind the added effort of carrying 5-10 live suckers on board with you. "Suckering" is deadly and extremely simple to execute. Here’s how it’s done. Simply float a sucker with a "quick-strike" rig. Leave out no more than five feet of line from the boat. Set the drag on your reel extremely light or leave it in free spool with a rubber band or some other device to keep the line from paying out. If you prefer, you can add a spinner blade to the tail of the sucker for added attraction. Keep your sucker as deep as possible but it is important that you are able to see the sucker. One friend of mine swears by large goldfish because he says both he and the fish can see them better. This is a photo of a 42-inch, 23 pound Musky that I "suckered". This fish never hesitated, he came right

off of my bucktail and in one motion devoured my 10-inch sucker. Whichever bait you choose, don’t change your fishing strategies, i.e. keep casting whichever baits you think will produce during the particular conditions you are fishing. I like this technique best when bulging bucktails in the fall. I seem to draw an inordinate amount of follows with this technique at this time of the year. I know those fish are hungry and are trying to fatten up for the long winter ahead, but until I began "suckering fish", I often couldn’t get them to strike. You must be alert at all times when using this technique. It is critical that you see the following fish as early in the retrieve as possible because you want to run your lure right past the sucker. You literally want the following Musky to bump its head right into the sucker. You will be amazed how well this technique works. Oftentimes, the Musky will veer right off of your lure and head straight for the sucker. Sometimes, you will not even see the follow and out of nowhere your sucker will get eaten. Even when you cant get the Musky to hit your lure or eat the sucker, you will be amazed as to how long they will stick around and look at the sucker. The key to this technique is that you cannot waste a lot of time messing around with the baited rod. Stick it in a rod holder and leave it alone. Check it periodically to make sure it doesn’t have weeds, but don’t let it detract from your concentration or number of casts you make in a day. In other words, don’t up your odds by having a sucker in the water only to reduce your odds because you aren’t concentrating or not getting in as many casts as usual. This technique works best in the late fall or early spring when water temperatures are cold enough to keep suckers active and

alive for a long period of time. If utilized properly, I find that three people fishing per boat will catch about one extra fish per outing. It works so well on my lake that we each take turns for one-hour intervals. We work as a team so that if I get a follow and it isn’t my turn with the bait, I will nevertheless, run my follower right into the sucker. A good friend of mine caught his first Musky this way and he still thanks me to this day. I am not a big advocate of bait fishing because if you are not careful, the Musky can get hooked deep in the mouth or even in the stomach, resulting in a poor chance for survival. This is why the "quick-strike" rig is important. I have never hooked a Musky with this technique that couldn't quickly and easily be released to fight another day. So there you have it. Go get yourself a bucket of lively suckers and up your odds this fall.

Some local guides still practice Set-Line Slaughter An Editorial: By Craig Sandell It was reported that a 52-inch musky weighing more than 40 pounds was found washed up dead on an island on the northeast end of the Chippewa Flowage on June I by three anglers from Illinois...certainly a disheartening site for someone who has traveled all that way to fish the Chippewa Flowage. The dead musky apparently expired this spring after ingesting a single-hook sucker rig last fall, according to local musky guide Scott Allen, who examined the fish on June 2. A swallow-hook rig was found coming out of its mouth. According to Allen and a number of other anglers and guides, the fish is another example of the waste of a natural resource caused by some anglers who fish from shore with sucker-baited set-line rigs each October and November. The set-line fishermen may or may not get to a rod when there is a bite. They cut the wire leader and release many of the fish, thinking they will live. But the fish end up dying, Allen said. Allen stated that "The (52-inch) musky may have broken the line while battling an angler or wrapped the line around a stump or log and broke it before the set-liners got around to checking their fishing rods. "Last year in the Hayward area, there was only one 40-pound-plus musky that was known to have been caught,"

