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Thread: 2009 Fall Muskie Trolling Report w/ photos

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Morson, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    551

    Thumbs up 2009 Fall Muskie Trolling Report w/ photos

    Now that I have had to pull the boat for the season and have had a few days to analyze some of the catch data, I would like to share some results from fall trolling season.

    Please keep in mind the fact that I'm relatively new to this idea of trolling. This is the 3rd year (2005, 2008, 2009) that I have spent some good time trolling. In 2005, I was a passenger only and tried to soak up as much as I could from my mentor as we trolled for a couple of weeks. I trolled out of my boat in 2006 and 2007 as well, but had very limited time those two falls. The last 2 falls, I have used my boat almost exclusively.

    If you are looking for exact locations of were we caught fish, you will be disappointed. What you WILL get is some general info about the how we do it to go with the results we had.

    Without further ado...my first ever trolling report for the 2009 trolling season.

    Muskies Caught: 71
    Days fished: 22 Days between Oct 11 and Nov 18.
    Muskies Lost during the fight: 2
    Muskies (probably muskies) lost before we got the rod out of the holder and got into fishing the fish: lost count, but probably near a dozen or so.

    We spent most of our time targeting 8-10 feet of water on average and trolled shorelines all over the lake. Rock (shorelines, points, reefs, etc) and sand were the best structural elements, with rock being number 1. If the fish had access to some deeper water nearby, all the better. Trolling weeds seems to be a waste of time for me. I tried to keep my speed between 3.5 and 4.3 MPH most of the time. I could not really find a pattern or exact speed that proved more productive than others. The keys seem to be banging bottom and speed changes resulting from boat turns. However, there were more fish caught just rumbling along the shorelines that did not seem directly related to either of those two things either so how does one know? Wind didn't seem to matter a whole lot either. We often will find places to fish that aren't getting pounded by wind and the action was just fine. We did get some fish in the wind too though, but the extra work it requires has never seemed to be worth it for me in the fall. I am open to changing my opinion on that in the future, but for the moment I don't think you have to troll in 3 footers to catch fish. I generally would have 45 feet of line out for the inside rod and 50 feet on the outside rod. The middle rod would generally be set shorter at 35 feet. All of these settings are on line counter reels with 42"-48" leaders. This would be for using Jakes. If we had a Grandma or deeper diving bait, then we would adjust shorter as the number of snags dictated.

    I blew through every 4x strong 5/0 treble hooks I had in the box and had to rob some off other baits the last few days. After landing 32 muskies during the 2008 trolling season, I didn't expect the numbers we had and thought I had plenty of hooks.

    Fish were caught with surface water temps between 49.3 degrees and 39.3 degrees.

    Size Distributions
    46.5" - 48" - 8
    43" - 44.75" - 9
    40" - 42.75" - 21

    35" - 39.75" - 24
    32" - 34.75" - 6
    27" - 27.75" - 3

    Note that we did not land a 50 incher
    , which is the only way I could think of to have made this a somewhat better season. It did seem to be a bit of a slower season for 50 inchers this fall for our guests and those in our area in general so perhaps it wasn't all my fault that we didn't bag a giant. We did have a fish on the first day out that was more than likely in the class of 50 inches, but it managed to head shake its way off the lure during the 10 minute or more fight back to the boat. We never did see that fish during it's 3-4 long runs, massive head shakes and attempt to stay down on the bottom. All of these things lead me to guess that it was a very big fish.

    Lures
    61 fish on 10" Jakes (48" being the biggest)
    7 fish on 14" Jakes (47.75" being the biggest)
    3 fish on 9" Grandmas (46.5" being the biggest)

    The fish were smacking 10 inchers with such regularity that we didn't want to mess with success much. Also having only 2 rods for all but two days made me less willing to experiment with a different bait on the 3rd rod. I do like to try different baits when I'm running 3 rods, but did not have that luxury this past fall.

    Colours
    The 3 top colour patterns were Rainbow Trout, Sunshine Tiger and Superman. The best producing bait was a brand new 10" Sunshine Tiger that landed 13 muskies up to 46.75". The Rainbow Trout pattern landed 18 muskies using 5 different baits.

