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Skunked on Muskies Again (Despite Good Conditions)
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I enjoy fishing rivers for muskies during the colder months and got out today for four or five hours. Fished from shore today focusing on my favorite feeder creeks and bank side eddies with wood. As is so often the case with muskies, I caught the skunk. Did have one very small fish follow my fly but he wouldn't eat. Also - banks very muddy and slick, I should have worn cleats.
Anyway, conditions are ideal here in center state and, I'd imagine, across much of the state. The rivers have a good flow but are clear and the next few days are forecast to see a warming trend. Perfect. I can't get out again this weekend but if you're looking to do some winter prospecting for muskies.....now is the time.

Posted on: 2012/1/5 22:33


Re: Skunked on Muskies Again (Despite Good Conditions)

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At least your tryin' man!

Posted on: 2012/1/6 6:29
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Re: Skunked on Muskies Again (Despite Good Conditions)
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Quote:

ebroesicke wrote:
At least your tryin' man!


Yep. That's what it's about.

Lotsa folks here on Paff point out that getting a muskie on a fly is a goal of theirs (a goal worth pursuing BTW) but I also think it's worth pointing out how much time you've got to put in and be willing to accept fishless days. This is esp true if you're a wading or shoreline guy using a fly rod.

Posted on: 2012/1/6 7:43


Re: Skunked on Muskies Again (Despite Good Conditions)

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Man, I was all excited to go trout fishing for the first time in ages...now i'm torn.

I have been wanting to do some scouting though. Dave, in colder weather (when fish typically go to deep/slower water), would you still consider below dams a productive spot?


Posted on: 2012/1/6 10:10


Re: Skunked on Muskies Again (Despite Good Conditions)
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Not sure about the dam. It depends (of course). Plunge pools below dams are known hot spots and are definitely worth looking into if you're after walleyes. Muskies are tougher. If it's a deep hole above a long length of relatively shallow water, I'd definitely check it out. If there's deeper, slower water downstream, maybe it won't be so hot. Pools below dams often have a lot of current and swirling water which will attract muskies under some conditions but for winter fishing I prefer slow and deep. The best spot, IMO, this time of year would be a deep, slow pool at the mouth of a feeder creek with logs and woody debris.

Posted on: 2012/1/6 11:09


Re: Skunked on Muskies Again (Despite Good Conditions)

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Hey fishidiot,
A musky on the fly happens to be one of my goals for 2012. About how active are these fish during the colder months? I get the impression that "the fish of 10,000 casts" becomes 10 times more difficult to fool in jan/feb. I dont know if I have 100,000 casts in me...

Posted on: 2012/1/9 20:33


Re: Skunked on Muskies Again (Despite Good Conditions)
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Quote:

pwk5017 wrote:
Hey fishidiot,
A musky on the fly happens to be one of my goals for 2012. About how active are these fish during the colder months? I get the impression that "the fish of 10,000 casts" becomes 10 times more difficult to fool in jan/feb. I dont know if I have 100,000 casts in me...


My personal experience is on mid state rivers so if you're thinking about fishing in a Crawford Co lake or something take this with a grain of salt.
With rivers, I do find muskies to be very agreeable in winter but water temps matter. A warming trend such as we saw last week is ideal. I can't say I have kept data on water temps when muskie fishing but - for winter fishing - I suppose I'd define warm as 40+ degrees. Muskies are likely to be happy if you've got water temps this high. At 40+ I'd even use a pretty aggressive retrieve. With lower temps I fish the fly/lure slowly on the bottom.
If there is slush ice in the river, I don't bother fishing but I have had action from muskies when there was some light icing in slack areas.

Posted on: 2012/1/10 10:37


Re: Skunked on Muskies Again (Despite Good Conditions)

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Cool, all great info. Sort of surprising info too. I am from the south hills of pittsburgh, so I would be looking at the rivers in the area. The big rivers, and the smaller ones.

Posted on: 2012/1/10 12:58


Re: Skunked on Muskies Again (Despite Good Conditions)
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PWK,
I'm not a Allegheny River guy but if I had to vote for the best muskie river in the entire northeast US (save the St Lawrence), it would be the Allegheny. I think the river further upstream from the burgh would be the place to explore. Google "Howard Wagner Muskie fishing" and you'll find the river has some big 'uns and they bite well in cold weather.

Posted on: 2012/1/10 13:14


Re: Skunked on Muskies Again (Despite Good Conditions)

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Have you heard anything about musky on the Yough? Its lower reaches(the river flows north, so closer to where it joins the Mon) are annually stocked with fingerlings and I think it has a pretty decent population. The Yough is smaller than the Allegheny and therefore not as intimidating to wade unfamiliar water in the winter. Plus, it would be a bit closer of a drive for me I think. I have read alot about the Allegheny too, so I know it would most likely be worth the drive.

Posted on: 2012/1/11 21:05


Re: Skunked on Muskies Again (Despite Good Conditions)
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PWK,
I haven't personally heard much about muskies in the lower Yough but I know they're there. Some guys fish the Mon for 'em too. Again, I'm not familiar with these waters and have only fished the Yough up in the trout area. If I was going to scout them out, I'd do a map recon to first locate public access areas and look for feeder creeks. Take a day to explore and see if you can find spots that are wadeable or fishable from shore. I'd imagine that area has a lot of urbanization, mass construction buildings and channelized/walled banks? Also, if it were me, I'd prospect with conventional gear before trying FFing.
Should be a fun quest.

Posted on: 2012/1/11 23:15


Re: Skunked on Muskies Again (Despite Good Conditions)

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Recon is just another aspect of fishing I enjoy. I was already planning to float the majority of the yough with my brother this summer. Previous floats have produced decent smallies, so I am excited to explore more of the river.

Right now, I am thinking the Smithon area may be a decent place to try. Parks nearby provide the access and it is pretty undeveloped. The aerials dont show it, but that is some serious topographical change near 70 and where jacobs creek enters the yough. Why are the mouths of feeder streams such hot spots? I read the link you posted(scary awesome fish) and the guy kept mentioning the mouths. Is it just the break from the current, or do baitfish hang otu here?

Posted on: 2012/1/12 12:52


Re: Skunked on Muskies Again (Despite Good Conditions)
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Quote:

pwk5017 wrote:
Is it just the break from the current, or do baitfish hang otu here?


Yes and yes.
It's no secret among river muskie guys that feeder creeks are the hotspots.

Just don't ask a muskie guy to tell you which creeks he fishes.


Many creeks will actually have muskies move well up into them if the habitat is suitable (read slower and deeper - don't bother with riffles).

Posted on: 2012/1/12 14:15


Re: Skunked on Muskies Again (Despite Good Conditions)

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I am an avid warmwater fly guy i have lived just a few minutes from the allegheny and clarion rivers my whole life. As mentioned before on this post This time of year the best fishing is in the tribs. You would be suprised how far up a small stream a pike or musky will travel. I recently caught a 28 inch pike out of a stream that was 5 feet wide about 3 feet deep and 7 miles up from the mouth. It takes dedication and determination they are not a fish for the instant gratification fisherman. I've spent so many days getting skunked and frustrated but thats musky fishing.

Posted on: 2012/1/29 21:02


Re: Skunked on Muskies Again (Despite Good Conditions)

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Nah thats pike fishing.........

Posted on: 2012/1/29 22:42
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