Allen added. The practice of set-lining is "a big problem, especially on the Chippewa Flowage. We have to stop it, and stop anglers from using swallow-type hooks," he said. "This is hurting our fishing, and it is having a negative impact on Sawyer County businesses, especially in the fall when tourist dollars are needed the most," Allen said. Betty Greene, co-owner of D & B Bait and Tackle on the Chippewa Flowage, agrees that "this practice has hurt everyone in this business, and it's got to stop. Something has to be done. Fall business is going to heck. I sure wish some tourist would have had that (52-inch fish) on his line and had the thrill of his life," she said. A long-time musky' fisherman and former trapper on the Flowage, Rick Marks, said that "in 13 years of trapping every day during the fall, I found numerous muskies floating in the stumpy back bays, reeds and weed edges. Invariably, all of them had a sucker harness wire sticking out of their mouth." "I really feel that one of the biggest reasons we're not seeing the 50-inch-plus fish with consistency despite catching and releasing all these 46-, 47-, and 49-inch fish is because we’re killing a great many of them using sucker rigs," Marks said. "Many times when set lines are used, by the time the fish is done fighting and is landed, it has done serious damage to its intestinal area," Marks added. If it is released, "it's no different than a deer that has been gut-shot. It will run away and die." Marks added that he is "not against sucker fishing if you’re going to keep the fish or use a quick-strike rig to hook it in the jaw and then release it.. But I'm against sucker fishing (with a gut-hook

rig). I've seen too many of them that have been gut-hooked that have died." Shoreline problem Marks added that another problem with set-lining is that it is hard for other anglers to find a place to drift along a shoreline, because there are rods placed on the shore every 50 to 75 yards by the set-liners. "I've talked to a lot of people who have come to the Flowage to fish, and they're really disgusted with it," Marks said "They say it's very hard for them to fish. "Maybe we should go to one rod (allowed) per angler, like in Minnesota," Marks said. The limit is three rods per person in Wisconsin. Guide problem Allen said he is aware of only two guides who are using set-lines in the fall on the Big Chip. "The problem is that they are teaching their clients that set-lining is an acceptable method. It is not acceptable," he said. "We have to put a stop to this before it totally decimates our musky fishing," Allen said. He and others have seen groups of anglers having parties on islands in the late fall while having 30 to 40 baited rods set out on shorelines up to half a mile away. Allen said that set-liners often attach a jug to their fishing rod with a light rope. That way, if the rod is pulled into the water by a musky, the set-liner can retrieve the gear and the fish. This is "both illegal and unethical," he said. Studies conducted Guide John Dettloff said that several studies conducted of the effects of single-hook sucker rigs (and circle-hook rigs) have had "very similar results," showing that the majority of muskies which ingest these hooks die later.

In a DNR study, 14 muskies which were gut-hooked in October and November 13 of 14 died* by the following mid-July, Dettloff said. Half of the fish lived through the winter. * The original story in the Sawyer County Record misquoted John Dettloff saying that all 14 Muskies in the WDNR Study died (13 of 14 dead Muskies is a 92.8% mortality rate). Terry Margenau, a Department of Natural Resources Northern Region musky expert, spoke recently to the Hayward Lakes Chapter of Muskies Inc. about musky management issues, angler perceptions and ongoing research. He said that "It's difficult to say anything conclusive" about the results of a study of muskies now in its second year because of the small number of fish involved. Margenau indicated that "It's not unusual for some mortality to occur after muskies spawn, especially in older, larger fish which have been beat up in the spawning process." People need to make their own decisions after reading about the results of the studies, Margenau said. "I can't see a DNR regulation that you can't use a single hook. We don't want to limit (anglers) more than we have to." The DNR Problem At the heart of the problem is the sure doesn't take a degree is fishery biology to conclude that if you puncture the stomach of a Muskie with a larger hook while reefing back on your fishing rod, it is more likely to die than live. The WDNR has persistently abrogated its responsibility to take action that is in the best interest of the fishery citing that 'they just do the will of the people' and it is not their place [the WDNR] to act. I submit that this type of 'head in the sand' attitude on the part of the WDNR is no better than the disregard for the

