I intended to travel to Erie to scout for some Steelhead spots for a few upcoming trips but the threat of a big snow storm changed that plan so I decided to fish for Musky instead. It was a little milder than it was on my last outing with air temps in the low 20's. I was greeted with absolutely perfect water levels with a slight green tint.
I decided to start at a spot where we have had some action over the past year but haven't been able to fish recently because of the higher water levels. The spot is a deep channel with a fallen tree and some brush on the opposite bank. The fish like to hug the middle of the channel and most likely take advantage of the current bringing their prey to them. I was literally 15 yards down river from where I caught my first Musky last August.
I entered the water and waded a few feet in and proceeded to launch my Nightmare Musky Flies 12" Gizzard Shad Imitation fly just shy of the fallen tree on the opposite bank. I watched the fly slowly sink before drifting into the deep channel. Seconds after reaching the maximum depth of the channel I felt the unmistakable strike of a large fish. I instantly and aggressively strip set several times trying to ensure a solid hook set when the massive fish thrashed to the surface.
The battle was on and I had my hands full fighting the heavy and now very upset Musky. Back and forth we went and if it was a boxing match we both would of been staggered. After several minutes I was able to beach the beast in a shallow spot along the shore. I couldn't believe my eyes!! It was enormous and the girth was really unbelievable. Two trophy class Musky 3 days apart.. I was so fortunate!
After some quick pictures I had the extreme pleasure of releasing this perfect specimen back to her deep water home. What an incredible experience!!
This fish broke my rod!!!
This fish destroyed my brand new fly!!
Fish #2 for 2018
Our Musky and Pike fishing fishing trips will take place on several different waterways located in Western Pa. These trips are geared towards the "hard core" serious fly angler who can handle the physical rigors not to mention the mental toughness needed to chase the apex freshwater predator. The best Musky/Pike fishing spots are usually the hardest to get to and ours is no different. We will be sinking in mud, tripping over dead falls, picking off ticks, but I can promise you that is all worth it if you're fortunate enough to land one of these monsters. So if you feel you're up to challenge and would like to experience the ultimate fly fishing experience, contact us TODAY!
Musky/Pike Trip Rates
I finally got the water flows that I was looking for and despite the single digit temperatures I went out to cure my cabin fever and chase my new favorite fish, the Musky. I was extremely excited to be on the water and to add to that excitement I was using my new 11wt Orvis Helios 3D for the first time!
I chose to use an all white 12" T Bone Fly from Streamer King Flies because of the abundance of shad that inhabit this particular river system and because it really contrasted well with the water color on this day.
I was met river side by 9 degree air temps and slightly higher water flows than I anticipated from the online river gauge that I monitor, but I was fishing no matter what mother nature threw at me. After what seemed like an hour I was layered up and in my waders and heading to my first spot.
After a few cast and retrieves it was apparent by my frozen rod guides and locked solid reel that this was going to be a challenging day. Not to be deterred I addressed the situation and continued casting to the deep slack water on the edge of the fast moving main current. After a half hour of casting, retrieving, and deicing with no takers I move down river 20 ft and start the cadence all over again.
I fished for an hour and half, moving a total of 50 yards when all of the sudden on one of my drifts I felt the hard take of the big fish. Without hesitation my muscle memory took over and I laid into the Musky making sure that the 5/0 fly hook sank deep into it's hard jaw. The fish shook it's head fiercely and battled hard against the 11wt rod. The game of tug of war lasted a minute or so before I was able to beach the beast of a fish.
I stood there for a few seconds and admired the magnificent fish. This is the time after the fight when your body finally succumbs to the adrenaline and your heart starts racing, and your hands shake. This is the intoxicating feeling that makes an angler go fishing in the worst of conditions. make thousands of casts, or drive hundreds of miles. This is the moment we crave! After taking a few quick pictures the beast was released to the murky depths.
Just a few sidenotes....
It's important to fish deep and slow at this time of year. These fish aren't feeding a lot so it's important to cover every inch of water as slow as you can. This fish took my fly dead drifted without any movement on my part. I can only assume my fly drifted in the fishes strike zone and the fish thought it was an easy meal and struck. On occasion I would lightly twitch my fly to mimic a wounded shad.
The new Helios 3D performed like a champ on it's first trip. It cast like a dream and had the power needed to drive the hook deep. These fish have hard mouths and they are notorious for throwing hooks. Anything we can do to tip the scale in our favor is a bonus and I'm very pleased with the product Orvis has put out.
Lastly, it's very important to dress warm when chasing any fish in inclement weather. I layered in Under Armour Cold Gear and covered it all up with the Simms Down Stream jacket. This jacket keeps me warm in the worst of the worse weather conditions and I highly recommend it. For my hands I had on a pair of Simms Solar Flex gloves under a pair of Simms EXstream half finger gloves and my hands stayed relatively warm.
$350 1Person Full Day-Day Break till Dark
$600 2 People Full Day-Day Break till Dark
$300/Day 1 Person 2 Full Days-Day Break til Dark
$500/Day 2 People 2 Full Days-Day Break til Dark
We provide rod and flies but you are free to use your own.
What to bring:
Waders if weather dictates
Sun Screen/Insect repellent
Valid Pa Fishing License
Extra Clothing-Warm, Dry
Important: If you need lodging you must handle that. We will assist on where but we don't have lodging for our Musky/Pike trips.