Learning on the Water at Eagle Lake Muskie Seminar

The two-week fishing seminar that Temple Bay Resort has had annually on Eagle Lake in Canada has been planned for the anticipated changes in the weather. The first week of September was supposed to get colder and the muskies were supposed to become more active in that colder water. But somebody forgot to tell the fish. This year the weather stayed warm, but the fishing still became “spectacular.”

The first week the water temperatures were in the high 60s to low 70s, but there were 19 muskies caught from Sunday to Thursday. Every fisherman that first week came back with glowing stories of their muskie action. Jim Kramer was fishing with Mike Defalco and they said a muskie took Jim’s lure and jumped over the motor, breaking the tip of the rod. They added that the fish had to have jumped over 6 feet to clear the motor. I only kept a record of the muskies actually caught. There were many follows, but there is no way of knowing if they are all the same or different fish. There were also some big northern caught by muskie fishermen.

The following week, the water cooled down a little to 65 degrees, but the fish remained very active. Dick Noble, who’s friend Jeff Kaitz caught his first last year, caught three—a couple 47-inchers and one 44-inch fish. He was walking around with an ice pack on his sore arm all week. It’s not easy to catch all of those big fish, but he’ll have a whole year to rest up. One of his fish was the winner of a pool that some of the fishermen created among themselves.

It seems that each year as the fishermen come back they arrive with the added knowledge learned from previous years. It’s good to see so many of the same faces each year too, and Tony Novak, president of the Riverside Fishing Club, was the host on the bus that carried many of the club’s fishermen. That group and the rest of the fishermen experienced successful fishing.

After each day the fishermen would get together and discuss their successes. It was interesting how the fishing improved, as the individuals used the knowledge gained each day. The first weeks some caught one on the Sunday and then improved anywhere from three to seven fish by their last day. The next week the new group caught one to three, then five fish on their last day. The largest fish of the two weeks came on the last day—a 51-inch fish caught by Gary Jurceka. Dave Rajk caught a 41-inch fish. Matt Ciccone, who had a very successful week himself, guided him.

The Temple Bay guides did a remarkable job of finding where the muskies were hiding. Resort Manager Jeff Moreau gave me some other pictures of some of the catches, but I did not have room for all of them. Although there were many interesting lures being presented to catch these fish, many were caught using the old standbys. The suicks, bucktails, cowgirls, bulldogs, and grandmas were very effective lures and the fish seemed to prefer the color that imitated their favorite food, walleyes. Black, gold, yellow and white did very well too.

The stories that the fishermen brought back each evening was an event everyone looked forward to. Along with the fish caught, the ones that would follow a fisherman’s lure or even that would actually take a lure momentarily would create some heart-stopping action. I did not make mention of the fish seen following lures because sometimes one would follow and then come back later; there was no way of knowing how many times the same fish would come back.

Larry Karolewicz was guiding Jim Fiasche and myself for walleyes when a muskie—a 40-inch-plus fish—grabbed a rock bass that took Jim’s jig and minnow. At first we had no way of knowing what had Jim’s bait, but Jim let the fish have the bait. The fish did let go, but Jim wisely left the bait in the water. The fish returned and again took the bait and Jim brought the fish closer to the surface. Again, it let the bait go. Larry got ready with the net in case the impossible would happen and the fish would return. It did and was close enough to the surface for us all to see its size, but it released the rock bass before Larry could use the net, leaving us only with another story for the evening’s fishing report.

It was great to experience this fishing and the wonderful early-fall weather. This was the best group of fishermen that I ever fished with. My friend Frank Novak was there, and at 87 years old, he was the oldest and most experienced fisherman in the group—I forgot to ask him how many muskies he caught.