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Fish: Tiger Muskie

Tiger Musky

Post By: Colejb      Posted: 6/20/2023 1:13:37 PM     Points: 1    
Hey Everyone,

I just wanted to come on here to hear about anyones recent luck with tigers here. Most information about tigers here in Colorado is pretty outdated. I've been putting in a lot of hours this summer with not much luck...which is not a surprise.

I caught a 30" yesterday but besides that it's been tough. Along with a 42" I lost last summer right next to the boat. I know of all the main lakes where I believe the tiger population is plentiful. Yesterday I saw about 30 fish, with a couple lazy follows. Ive also seen a few I believe may be around 50" but the odds of getting one of them to bite is almost zero. Also saw someone catch a 40" on an 8" swimbait a couple weeks ago.

I just wanted to hear if anyone was having any luck or have heard any crazy stories in the last year. Also, thoughts on downsizing on baits? Ive heard of some people throwing 11" glide baits and having success, Ive also seen people catch 40"+ fish on 3/8 oz kastmasters...

Tight lines
 Reply by: kirbydog      Posted: 6/21/2023 12:46:00 PM     Points: 114
The tiger muskies I have caught or hooked and lost have all come from fishing for other species. I don't know of any lake where I would call the muskie population plentiful. I have a couple of lakes that have a marginal amount of muskies. I would not target muskies on these lakes as your likely to have many non productive outings.

Very elusive fish with lots of follows and few bites. The biggest muskie I have ever hooked I did it on a 3" tube so most anything can work if they are in the mood to bite-which they don't seem to be very often. Oh, I lost that fish too.
 Reply by: Anteroman      Posted: 6/21/2023 12:54:43 PM     Points: 7002
I havenít personally caught one but last year two of my fishing buddies each had one at Antero, both fish were at the 33Ē to 35Ē and were caught on flies they were fishing for trout, a bi- catch obviously.
From what Iíve heard approximately 1800 have been stocked possibly more.
Fish of a thousand casts!
 Reply by: Trailerman      Posted: 6/21/2023 8:31:25 PM     Points: 44
Have also been apparently caught in spinney. Iím guessing ran down the river from antero. Are these fish loner predators like a mountain lion? Iím unsure as to why they would leave the antero buffet and cruise down that shallow river?
 Reply by: Barnacles      Posted: 6/22/2023 10:03:48 AM     Points: 4414
Most of mine have been accidental too. Sounds like you're already doing better than most on these things... but just a few observations where I fish.
Both places I've caught these are also infested with crawdads. Most of the ones I've caught have been after I give up and go after smallmouth, with light line and a "finesse" craw. Just about a 2" rubber bait with claws, with a 1/8 oz jig.

Also had similar experience with seeing fish & lazy follows many nice weather days, but go back to the same place in foul weather or night & seem to make contact. Not really sure, but I think if you can see them, they can see you.

See lots of guys out there slinging traditional muskie/pike baits all over the lake. Looks like two hub caps with a skirt. Figure they know what they're doing, but never see them catching anything. Seems like it's always the bass or fly guys that I see catching these things.
 Reply by: k_hine      Posted: 6/22/2023 6:30:22 PM     Points: 3558
Muskies are super fun and I love chatting about them!

I've been a believer in downsizing baits for muskies. My PB musky was on a 3in jerkbait. However I've also caught them on huge bucktails and 12in swimbaits. Just be confident in what you're throwing... certain baits take practice and being confident in the presentation helps... Downsizing can be a good idea when CPW recently stoked fingerlings...

The thing I've really trying to focus on is making every cast count. twice this year I've moved a musky, only to have that same musky sit under my boat for some time. The casts right after you move a fish are the most important I think.

Sometimes when I'm drifting with the wind I'll put a deadstick off the back of the boat with a spoon on it (like 4ft down). If i happen to bring in a musky maybe it'll hit the drifting spoon (this happened once like 4 years ago)

Last month I was fishing for browns at Antero. I was throwing a megabass great hunting 51mm jerkbait (their trout bait line), and a musky grabbed it. We fought for a few minutes before he went to the bottom and didn't move. When it decided to move it broke me off (6lb flouro). That bait was deep down in his gullet, I hope the fish survived and is OK...

I will say that having a good leader is important. You don't need crazy 100lb wire or saltwater gear, but something like 30lb or 40lb will certainly be better than 6lb....

If you're not aware we have a musky bait shop in Buena Vista now (just opened in May). The "TackleShack" is next door to UpRiver Fly Fishing right here in town. Max the owner is a good dude trying to grow the community here. Stop by if you're even coming through town. He has loads of musky thoughts/ideas.
 Reply by: 007      Posted: 6/23/2023 8:44:30 AM     Points: 81
They are not easily targeted even in lakes with high numbers. They dont feed often and can be super finicky and it seems like the follows/strikes is 10/1. Also the hours per fish is higher than any other fish Ive targeted in CO. They can be caught on arm length baits burned at super high speed just under the water surface or bycatch on a single salmon egg 6 inches off the bottom, but they eat suckers/perch/trout so thats worth keeping in mind with lure selection. Whatever you do if you are considering targeting them or even casting at one layed up, please make sure you have at minimum 40lb test and sufficiently burly rod power(MH) and drag weight (18lbs), but preferably 80lb flouro, heavy rod and 22lb + drag. More importantly you NEED to have a big enough and rubberized net for them to remain horizontal and not cut to pieces by nylon netting. Also big time pliers/hook cutting equipment. Despite (or perhaps because of) their strength and ferocity they can easily fight to the death if you're using even medium strength gear. If you're fishing for them or even just casting at one with sub 30lb line you're asking for a cutoff and fish with 1-3 trebles set in its gullet is not likely to live (it happens way too frequently). In my experience fish that are belly on bottom or sitting shallow are digesting/sunning and wont bite anything so they are better photography targets than fishing targets. I like a cloudy chop on the water and 5-15ft depth with rocks or weeds nearby, and I work my lures as if they had whirling disease or were recently let off the stocking truck.
 Reply by: Artsy      Posted: 6/23/2023 10:04:43 AM     Points: 332
I second everything 007 said. I've been fishing for them about 4yrs now, and I caught my first one last year. A little 18 incher. I was ecstatic!! I've been pretty successful at catching pike, but the tiger muskie is something completely different.

Follow after follow, after follow....and no bites. It's like they get behind your bait and give you the middle finger right before they swim right under the boat..cast after cast.

I think the most frustrating thing to me is watching the people fishing for trout catching 40" plus tigers on powerbait and kastmasters!!....which I've tried by the way.

Patience and persistence seems to be the way to go for tigers. Oh yea, and a whole lotta luck!
 Reply by: 1blueflamer      Posted: 6/24/2023 4:06:33 PM     Points: 576
If I were targeting them Gross Reservoir would be my destination.
There is plenty of food and no fishing pressure there.
 Reply by: panfishin      Posted: 6/28/2023 1:41:16 PM     Points: 9218
I've only specifically targeted them once and I chose Antero. Fishing around some weed towers just like I target pike at Spinney. landed one smaller guy at 22" on a 4" paddle tail swimbait. Was a couple years ago but I feel like just using the same tactics that I use down river at Spinney and 11mile would yield similar success...larger jerkbaits, buzzbaits depending on the time of day, spinner or chatterbaits and of course swimbaits.
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