    Rod Position (related to the structure)

    38 fish hit the outside rod
    29 fish hit the inside rod
    4
    fish hit the middle rod

    The middle rod was hot last season when we had 3 people in the boat more often than not. I used 3 rods only 2 days and ran a rod in the middle position behind the motor on the second day of trolling when we had 2 people after 9-10 straight strikes on the inside rod and a completely dead outside rod. It caught 2 muskies, 2 northerns and lost another muskie in a few hours that day. The first few days definitely seemed to have fish holding tighter to structure and being shallower. That was perhaps to do the hangover from the late September warm water temps that were 70 degrees well into the middle of the month.

    We had 3 personal bests in my boat out of the 5 different anglers (myself included) that fished with me. Myself and one other angler had our season bests during the trolling season.

    Best Numbers Day: 7 fish that were 33.5", 40", 36.5", 42", 40.5", 39.5", 46.5"

    Overall Best Day: 6 fish, first fish was not caught until 11:45 while the 6th fish was caught at 16:20. In order - 40.75", 46.75", 42.25", 48", 47", 47".

    Other Observations
    Morning bite seemed pretty slow until into November for us.

    Fall fish that are 39 and 40 inches, but have put the feedbag on can look feel and look like 45 inch class fish during the fight and in the net. Fall porkers are what make fall fishing such a blast.

    Get the biggest, deepest size net of whatever brand net you like best.
    I'm a fan of Beckman with their XD bag and fin saver mesh. Netting fish with that big hoop is like putting a minnow in a walleye net. The fish have plenty of room to recover after unhooking and it gives you a little room for error during the action landing of the fish. Smaller nets means you have to be more precise, especially in the case of a 47.75" fish with a 14" crank bait attached to it for example.

    A fairly new release tool called the "Hook Pick" is awesome. That thing replaced the long pliers pretty much permanently in the case of pesky northerns that don't require a landing net, but are best not to hand land and grab if you don't have to. I will post a picture of this thing for people to see because if you fish muskies on a regular basis and do a lot of water releases that don't require a net, you should have one of these things.

    Two biggest pike were Alyssa's 39.5 incher and my 41.25 incher.
    The big pike population in Lake of the Woods is thriving. We lost count of the 37-38 inch pike we caught.

    Lindy Fish handling gloves: I don't leave the dock without them. Period.

    I will be posting some photos and possibly some video clips (when I figure out how to upload and edit them together) in the near future.

    Special Thanks To:

    Alyssa for putting up with my trolling obsession and fishing with me as often as possible.

    Bazil for putting up with my analness for parts of two weeks and teaching me some more about how to catch fish.

    Bob at JustEncase Products for the best trolling tackle boxes ever!

    Dick "Baitmaker" Moore for the hooks and leaders at everyday low prices compared to all those typical retailers.

    Ralph G and Bruce G for coming up to fish with me again for 1 day this fall and Bruce for providing the coolest little video camera ever that allowed us to be able to prove we caught a lot of fish.

    Final Thoughts (if you made it this far!!)

    I'm not a guide. I'm not a pro. I just like to catch fish with family and friends. My favorite part is always letting them go and watching them get let go. I'm not perfect when handling every fish, but I learned from some great fish handlers and strive to do everything I can to be careful with all the fish we catch. Every fish muskie we caught was released and went down strong. Some took a few seconds longer than others to go back down to the depths of the lake, but I don't believe any fish we caught was in danger of not making it.

    I know how lucky I am to be so close to such a great muskie lake. I don't know that I will ever have a better trolling season than I just experienced, but can't wait to get out there again in the fall of 2010 to keep learning what the fish are willing to let us learn.

    It will be a fun winter thinking back to the great time we had trolling and passing the days until we can go after some big sturgeon for a few days in April on the Rainy River and just into Lake of the Woods from Baudette.

    Please feel free to reply with any thoughts, questions or comments. I would like to know if people think this was way more information than they care to have or if it is something people would like to see each fall after my season is over. I hope to be able to fish often every fall and have results worthy of reporting, but we will just take it one year at a time.
    Last edited by Justin Gaudry; 02-06-2011 at 07:45 PM. Reason: still finding typos and grammer issues!
    Justin Gaudry
    Mylie's Place Resort

    Lake of the Woods
    Morson, Ontario, Canada
    Website: http://www.myliesplaceresort.com
    Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/myliesplace
    YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/MyliesPlaceResort/feed
    Twitter: @MyliesPlaceJMan https://twitter.com/#!/MyliesPlaceJMan
    E-mail: jwgaudry@hotmail.com
    Toll Free Phone: 1-866-395-3449

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    Morson, Ontario, Canada
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    551

    Default 43.75" to 44.75" Photos

    Fish 1: 43.75"; number 70 of the trolling season.