fishery health displayed by the Guides and anglers that put out set-lines during October and November. The WDNR says that they don't want to "limit anglers more that they have to." Well, it sure looks to me as though the WDNR has to put some limitations on methods that are contributing to negatively impact the health of the fisheries the WDNR is is supposed to be managing. It wouldn't take very much to seriously curtail the set-line problem...Eliminating shoreline sucker fishing on Class A Muskie water in Wisconsin would go a long way toward protecting the Class A Fishery and it wouldn't cost the WDNR one red cent. Class B and Class C fisheries would still allow the practice for those anglers who feel that they just can't catch a Muskie any other way.

Six Wisconsin Counties Move to Restrict Set Lining (Revised To Include The Rebuttal of Corey Meyer) By: Craig Sandell © 2000 On April 10, 2000 the Conservation Congress held meetings throughout Wisconsin. This year a proposal to restrict the practice of set lining was submitted for consideration. For those of you not familiar with the problem, the following will provide you some perspective: Statement of the Problem: Since the early 1990's, the practice of fishing from shore with live bait has become a method that has steadily grown in popularity. The method of fishing from shore is practiced by anglers for virtually all game fish species, including, but not limited to: musky, catfish, northern pike, salmon, trout, bass, etc. Fishing from shore is an effective and lawful means of angling; however, increasing numbers of individuals have been abusing this practice and going well beyond the obvious intent of the current unattended line regulation. It is the practice of fishing from shore for musky that has become so troublesome throughout Wisconsin, especially in the northern half of the State. Some anglers, with the goal of catching more and bigger fish and, often, for purposes of self-promotion, have been placing - without regard for the fishery or the rights of other anglers - rod sets along shorelines that are, arguably, not

physically attended. These rods, in some cases, are set as much as one mile from the "attending" angler. Furthermore, the rods are strategically placed along shore in prime fish producing locations on a given body of water in such a manner that they impede the utilization of the resource by other anglers who choose to use ethical and clearly legal means of angling. Anglers who engage in this practice, typically observe their rod sets - on occasion - from these great distances with high powered binoculars and spotting scopes. Most anglers consider this practice to be unethical and, likely, illegal in terms of the spirit and intention of the existing law. Unfortunately, the existing unattended line laws that are contained within Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) fish and game rules and regulations are ambiguous and cannot be consistently enforced by WDNR Wardens and Prosecutors. It is clear that a new regulation, which more clearly defines what constitutes an attended line, must be enacted to adequately protect the resource and the rights of other anglers from this abuse. During the discussion of this matter, many folks spoke passionately about the need for a better and enforceable definition of what is an "attended" line. Among the speakers who were in favor of tightening the "attended line" regulation were John Dettloff and John Myhre. Both gentlemen related their personal experiences and the experiences of their guiding and resort clients as a foundation for their support of a change to the regulation. The proposed change to the regulation under discussion was:

WHEREAS, numbers of Wisconsin licensed angler. have been violating the spirit and intent of existing unattended rod laws; And WHEREAS, the existing Wisconsin unattended rod laws are ambiguous and cannot be consistently enforced by Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Wardens and Prosecutors; BEITRESOLVED, the Wisconsin Conservation Congress, at it's annual meeting held in Sawyer County, Wisconsin, on April 10, 2000, recommends that the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources take action to correct this situation by introducing to the State Legislature rule changes that will make It unlawful for any person to fish with an unattended rod except where specifically authorized under 5. NR 20.20. Between May 1 and December 1, it shall be unlawful for any person to position his furthest most rods more than 400 feet apart; and, the attending angler must be able to view all of his rods without obstruction at all times. Additionally, at no time shall any person ever be positioned at a distance greater than 400 feet from his rods. During this period, (May 1 to December 1), such violations would constitute an unattended rod. In all Instances, regardless of the time of the year, failure to Immediately respond to a rod upon Indication of a bite shall be prima facie evidence that the rod is unattended. This resolution will replace 5. NR 20.06 (9) and NR 20.03 (42).

