15th Apr 2020

Backwater Muskie Fly Fishing Wisconsin

The Wisconsin muskie opener is coming up for the southern half of the state this coming weekend and finding good water is going to be tough. Its not that there is not enough water, it that there is TOO much water. Russ and I fished the southern opener two years ago and ran into the exact same problem, too much water. The thing is though, you can always find water to fish, you just have to be a little more creative. As we pulled into our destination friday evening, there was just enough light to see large trees floating down our intended fishery and what looked like class 3 rapids, my little 20 inch high drift boat sides cringed at the sight. We had already paid for a room for the weekend and there was a bar close by so we were staying no matter what. After we unpacked our gear we walked over to the bar, had a “few” beers and started google earthing our surroundings. “Google earthing?” Google earth is such an amazing tool. Locals are also an amazing tool, if they are drunk enough they will give away all of their secret spots and tell you things they would not normally let pass through their lips. After quizzing a few locals we learned that there were plenty of muskies in the backwater somehow attached to the intended river we were planning on fishing. We knew the river was not coming down any time soon and there was nothing else to fish within an hour of our base camp, we were staying put. If given the choice I would much rather fish moving water than still water but we had to make the best of a not so bad situation. Saturday morning came and more rain came as well. We gave the backwater hell though and managed to peg a few nice largemouth bass.




Just having the rod bent after a long cold winter was all we needed. Not much else came of Saturday other than good comradery, more beer, and a few more hungry largemouth. Back to the bar Saturday evening, more quizzing of locals, more beer, and off to bed. Sunday morning came and more rain came, back to the backwater. You start thinking in the back of your head if what the locals are telling you is really true, or are they laughing their asses off as they drive by and see us in our silly little weird looking boat chasing muskies where there are no muskies. Fishing was slower this morning, one largemouth and not much else to report. Afternoon settled in, and knowing we had to head back monday morning the pressure was on to boat the seasons first muskie. We went deep into one area of the backwater and we saw a huge wake move out of a shallow shoal and it had to be a muskie, nothing else can throw that big of a wake. 4 hours left in the day and after seeing that wake, we went from hopeless mindless half assed stripping to focused intense stripping. BOOM, Russ hits a muskie not too far from where we saw that big fish move. He came off of a shallow grassy area and crushed Russ’ fly. Stoked! First muskie for the season in the bag. It wasn’t a beast by any means but it was a mark on the chalkboard. We fished till dark hoping for one more fish to get me on the board but no such luck. We took the boat out that night very satisfied and had just as much fun, if not more fishing the backwater. Off to the bar for a “few” more beers that night, a few thanks to the locals for the intel and off to bed, happy campers.