The Great Muskie Challenge

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Published on: Sep. 2, 1995

Last revision: Oct. 20, 2010

fishing I bought a map of the lake and studied it hard. As my magnifier followed the contours of the lake bottom, I discovered Muskie Cove.

Too obvious, I decided, and moved on.

What I was looking for was rocky points. At least three articles out of four mentioned them as prime muskie spots. My map didn't tell me what was rocky, but whenever I came across a place where it looked like a pimple was trying to bust through the contour lines, I circled it with a red felt tip pen.

I planned to fish a day and a half, about 12 hours overall, allowing myself some time to stretch, eat and take refuge from the worst of the mid-May sun.

In person, Pomme de Terre turned out to be a grand amount of impounded water artfully contained by rolling, lushly wooded hills. At the risk of appearing less than rugged, I will describe the lake as, well, lovely.

My first stop was a local bait shop, where I informed the lady tending of my determination to catch a legal muskie. She suggested bass and, after I shook my head, crappie.

"Nobody's fishing muskie with the lake so high," she said, although she'd heard that a muskie followed a plastic worm a guy was using for bass fishing.

"It was a purple worm," she advised.

In the corner of the shop, I gazed upon a selection of the lures I had read about in magazines and picked out a jointed plug no less than 11 inches long and almost as wide around as a beer can. It came with a long list of professional references. I also selected an equally prodigious spinnerbait and another plug, which I'd never heard of, but which somehow seemed charismatic.

Only when I reached the former launch ramp did I understand what the lady meant by the lake being high. A fellow caretaking a nearby park said the pool was 23 1/2 feet above normal, a result of a wetter than average spring in the watershed.

Undeterred, I launched from the flooded and empty parking lot and motored toward every angler's favorite secret spot: the side of the lake opposite the launch ramp.

My depth finder soon convinced me that I would have to revamp my plans. All the points I marked on the map were now 35-45 feet down, instead of the 10-20 foot depths I'd hoped to fis h. Almost every bit of

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