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So you want to go muskie fishing...

The author's first ever muskie!
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So you want to go muskie fishing...

Just do it!

If you're new to muskie fishing, I suggest hiring a guide. Adam helped me achieve my dream of checking a muskie off my bucket list.

Growing up in Sunset Country, I was a traditional local angler, fishing for walleye with a minnow and jig. Over the last few years, I’ve sought out and caught smallmouth and largemouth bass, lake trout, trophy northern pike, crappie and brook trout. The one species I hadn’t fished for though was muskie. I didn't have the equipment and quite frankly, I was scared to boat such a potentially huge fish. Could I lift it? Would I drop it? How long would it take to catch one?

That all changed when I went on a girls' fishing trip at Eagle Lake Island Lodge. The lodge offers a weekend of fishing, meals, and guiding -- plus a lot of fun. The guides asked what we wanted to learn about. One of my friends, Alyssa Lloyd, is a muskie fanatic and since we were on Eagle Lake, which is known for its great muskie fishing, she suggested we try our hand at that. So if you've ever wanted to go muskie fishing, but don’t know where to start, I suggest bringing along a muskie-obsessed friend to encourage you!

We arrived at Eagle Lake Island Lodge on Thursday afternoon, checked out our beautiful cabin and then headed out on Eagle Lake to look for some walleye. 

Friday morning, after a delicious breakfast, we headed out on the lake and did a little walleye and muskie fishing. We had a few follows, but didn’t land any muskies. I found it intriguing that casting for muskie was non-stop. After casting, it's important to reel in without stopping, otherwise, the fickle muskie will not follow. As a perfectionist, I feel myself slowing getting obsessed, and could not wait to get the next cast in to hopefully get a follow. 

One of the walleyes Erin caught on Eagle Lake

After reeling in each cast, it’s important that you do a figure eight a few times. This is often when the muskie goes for the lure. Being short, I found that I needed a lot of practice doing the figure eight. I need longer arms! By noon, I was hooked on muskie fishing, even without landing one!

We headed back to the lodge where we had a fabulous dinner -- the chef even taught us how to make creme brûlée. The service at the lodge was impeccable. Everyone was so friendly and accommodating. 

After supper, we headed back out on the lake. My fishing gals, Alyssa and another friend, Tracey, headed out in one direction and my guide Adam and I headed out in another. We didn’t have a long time to fish so we wanted to make the best of it and get in as much action as we could. Adam asked me what I wanted to target. "Muskies,” I said without thinking. For the two hours, we cast in spots that had been productive in the past.

It was getting late and Adam said “It’s getting dark, we have to go in. This is your last cast.” A sadness came over me. I didn't want this to end. I wanted to cast some more and I wanted more chances to get that muskie. After saying a quick prayer for a muskie in my head I cast towards the shore. Adam said “That was the perfect cast.” and started to put away his fishing gear.

Halfway through reeling in, WHAM, something hit. I don’t know how many men get really loud and excited while fishing, but my friends and I do not hold back. I screamed with excitement, and think I scared Adam a bit. As I reeled it in, I had so many thoughts going through my head. I wondered if I was going to lose it before getting it in the boat and would I be able to lift it? I knew it was a big one. 

I got it to the boat without losing it and Adam got the net ready. I was so excited and I think I may have shocked Adam with my screams and laughter. I really couldn’t believe I caught one on my last cast of the night. How great of a story is that?

Adam did a quick measure. It was 48”. I'm only 5 feet tall, which meant I was a mere 12” longer than the muskie. As Adam coached me on the proper way to hold it, my mind was racing. Could I actually lift it? Would I drop it? Would I slip up and let it fall into the water before I got a photo of my first ever muskie?

You're probably aware that holding a fish out from your body makes it look bigger in photos. I’m not sure why I tried this when I was wondering if I could even lift the fish? Oops! I just about lost her! So I held the muskie as best I could for a quick photo before Adam released her back into Eagle Lake. 

Just about lost her at this point!

Heading back to the lodge, my adrenaline was at an all-time high. I’m pretty sure I was squealing the whole short ride back to the lodge. When we pulled up to the docks (well, we were pretty far from the dock) I started yelling “I got one, I got one!” I was just so pumped. Tracey, Alyssa and Charlene were so excited for me. My first muskie! We all celebrated at the lodge that night.

The main lodge at Eagle Lake Island Lodge is a central part of each evening. that night I was happy to be celebrating my first muskie!

I even got on the 2019 Highlights Board in the main lodge at Eagle Lake Island Lodge!

You’ve probably heard about muskie being the "fish of 10,000 casts.” I caught a 48" muskie after just a few hundred casts. Should I just retire now while I was ahead? Nah, I was hooked! I can't wait to get back out muskie fishing again.

So, if you’ve always wanted to try muskie fishing, I say do it! Hire a guide and get out there! And don't be afraid to get loud when you catch one! Go ahead and celebrate!

This is Adam. Thanks to Adam at Eagle Lake Island Lodge for making one of my dreams come true! Read more about our fishing trip to Eagle Lake Island Lodge here.

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