So lets start back to last summer (2013). I am on Lake Quinsigamond in Worchester. I am throwing big 7 inch swimbaits for huge bass, when I hook into something giant. My first reaction is that I have a new record bass, but as it gets closer, I am astonished by what I see. In the water, about 6 feet from my boat is a 3 foot musky! I start frantically trying to unfold my landing net (I have a collapsible one), and I lift my rod tip to try to pull it in. But as I lift my rod, SNAP! I didn’t have a steel leader, just straight braid. Braid will snap when it hits anything sharp, so to be honest, I am surprised I got it as far as I did. But this experience got me hooked, I wanted to catch a musky in MA. I knew they were in the lake, but I had never seen anyone catch one. So I got out my heavy baitcasters and steel leaders, when I had an idea. I would rather try to hook a musky on the fly in MA, than hook one on a baitcaster.
The percentage of Massachusetts fly fishers that have caught a musky on the fly is probably less than 1%. I have never met anyone who caught one, and I have met very few spin fishermen or ice fishermen who have. They are rare, and catching one on the fly was going to be hard.
I began to assemble the gear I thought I would use. I got out a couple of 8 weights, and all my biggest streamers. I also tied a ton of big flies, and made some wire leaders.
Now the bigger problem: Where is the best spot to catch a musky? I looked through the list of places that they were stocked in, and tried all the closest ones. I asked everyone I met on the water about muskies, and slowly crossed lakes off the list. Finally, I decided to focus on three: Spy Pond, Lake Cochituate, and Lake Quinsigamond. Each of these lakes had produced at least 2 documented muskies in the last 5 years; not great odds, but better than searching for a a musky in a lake that has none.
So starting last summer, I hit these lakes all the time. Spring, summer, fall, it didn’t matter. But I had almost no luck. I saw one guy catch a giant in Lake Quinsigamond, and saw a musky in the flats in Lake Cochituate. But I hooked nothing.
So at the beginning of this spring I was ready again. I broke out the heavy rods. I fished long and hard all summer but again, I failed to land one. Then, just last month, I was fishing Spy Pond when I hooked into one! He hit the giant bucktail streamer, and I got him close when he head shook. I was actually pretty surprised – I didn’t know muskies did head shakes while hooked. It was surprisingly similar to a bass’ head shake, and the result was the same – a lost fish. I saw my fly go flying away, and the musky retreated deep into the murky water. I estimate it at about 30 inches.
Now I apologize to anyone who read this expecting a big fish at the end, but it doesn’t always end that way. I am still going to chase muskies next year, and probably until I catch one. Although irritating sometimes, it can be pretty fun, as I have caught many other species by “mistake”. Bass, pickerel, catfish (surprisingly), carp (also surprising), and pike, all in large sizes. While I do not recommend pouring so many hours into musky fishing (in MA), I would recommend targeting new species on the fly. It’s fun, and I have learned a ton about muskies, other species that I accidentally caught (like who would imagine catching carp or catfish on a giant bucktail streamer?), and the bodies of water that I fished. And lastly, please comment if you have any experience targeting muskies in MA, either on fly rods or spinning rods. I will be back at it next year, and will have some reports and hopefully a success story!
*Edit – I said “musky” a lot, but really most of the times I meant “tiger musky”