Late Season Madness

This seems so crazy.  Yet, I have this drive deep within me to chase muskies this time of year.  Forget deer hunting after not even seeing one after 3 hard days of hunting. Ice chunks are floating down the river.  3 inches of ice at the landing!?!  What kind of insanity does this require?  Admission to the nearest psych ward actually seems acceptable.  Absolutely no one is out fishing this time of year where I am at.  We are at that awkward transition between ice too thin to walk on and feel comfortable about it to too dang cold to freeze in a boat.  But somehow I want to finish this season off right before I go into hibernation.  One last try.  Please!!!  Just one more chance to get that big musky I hooked into and lost just 5 weeks earlier.  So, back to my new favorite spot I found on the river.

How are you going to negotiate that landing with 3 inches of ice?  I brought the axe and ice chisel just in case.  I attempted to break it up but wait, this endeavor will take all day long if I continue.  There must be an alternative route to the water.

Are you kidding me?  Unhitch the trailer and manuever it to a spot more free from ice build up.  Yes!  That works!  This trip is already starting out with epic scenarios.

Just float those $8 suckers along that sheet of ice and ice chunks.

Bingo, a 35"er hits the first sausage.

Then a 36"er hits the next sucker sausage.  I'm feeling better about this trip.  Perhaps this was not such an insane idea.

Then the beast hits at the end of the day.  A beautiful 42"er.  Any Musky over 40" is really a special fish to me.  Wow!  I guess this was not such a dumb idea to Musky fish after Thanksgiving.  4 hits, 3 fish, and 1 beast, all in a days work.

Species List:


Mike B's picture

Really nice fish C&B. I notice a lot of guys on Youtube go musky fishing when it's just about impossible to get onto the water. The pike bite up here almost entirely shuts down at ice up, even with bait. But you go and land three muskies in one outing - -there must be something going on that's different with these two species' feeding patterns.

Another question: how do you keep the water circulating through your motor in those temps?


mike b

andy's picture

Great-looking muskellunge, especially that 42-incher.  Catching 3 in a day is a pretty remarkable accomplishment too.  Thanks for sharing.

Cast_and_Blast's picture

Mike B,

Monday was actually not that bad of a day (50's).  It's been the last 3 weeks that put the ice on the river.  In fact, the river was completely filled with ice chunks all the way across just 2 weeks ago and I had to hunt grouse instead of fish because of that.  

I'm not sure why muskies go bananas late in the season.  The main reason I like to fish late season is because the bigger ones seem to show up then.  That water is ice cold too.  I put my hands in it and it amazes me that they are active like that (being cold blooded).  I mean, they hammer those suckers and go on fast runs for being that cold.  Amazing!


I'm also not running the motor a lot except to move us upstream and slow float down.  I don't seem to have any issues with it.

TonyS's picture

nice Ski action!


-Mike B - I've been running boats on the Mississippi on temps down to 15 degrees F for a long time without problems, other guys put up with even colder in a boat.  Though these days I usually switch to ice fishing if the temps drop much below 25 degrees F - strictly as a preference.   The only real annoyance in freezing temp boating is slippery boat decks and ramps


Nothing special needs to be done to keep the water pump system running in my experience (except making sure that it drains out when you pull the boat out and of course being sure the lower unit seals are good).  That said, those with a thermostat may find that the motor doesn't bother pumping water until the block warms up - which is fine.  My motor is too old to have a thermostat so it always pumps water and takes it a bit longer to warm up when it is cold. 

Hengelaar's picture

Awesome stuff, Mr. C&B!

Great looking Esox there.

Fishn sure is neat

Lake Kantelljuhwhar's picture

Well done.  This is about pushing the limit of what's possible, and suceeding.

Outdoors4life's picture

Good to see you and your Dad are keeping up that tradition. 

Nice fish a beautiful stretch of water.

It is all perspective!

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Jason E.'s picture

If that's the stretch of water I think it is, I can say with some confidence that the suckers/redhorse are active there, even when there's icebergs out.  In other words, maybe it is the fact that the suckers are active that makes the muskies active?  Sometimes I think we get so fixated on the predator's behavior.  But I wonder if the prey species "leads the way" here and their activity level is what dictates/drives the predator's behavior.  Who knows?  Either way, you've discerned an important pattern by fishing when and where no one else ventures out.  Kudos!!