A Fanatical Few

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Published on: Jul. 2, 2008

Last revision: Dec. 8, 2010

fight. Because they often follow lures back to the boat, anglers routinely swish a lure around in the water a few times before extracting it for another cast. When this tactic works and a muskie strikes at boatside on a short line, the odds favor the muskie. And, no matter which way the fight goes, it sure features a lot of commotion.

We wouldn’t have muskies here (they aren’t native to Missouri) if the Conservation Department didn’t stock them. The state’s muskie program began in 1966 when the Department first placed muskies in Pomme de Terre Lake. Through the years, lakes have been added to and subtracted from the muskie program. Currently, the Department stocks the fish in Pomme de Terre, Fellows, Hazel Creek and Henry Sever lakes, as well as Busch Area Lake 35.

Although all the lakes provide good fishing, Pomme de Terre is the muskie hub of Missouri. The lake draws anglers from around the state and has become a national attraction.

“We have a tremendous fishery down here,” Neely said. “I think we have more fish per acre than you’ll find in any other place I could name. Even more than in what they call ‘premium’ muskies lakes up north and in Canada.

“And, you don’t need a passport to catch them.”

The Pomme de Terre Chapter of Muskies Inc. is part of a national organization dedicated to improving the sport of muskie fishing everywhere. The Pomme de Terre Chapter includes members from five states. Most of its 180 members, however, live in Missouri.

Neely said about a third of the members come from the Springfield/southwest area, another third from the Kansas City area and another third from St. Louis.

“Some of them drive down here for the meetings, even when there’s no fishing involved,” he said.

The club keeps members, who might undergo long stretches between catches, enthused about muskies. It’s especially helpful for club members who still are trying to catch their first muskie.

“What amazes me is the willingness of our members to tell you what they’re doing, where they are fishing, where their hot spots are, what lure they are using and how fast they are retrieving or trolling them,” Neely said.

The chapter’s annual Pomme de Tour events have institutionalized the practice of helping anglers. Two times a year, generally in the summer months, experienced members take members out on guided tours of one of the lake’s two major arms in

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