Dissection # 3 Evergreen Lake
Guest Blog by: Will Dykstra 2/18/2013
A small, cold water lake, nestled in a small mountain town is a less than likely place that one would expect to chase the elusive tiger muskie. When tigers were first being stocked in Evergreen Lake I questioned the compatibility of a lake like this with tiger muskies. Needless to say I was pleasantly surprised within the first 5 years of the introduction of tigers in this picturesque lake.
The first thing I want to touch on about chasing tigers not just at Evergreen, but anywhere, is paying attention to the weather. Tiger muskies are extremely temperamental and I should note that I have had my best results just before and just after a good summer thunderstorm. When I was a child my parents bought a tiger muskie at the Denver Sportsmanís show, from one the vendors there. We had a 65 gallon aquarium at home so we thought it might be fun to raise a tiger muskie. This went from being a cool pet, to an amazing educational tool. Our tiger muskie taught us a ton about tiger muskie behavior. The first observation I made was when we feed him, this fish would NOT eat a wounded minnow or goldfish, even if it was the last fish left in the tank, he would not eat it. This seemed strange, but in my experience it has held true, I have never caught a tiger on a bait that mimicked a dying fish. I mean sure, the twitch and pause action of a lure might resemble a dying fish, but I think it resembles a fish trying to get away more than anything. The second thing I noticed was that this fish would get extremely active just before, during, and just after a thunderstorm. It seemed that as the time from the storm grew longer, the tiger seemed to get less and less active and would eventually become neutral and sit on the bottom. We would throw feeder fish in at this time and the tiger would not touch them. The storms would affect this fishís behavior for several days after the storm, until either a new storm came through or there was a string of consistent weather. As I stated earlier, the weather might be your best indicator on when to fish for tigers. With all that said, you need to use your best judgment and always keep safety in mind.
So for the dissection of the lake, instead writing a novel like I did on Lower Big Lake, I am going to give you my peak times for this lake and my top lures for shore angling and boat angling.
Peak Months: Late May - October
Habitat: Sunken Christmas trees, junk weeds, small rocks
Top lures for shore anglers:
- Suspending Minnowbaits - Husky Jerks, Rogues, Lucky Craft Slender Pointers
- Topwater Baits - Zara Spooks, Amazon Rippers, Buzz Baits
- Soft Plastics - Texas-rigged tube jigs and jerkbaits
- Safety pin style spinnerbaits - 3/8 oz double Colorado blades with a black skirt, Willowleaf/Colorado combination blades with white skirt.
Top lures for boat anglers:
I will use the same lures I stated earlier for boat fishing as well but I add a few others.
- Soft Swimbaits - Savage Gear Soft 4play, Money Minnows, Storm Kickin' Minnow
- Hard Swimbaits - Savage Gear Hard 4play, Jackall Mikey jr.
- Large Soft Plastics - Large tube jigs, Reaper Tails, Sluggo's
I hope this helps you in your pursuit of tiger muskies and I look forward to seeing pictures of these awesome fish from you all this upcoming year.Remember to handle these fish with care and release them. They do not reproduce, so once they are gone, they are gone.
Will Dykstra is a Colorado Native who has a relentless obsession for Muskies and Northern Pike. This obsession has led to him becoming a senior predator guide for Tightline Outdoors. Over the years Will has fished many bodies of water pursuing toothy critters. This pursuit has allowed him to take tactics learned while fishing northern Minnesota and Canada and applying them to lakes and rivers in Colorado. The majority of fishing that Will does in Colorado is spent chasing Tiger Muskies, Northern Pike, Smallmouth , Largemouth, Lake Trout, and all other species of Trout. Will is currently the President of the Colorado Chapter of Muskies Inc. Will is sponsored by Blade Runner Tackle, Red October Baits, Tuf-Line,P Line, EGO nets,and Muskie Bumper.
Blog content © Will Dykstra
alanlf5280, CO 2/18/2013 4:05:33 PM
You have it listed at #2 on your top 5 list, but it seems like one of the tougher lakes. What is the tiger muskies main course at Evergreen? Trout?
Will Dykstra (Muskiemaniac), CO 2/18/2013 4:11:41 PM
They certainly eat trout, but they eat suckers and chubs primarily.
I listed it at number 2 because the chance a high 40 inch fish is pretty low. the biggest in my boat here was a 44 and I saw one that was bigger, lots of 36-40 inch fish in this lake.
FishForAll, CO 2/19/2013 8:17:32 AM
Good stuff Will
Taimen1, CO 2/19/2013 11:01:02 AM
Hey Will, i live in evergreen and have been chasing the Tigers on and off for a couple of years now without a solid hook set... yet. My friend and I have a drift boat and we throw flies and lures at them. My question is do you guide? Would love to get together and talk muskie..
Will Dykstra (Muskiemaniac), CO 2/19/2013 12:55:31 PM
Marky, I do guide and will be guiding on Evergreen this year.
Shoot me an email willdykstraTLO@gmail.com
Inlandsharpie777, CO 2/19/2013 2:43:26 PM
I stuck a 42 on a near nuff crayfish last year, but I haven't seen any since then, and that was last may. I'm skeptical of the numbers, as I've seen them basking for the last 5 years, and this summer, nothing. I suppose if you have strong will you can still try, but I fish evergreen every day when there's open water, and I say go elsewhere.
Taimen1, CO 2/20/2013 11:22:50 AM
Inlandsharpie, I saw that fish you bagged last summer, very impressive. I too was very skepitical of the numbers of fish in the lake after years of not landing one, and not seeing very many. However I reached out to a DOW biologist regarding this and here was his response:
Iíve observed some nice (i.e. 35Ē) tigers in Evergreen when boat electrofishing up there, but e-fishing is not an efficient way of sampling tigers, they escape the electric field more often than not. Iíve tried a mark-recapture estimate, but did not get enough recaps to obtain a population estimate. With that said, I think there are a healthy number of tigers in Evergreen. From 1991 to 2006 it was stocked annually with fingerlings (7Ē) to control white suckers. Since then itís only be stocked in 2008 Ė we obtain tiger musky from other states, and their supply has not been consistent. Owing to the fact that tigers are long-lived (10-15 years), Iím sure thereís plenty of them still in the lake.
With that said, I'm not giving up on the lake yet, I'm determined to catch one!!
Inlandsharpie777, CO 2/20/2013 1:46:57 PM
I wish you the best of luck, I didn't know anything about the e- fishing samples. I just haven't seen them in their normal neck of the woods in the mornings. I found a pretty big dead one this summer, like 45-48 inches, and I think I'd seen him before, but the 35 inch avg seems right. If you're ever interested in a little non internet postable knowledge, I'd love to give you a few tips, location and timing wise. Saintsallday777@gmail.com