    Fish 2: 44"

    Fish 3: 44"; possibly the fattest fish of the fall in terms of proportionality to it's length

    Fish 4: 44.75"
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    Justin Gaudry
    Mylie's Place Resort

    Lake of the Woods
    Morson, Ontario, Canada
    Website: http://www.myliesplaceresort.com
    Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/myliesplace
    YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/MyliesPlaceResort/feed
    Twitter: @MyliesPlaceJMan https://twitter.com/#!/MyliesPlaceJMan
    E-mail: jwgaudry@hotmail.com
    Toll Free Phone: 1-866-395-3449

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    Morson, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    551

    Default 46.5" to 46.75" Photos

    Fish 1: 46.5"; Alyssa's Personal Best in terms of weight as this fish was heavier than the 46.75".

    Fish 2: 46.75"; Alyssa's Personal Best length

    Fish 3: 46.75"; The first nice fish of the fall
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    Last edited by Justin Gaudry; 02-06-2011 at 12:40 PM.
    Justin Gaudry
    Mylie's Place Resort

    Lake of the Woods
    Morson, Ontario, Canada
    Website: http://www.myliesplaceresort.com
    Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/myliesplace
    YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/MyliesPlaceResort/feed
    Twitter: @MyliesPlaceJMan https://twitter.com/#!/MyliesPlaceJMan
    E-mail: jwgaudry@hotmail.com
    Toll Free Phone: 1-866-395-3449

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    Morson, Ontario, Canada
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    551

    Default 47" to 48" Photos

    Fish 1: 47"

    Fish 2: 47"

    Fish 3: 47"; Bazil

    Fish 4: 47.75"; My Season Best, number 69 for the fall and the last fish I caught for the year.

    Fish 5: 48"; Bazil's Season best.
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    Justin Gaudry
    Mylie's Place Resort

    Lake of the Woods
    Morson, Ontario, Canada
    Website: http://www.myliesplaceresort.com
    Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/myliesplace
    YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/MyliesPlaceResort/feed
    Twitter: @MyliesPlaceJMan https://twitter.com/#!/MyliesPlaceJMan
    E-mail: jwgaudry@hotmail.com
    Toll Free Phone: 1-866-395-3449

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Morson, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    551

    Default Personal Bests

    Ralph and Bruce gave me one day to put them on a muskie again this fall. After a successful one day each with other a different 3rd person last year, Father and son fished together with me this year and I was lucky enough to get them both another personal best muskie. It was only the second muskie ever caught for both Ralph and Bruce.

    One muskie hit 15 minutes into the day. The other hit with about 15 minutes of light left in the day. 4-5 northerns up to 38.5" kept us busy throughout the day. I certainly did not mind getting skunkered when both my guests/friends were able to get a PB fish.

    How about 2 days next year guys? Maybe we can find a biggie!

    Fish 1: Ralph with his personal best 40" muskie.

    Fish 2: Bruce with his personal best 43" muskie.
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    Justin Gaudry
    Mylie's Place Resort

    Lake of the Woods
    Morson, Ontario, Canada
    Website: http://www.myliesplaceresort.com
    Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/myliesplace
    YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/MyliesPlaceResort/feed
    Twitter: @MyliesPlaceJMan https://twitter.com/#!/MyliesPlaceJMan
    E-mail: jwgaudry@hotmail.com
    Toll Free Phone: 1-866-395-3449

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Morson, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    551

    Default Injured Fish

    Here are some photos of a couple of fish that were badly injured at some point. We can only guess as to what caused the damage.

    Both fish took off strong and seemed unaware of their injuries.

    All of these photos were pulled from the video we took while measuring and releasing the fish.

    Pic 1: 39" northern that seemed to be injured quite recently. Prop from a boat perhaps? The fish was not bleeding at all when I handled it.

    Pic 2: 39" northern; same fish

    Pic 3: 39" northern; same fish

    Pic 4: 41.5" muskie with a wound back towards the tail. This injury was healing very nicely. It had hardened over the wound completely.
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    Justin Gaudry
    Mylie's Place Resort

    Lake of the Woods
    Morson, Ontario, Canada
    Website: http://www.myliesplaceresort.com
    Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/myliesplace
    YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/MyliesPlaceResort/feed
    Twitter: @MyliesPlaceJMan https://twitter.com/#!/MyliesPlaceJMan
    E-mail: jwgaudry@hotmail.com
    Toll Free Phone: 1-866-395-3449

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Morson, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    551

    Default 1st Annual Fall MVB (Most Valuable Bait)

    With 13 muskies up to 46.75", the 10" Sunshine Tiger Jake wins the first ever 2009 Fall Trolling MVB Award.

