Pomme de Terre Muskies
de Terre, stump fields and offshore humps are the best places to look for muskies. Timber near deep water usually holds more fish. The lower (northern) part of the lake is more popular among muskie anglers, but fish are distributed throughout the lake.Fishing for muskies requires big lures. Large, in-line bucktail spinnerbaits, 8-inch Rapala Shad Raps and Magnum Wiggle Warts are commonly used.
"Bass anglers who don't know anything about muskie fishing sometimes laugh when they see the big lures I use," Wilson said.
A muskie rig is stout and powerful. Wilson uses large-capacity, high-speed baitcasting reels with a 6 1/2 foot, heavy action rod. He prefers to use 50 pound-test braided line with a 6-inch wire leader. Surprisingly, fish still occasionally break the line.
Muskies are notorious for following a lure to the boat and hitting it at the last second. Anglers make the common mistake of not watching their lure and just pulling it out of the water. It is vital to watch for fish following the lure. If a muskie follows the lure to the boat, keep the lure moving in the water, reel in all but about two feet of line, stick the pole in the water and make a large figure-8 motion. This odd maneuver will often draw a strike. Be sure to unlock the spool when making a figure-8, and thumb the line. If the fish hits while the spool is locked, it may break line, break the equipment or just rip the pole from your hands.
Trolling over offshore humps also produces a lot of fish. For this method, Wilson chooses a large crankbait such as a Magnum Wiggle Wart. The type of crankbait depends on the depth of the hump and the season.
Some anglers claim that muskies feed on other gamefish such as crappie and diminish the population. Although muskies may occasionally eat crappie, they usually feed on shad or other nongame fish.
"There is no documented evidence that muskie hurt other gamefish populations," Meade said.
Although many people fish for muskie on Pomme de Terre, this exciting game fish ranks far behind bass, crappie and catfish in popularity. Nevertheless, muskies have a devoted--or even an obsessed--following of anglers. More than 150 muskie fanatics belong to Pomme de Terre Chapter of Muskies, Inc., making it one of the largest chapters in the country.
The chapter holds two catch-and-release tournaments per year. The tournaments, which sometimes include as many as 100 boats, are a great place to test your fishing skills and learn Pomme de Terre's muskie fishing hotspots. More information about the tournaments and the chapter's many activities is available online or you can call Chapter President Carl Marks at (417) 745-2381.
At Pomme de Terre, the daily limit of muskies is one fish that must be 36 inches or longer. Anglers seldom keep their catches, however. Mark Boone, the Conservation Department's muskellunge program advisor and a muskie angler, says his surveys show that an overwhelming majority of anglers release their fish after catching them.
"Among all muskie anglers, it's over 90 percent catch-and-release," Boone said, "but when it comes to chapter members, it's 100 percent."
Those numbers show a lot of a respect for a hard-fighting game fish. Missourians seem determined to preserve their opportunity to battle traditionally northern fish in Missouri waters. You'll understand why after a Missouri muskie rockets into your lure.