The official inland fishing opener doesn’t get me too fired up. While I have gone out on the early May opener and I have enjoyed success, I get more excited for the musky opener. Now it’s not like I hit the water at 12:01 a.m. but prior to it I do spend a considerable amount of time in my garage, sitting in my boat retying leaders, loading lures and checking them twice to get ready.
I hit the water on opening day even though it was threatening to rain. In midseason, rain is a welcome event as those fronts tend to trigger a bite. In the early season rain is a nuisance because it is typically cold, making fishing a lot less enjoyable. What is also typical is that I have new lures and gear that I want to try out which is always fun, even in the rain. Trying out new gear is often the highlight of the early season outings because muskies tend to be tight lipped, but there is always a chance and musky fishing is all about long odds.
Early on in the season the fish tend to be a little lethargic. Another way to say that is the bite is tougher until the water temperatures heat up and the fish become more active. Given the current conditions of this opener I was hoping just to see a couple of fish. If I were to actually catch a fish on this opening day under such adverse conditions, I’d buy a lottery ticket on the way home. The odds of catching a musky weren’t as long as a winning lottery ticket, but you get the point.
A half-hour into the morning, the first fish of the year showed itself. It wasn’t a musky but rather a northern pike. It’s easy to think that you have a musky on the line when that’s what you are fishing for. It’s always a bit of a letdown when you find out that you have caught the much more common cousin.
I fished on and only a few minutes later a musky did show up. It came cruising on behind the lure and as both neared the boat, the musky faded slowly out of site and the encounter was over. But it was the first of the year and even though it wasn’t even close to being landed, it was a sighting and I had to start someplace.
A few minutes later another fish was spotted and a few minutes after that, a third fish followed my lure. Being that this was opening weekend, seeing a fish was a win. I fished on without any more action until I got into some shallow water and noticed some bluegills. Since the musky window appeared to be closed, I switched to the lighter gear and caught a few bluegills for good measure. The funny thing about that was while I was trying to catch panfish, two muskies cruised by.
My musky outing ended with three follows and two cruisers but for a cold opening day, it was awesome. I decided to prove my theory so on the way home I bought a lottery ticket and … it was still a great opening day of the musky season.
What to watch for this week: white-tail does are dropping their fawns. Trust the does, they know what they are doing. If you bump into a fawn, take your pictures and quietly move on and the doe will return for her fawn. They always do.