Updated Information In my original story, I indicated that Ty Sennett did not support this proposal. That was a misperception on my part. During a telephone conservation with Ty Sennett on 4/13/00, Ty reminded me that, for the record…he supported, whole heartedly, the imposition of a maximum 400 foot distance between set rods as put forward in the proposal that passed during the Conservation Congress meeting for Sawyer County on April 10, 2000. In fact, Ty indicated that he would like to see the 400 foot rule enhanced by adding to it a 5 minute maximum time limit to respond to a tripped rod. Scott Allen & John Dettloff proposed unattended line rebuttal By: Corey Meyer © 2000 Below is a written rebuttal regarding the "Statement of the problem" and "Resolution" pursuant to the proposal submitted regarding current "unattended line laws" and their enforcement. I am extremely hesitant to respond because this is such an emotionally charged issue. But with all due respect to the writers of this proposal and those who reported the story in, myself, and other anglers agree that the information given contains a multitude of inaccuracies, flawed conclusions, opinions and biases. As I respond to the "Statement of the problem" and "Resolution" submitted my hope is that people understand I am not trying to be judgmental, or that the concept is bad, but trying to point out possible areas of concern. You will notice there are several statements listed which were in

the original "Statement of the problem" as printed off the Musky Hunter message board but have not been shown in this forum. This rebuttal is not being submitted with the intent of bashing any of the person(s) involved and should not be used to bash me with return rebuttals. I have never replied to any of the threads or posts regarding set lines/shore fishing on other message boards in the past and will not reply to comments, positive or negative, regarding this rebuttal. In the second paragraph of the "Statement of the problem" it is said, "increasing numbers of individuals have been abusing this practice and going well beyond the obvious intent of unattended line regulations". I believe this statement to be of "opinion" in nature and not necessarily reflective of the entire angling community. Myself and other guides, along with people who I will call "average anglers" who practice "shore fishing" do not have any moral issues with this type of angling. I have been guiding clients when anglers or guides opposed to this type of fishing have questioned our "ethics" and stated their displeasure with "shore fishing". Upon leaving our clients usually do not understand what the problem is and believe the other guide is upset that we are not "paying our dues" as we should be and may have caught fish while they have "come up dry" so to speak. In the third paragraph of the "Statement of the problem", it is said, "Some anglers, with the goal of catching more and bigger fish and, often for the purpose of self promotion, have been placing – without regard for the fishery or the rights of other anglers – rod sets"… This statement is also the writer(s) opinion in nature and if you take into consideration the "guiding" profession as well as the "average" angler, the practice of catching more and bigger fish is what it is all about. Selfpromotion, for most persons in the "guiding" profession, as you

are well aware, is the way to succeed and now, according to this statement, is cast in a negative light and not appropriate. The regard of the fishery and other anglers is also mentioned to cast more negative light towards this type of angling. If my memory serves me right this was also a concern when "motor trolling" was being opposed in the early 90’s. It sure sounds like the person(s) making this statement do not agree with the angling method, possibly the use of single hooks, versus the practice of shore fishing, which is an entirely different issue and will be discussed later in this rebuttal. Also in the third paragraph of the "Statement of the problem", it is said, "rods, in some cases are set as much as one mile from the attending angler". I have watched this statement grow from ¼ mile to ½ mile and now to one mile. It is obvious that the longer the distance mentioned the more disapproval of anglers you will get. You will notice this tactic later on in the third paragraph when, and I quote, "anglers who engage in this practice, typically observe their rod sets – on occasion – from these great distances with high powered binoculars and spotting scopes". Again, these terms are being used to provoke a negative response from the general public. I have never seen rods set over ¼ mile away from anglers, high-powered binoculars or spotting scopes being used to "attend" rods. While I will admit to using binoculars at times I will state the binoculars I am using are the best I could buy for under $16.00!!!! As far as the statement regarding observing rods on occasion, this again is false. Let me describe that the longer a rod is left after a hit the chances greatly increase of getting snagged on something. To get snagged means a lost fish which is counterproductive. The sooner I can get to a rod, and the fish, the better my odds are to landing my quarry. When shore fishing it is a constant issue to