    This bait was brand new out of the box so all the teeth marks and rock/hook rash is from this past trolling season.

    It landed many northerns that we didn't keep track of as well.
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    Justin Gaudry
    Mylie's Place Resort

    Lake of the Woods
    Morson, Ontario, Canada
    Website: http://www.myliesplaceresort.com
    Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/myliesplace
    YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/MyliesPlaceResort/feed
    Twitter: @MyliesPlaceJMan https://twitter.com/#!/MyliesPlaceJMan
    E-mail: jwgaudry@hotmail.com
    Toll Free Phone: 1-866-395-3449

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    14

    Default Great Report

    Hi Justin

    The photos and report were great, you had a wonderfull fall season of fishing and the weather held out for the most part which always helps, hopefully down the road we will be up in the area and you can show me the ropes.

    Carol and Tom are on there way down Wen. for the big turkey day, so it will be nice to see them. You guys take care.

    Paul

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Morson, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    551

    Default

    Thanks for the note, Paul. Say hello to everyone in the family for us.

    It would be great to have you and Maureen up here full time someday. I'll be needing a late season fishing partner for those times the weather doesn't stay as nice as it did this year and my wife can't be out all day.

    I trust the surgery went well and that you're on the road back to feeling 100%.

    Keep in touch.
    Justin Gaudry
    Mylie's Place Resort

    Lake of the Woods
    Morson, Ontario, Canada
    Website: http://www.myliesplaceresort.com
    Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/myliesplace
    YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/MyliesPlaceResort/feed
    Twitter: @MyliesPlaceJMan https://twitter.com/#!/MyliesPlaceJMan
    E-mail: jwgaudry@hotmail.com
    Toll Free Phone: 1-866-395-3449

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    2

    Default Jealous in Chicago

    Hey Justin That is some very impressive catches. Would love to make a fall trolling trip up there some year. Until then I guess I will just have to check out your pics. Hope you and your family have a happy holiday season, we'll see you next season Tim Kevin & Keith High

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    14

    Unhappy Cold In Neb.

    Hi Justin

    The cold weather has set in here, were expecting 8 in. tonite. Looks like you have been cold for some time now, how much snow do you have on the ground? Made it through the surgery fine, just in time to enjoy a great Thansgiving feast. It was great to see every one, they will be back in a couple weeks for the next big holiday.

    Wondering what the cost was to leave the boat up there next summer, I now you have a different rate for the two sheds. Might be less wear and tear on the pu to just leave it up there. I'm kind of thinking 6 trips.

    Talk to you soon

    Paul

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Morson, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    551

    Default Computer is back from the shop!

    Hey All, finally got the computer back from the shop so will be able to get some work done on the website and keep better track of the board.

    Tim: Good to hear from you. Thanks for the post. Say hi to the boys and we'll look forward to seeing some more pics of your big fish next summer.

    Paul: Great idea to leave the boat up here. The wear and tear on the trailer and truck will be cut down alot. Plus you can enjoy the ride instead of worrying about that big, sweet rig of yours behind you all that way. AND, if you can drive something more economical than your truck for all the trips between the opening and closing of the cabin, you will be laughing.

    We get $30/$40/$50 per month for outside/old shed/new shed respectively. Taxes extra of course. New shed is always full, might be able to squeeze you in the old one. If you have a good cover to drain the rain, outside is just fine as well. Let me know if you think you'll want to be inside the old shed and I'll make a note on my storage spreadsheet right now.
    Last edited by Justin Gaudry; 02-06-2011 at 12:43 PM.
    Justin Gaudry
    Mylie's Place Resort

    Lake of the Woods
    Morson, Ontario, Canada
    Website: http://www.myliesplaceresort.com
    Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/myliesplace
    YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/MyliesPlaceResort/feed
    Twitter: @MyliesPlaceJMan https://twitter.com/#!/MyliesPlaceJMan
    E-mail: jwgaudry@hotmail.com
    Toll Free Phone: 1-866-395-3449

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