When local guide and absolute walleye and musky nut Mike Rousseau extended an invitation to join him for a day of trolling the elusive St-Lawrence River Musky there was no way I was going to pass it up. He is quickly building a reputation for finding fish and boating some of the larger beasts in our challenging local waters with regularity. With his advice I purchased a quality rod and reel combo and I was really looking forward to trying it out.
Unfortunately, Mother Nature had a different plan this weekend. Not very much will keep me from the water especially around the last few weekends when fishing without having to layer on the clothing is still an option. After feasting on a few Jigger-style Lancaster Walleye Rolls last night I checked the weather network and realized Hurricane Irerene’s remnants were about to wreak havoc on our plans. I texted Mike and said “looking pretty nasty tomorrow”, to which he replied “really nasty”. With that said, we decided to salvage the few hours we had left and headed out on our impromptu Franny predator chase. Today’s high of 18C, relentless 40km NE winds and 30 millilitres of rain tell me we made the right decision.
I met up with Mike at Wimpy’s marina and after a few handshakes and a “fun” boat launch we were on the water. The first thing that struck me is how well equipped Mike is. As he says quite often for musky fishing there is no substitute for the right gear. You don’t want to get caught ill-equipped when going toe-to-toe with these toothy fish. Excellent hook cutters, a large basket net, extra hooks, split ring pliers, strong rod holders for trolling, quality rods that can handle heavy fishing are only a few pieces of equipment that are a must to keep you and the fish safe.
We started working pieces of structure that aren’t quite what I’m used to fishing for walleye but yet are similar in many aspects. We were looking for smaller transition areas on larger features. For example, an area where weeds meet rocks, or sand. Anything that would hold smaller baitfish. Also, seeing as muskies will attack prey up to a third of their size at times it is no secret they feed on walleyes on a regular basis, on lakes where that forage is readily available. Once you do find walters, you can determine that muskies are around lurking somewhere near that structure.
After hitting a few spots with no luck, and with me begining to think it was probably not going to happen on this night, Mike’s constant experimenting with bait size, colour and retrieve speed paid off. The rod’s ticker screamed and I was handed the St-Croix with an impressive looking fish breaking surface a few feet behind the boat. This wasn’t one of the legendary man-eaters (ok maybe not man-eaters) of the mighty St. Lawrence but pound per pound; it certainly lived up to its reputation.
With that epic fight out of the way, it was time for a few pictures, a quick release to minimize handling and a celebratory hand-shake. This personal-best fish for me (and my first musky not caught accidentally while walleye fishing :)) was back home safely where it can grow into a trophy. If you’re ever in the area and want very good odds in hooking up with one of these silver beauties I’d strongly recommend getting in touch with Mike. Not only does he put you on fish, he makes the entire experience fun, instructive and memorable. The one thing that struck me the most about Mike however is his undying passion for fishing and his ability to share it. That, in my mind is something you can’t fake.
If you’d like to book a trip with Musky Mike you can call him @: 613-363-6453.
Until Next time, Stay Outside…Jigger