check rods and the practice of setting rods and not checking them is not followed by any anglers I am aware of. Also, in the third paragraph of the "Statement of the problem", it is said, "rods are strategically placed along shores in prime fish producing locations on a given body of water in such manner that they impede the utilization of the resource by other anglers who choose to use ethical and clearly legal means of angling". While I will agree to strategically placing rods along prime fish producing locations, it makes more sense to catch fish this way, the impeding of other anglers is perceived by other anglers. What I mean by this is that in shore fishing the line lays directly on the bottom of the lake, basically from ten (10) feet of the rod tip to the bait. This makes the line almost impossible to snag during casting. Most shore fisherman will just "reset" any rod inadvertently snagged. It should also be said that the suckers being used for bait do not swim around in the water column, as some anglers believe. The next time you see suckers in a tank pay close attention to where they are in the tank, they are on the bottom, this is the same place they are in the lake, on the bottom, not on top where other anglers can snag the line. Anglers fishing a shoreline do not affect the shore fisherman and are not "barging in" on another anglers’ territory. I would like to add that several of the locations we fish are not being fished by any other anglers and/or guides during the late season. In the last sentence of the third paragraph of the "Statement of the problem", it is said, "Most anglers consider this practice to be unethical". I believe this to be a very pointed statement based entirely upon the person(s) writing the proposal, as I am unaware of any non-biased survey taken of anglers of the State of Wisconsin. Again, is this being written due to preliminary findings of the Chippewa Flowage Musky Study, in regard to single hook

mortality? If the problem is the method of angling, the use of single hooks, this needs to be addressed in a different forum. I wholly agree with the fourth paragraph of the "Statement of the problem" in that "the existing unattended line laws that are contained within Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) fish and game rules are ambiguous and cannot be consistently enforced by WDNR Wardens and Prosecuters". In the fourth paragraph of the original "Statement of the problem" as stated in the Musky Hunter message board, it is said, "Take note that because this resolution addresses an abuse which has been occurring during the open water fishing season, this proposed resolution is designed not to impede or restrict ice fisherman". I believe this is specifically stated this way as not to upset any ice fisherman and increase support for said proposal. While this sounds good it does not really address the entire issue of unattended lines but instead pinpoints a specific group of anglers. By making this statement, and not addressing the entire unattended line issue, the true bias and opinionated argument against shore fishing anglers by the person(s) writing this is clear, to eliminate shore fishing. In the third paragraph of the "Resolution", it is said, "it shall be unlawful for any person to position his furthest most rods more than 400 feet apart". This statement, while sounding more enforceable by WDNR Wardens is just as ambiguous as the current laws. While the WDNR Wardens have distance range finders available for their use the accuracy of these could be questioned along with the problem with the average angler being able to discern the 400-foot distance. Will the State of Wisconsin issue an official 400-foot piece of line which can be used for the setting of lines and to make sure of the angler’s distance relative

to his rods? For any rule change to work it is imperative that it be "angler friendly" and enforceable. In the third paragraph of the "Resolution", it is also said, "the attending angler must be able to view all of his rods without obstruction at all times". Again, while this sounds good in text, upon review questions arise as to such simple items as going for a walk along the shore or needing to answer the "call of mother nature" during angling. The last sentence of the "Resolution" states, "regardless of the time of year, failure to immediately respond to a rod upon indication of a bite shall be prima facie evidence that the rod is unattended". Again, as in the 400-foot rule, this sounds more enforceable, but is actually just as ambiguous as the current laws. What deems the "immediate response" term in the statement? Without a designated time limit given the immediate response statement is totally left up to the discretion of the wardens, and I believe this is what we are trying to eliminate by making a more "black and white" law. What I asked of the members of the conservation board and attendees is to view the proposed law changes with the "average" angler in mind and ease of enforcing said changes. We do not want to be lead into any law changes by any biased or elite group of anglers with hidden agendas. Below I have the proposal that I submitted at the conservation hearings. PROPOSAL: STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM:

Recent confusion regarding the existing "unattended line regulations" within the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) fish and game regulations, and the subsequent enforcement inconsistencies faced by WDNR Wardens has prompted a change in the current regulations. Regulation changes clearly defining an "attended" line must be immediately implemented to aid the WDNR Wardens in their efforts to enforce the current abuses of the law’s intent. RESOLUTION: BE IT RESOLVED, the Wisconsin Conservation Congress, at it’s annual meeting held in Sawyer County, Wisconsin on Monday, April 10th, 2000, recommends that the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources adopt the following rule change regarding unattended lines. "In all instances, regardless of rod/line placement the "attending" angler has a time period of five (5) minutes to respond to a rod upon indication of a bite, or the appearance of a WDNR Warden at said rod." This rule change would be in effect for the entire angling open water and ice fishing season. Failure to have the attending anglers rod in his/her possession after a five (5) minute allotted time period would indicate and unattended rod/line. This resolution shall replace s. NR 20,06 (9) and NR 20.03 (42). In the revision made to the original article in it is stated that "Corey Meyer took exception to the "Statement of the problem" section of the document ……. and, based upon that concern withheld his affirmative vote". As you have read above, I not only have problems with the storybook tales of the ‘Statement of the problem", I also did not feel the newly

proposed rule would be easily enforced and "angler friendly". I do agree that we do need to clarify the current regulation but have my own opinion on how to accomplish the same goal. Does this mean I am in the wrong, no! Does it mean that the writers of 400-foot rule change are wrong, no! Is there a hidden agenda in relation to the preliminary findings of the Chippewa Flowage musky study on mortality with single hook usage? Definitely!! While I will readily admit to using single hook sucker rigs and may use them on a very limited basis in the future the fact that we have been doing extensive development of numerous quick set, circle hook and modified single hook rigs has not been mentioned. Scott Allen and myself talked at length last fall, twice, regarding changes needing to be made to sucker rigs to prevent mortality of released fish. If you have spent any time on the internet researching this issue the topic of "ethics" is always being brought into the discussion. In the 90’s the term ethics seems to be the word of choice if any person or party does not agree with your opinions or practices. Where do ethics play a role in hunting over bait piles, running dogs on bear, game farm hunting, canned hunts in fenced areas, fishing lines being left off docks overnight, tip ups being left out over night or being placed on the other side of the lake, underwater cameras and on and on? While I will not delve into these topics it does make you think about what constitutes "good ethics" in hunting and fishing and lest we forget each time we take something away from our fishing and hunting rights we are actually helping any anti-hunting/fishing groups with their pursuit. I hope this rather long article explains my opinions and differences regarding the unattended line situation

Respectfully, Corey Meyer The resolution of Allen & Dettloff passed in Sawyer County by a vote of 49 (Yes) to 2 (no). Five other Wisconsin counties also put this proposal before their meetings. All five counties passed the resolution and will pass it on for a statewide vote next year. Although this is a significant first step to enact a ‘Set Lining’ regulation that the WDNR can enforce, it will still be two more years before a revised regulation is approved. Unfortunately, during that time, irresponsible anglers will continue to engaged in ‘Set Lining’ practices that not only prevent others from enjoying the fishery but also result in the needless death of Musky as the result of the use of unattended lines.

Perspective, Practice & The Future By Craig K. Sandell © 2006 By now, you have all had your computer screens filled with the logorrhea associated with the Chippewa Flowage Musky Study - Y1 (CFMS). Breaking with past practices of not promoting ‘for profit’ print publications, Muskie America feels that it is important to get past these hackneyed CFMS comments, and so, would like to encourage all of you to review Musky Hunter Magazine…It is our understanding that Steve Heiting put together an article on the CFMS issue that promises to embrace a thoughtful and journalist approach that will surely put the matter to bed. (If you are a member of Muskies, Inc., you can get a really good perspective of the Chippewa Flowage Musky Study (Y1 and Y-2) from an article that can be found in a back issue.) Regardless of any inconsistencies that may exist in the year 1 study, the year 2 findings related to the 100% mortality of gut and gullet hooked Muskies is not in dispute. The bottom line is that if you are using single hook sucker rigs, J Hook Or Circle, to catch Muskie, the fish that you release are ‘Dead Fish Swimming’. Whether you are running a Muskie guide business or you are fishing for your own adventure, the result is the same...single hook sucker rigs mean dead Muskies.

Trophy Musky...A Rational Perspective By Tony Rizzo © 2005, Reprinted With Permission Being a full-time musky guide for almost 44 years has given me the pleasure of sharing the boat with a large number of people from a variety of backgrounds and a wide range of fishing experiences. Over the course of any given day on the water, the topic of discussion will almost always turn to big musky. What big fish have been caught? What’s news of fish caught from other areas? What is a big musky and why aren't more of the real big ones caught? There has been a plethora of fishing shows on cable television in recent years. There are fishing shows where some hotshot celebrity fishermen claim to catch one or two 50 inch musky on each episode. Fishing magazines have become increasingly species specific with several musky magazines available today. You can see 50 inch musky on almost every page of these publications. Watching these shows and reading these magazines gives the impression that 50 inch muskies are commonplace. The musky releases reported in many clubs or posted on the release boards at local sport shops boggle the mind. Everyone seems to catch 50 inch muskies and there are some people that catch lots of them every year! Doesn't anyone catch 48 or 49 inch muskies anymore? I'm not saying that these people are not entirely truthful, it just strikes me as odd since I know from my years on the water that 48 and 49 inch muskies are caught a lot more frequently than 50 or 51 inch muskies. It seems to me that the tendency to stretch the size of

fish has increased in recent years. Way back in 1993 Doug Stange wrote an article that was published in the August issue of "In-Fishermen", where he made this observation; "every inch here and there, "every 48 inch fish that is suddenly 50, even every 49 inch fish that is rounded to 50 inches, and certainly every 52 inch fish that stretches easily buy photo to 55 inches, is to lessen the wonder of it all when reality strikes." So obviously, it isn't a totally new phenomenon. I think that quote addresses the heart of my concern. So many musky are exaggerated in size that the wonder and excellence of legitimately catching big fish has been diminished. Expectations have been raised to unrealistic levels. I have had clients that are embarrassed to admit that they have never caught a 50 inch musky! Their expectations and the reality were just not in alignment. I didn't think less of their fishing skills or commitment, but I was impressed with their honesty. While there are many true sportsmen who musky fish simply because they love the sport, there are also a few people that do it solely because they are interested in their bottom line. It is to be expected that the size and legendary status of muskies is going to attract a fair amount of people that are only in it for their egos or the money. I guess that is what compels some people to exaggerate the size and number of their fish. So how big does a musky have to be to be considered a trophy? I will give a few examples to give you some perspective. Most of my clients these days are regulars that have fished with me for years. In the days past when I would take more new clients, it was common for me to get calls from fishermen that had been fishing muskies for 10, 20, or even 30 years and were finally going to hire a guide because they still had never caught what they consider to be the trophy of their dreams.