French River Musky

welcome everybody to the new flag Fisher
I’m your host Colin McEwen in today’s show it’s all about musky big muskie on
the fly I’m in the French River area of Ontario and I’m out with Andy Pappas
from vicious fishing we’re gonna be fly fishing for a huge muscle I’m talking 40
50 inches we’re gonna be talking about structure presentation how to find them
using temperature and bait fish I mean it’s going to be an incredibly detailed
show I know you’re gonna love it stay with us on this week’s show I’m traveling to
totem point Lodge on the French River in Northeast Ontario the French River has
bragging rights to excellent bass walleye and perch fishing but we’re here
from the legendary muskie Andy Pappas owner of vicious fishes guide service
joins me today Andy has over 25 years of muskie fishing success to his credit and
has voted literally hundreds of muskies he is fairly new to fly fishing and is
quite interested to see how well we will fare with a predator like the Muskies
his strong depth of knowledge and expertise will really come into play in
finding muskie in a big river system like the French
there had been a major cold front that moved through the area just before I
arrived the Sun was high but the temperature was cool in fact it got as
cold as 28 degrees Fahrenheit not normal for the end of June and certainly not
great conditions for muskie the muskie fishing was tough thanks to
the weather but like any good guide Andy had a plan in fact he had three plans
our first locations to try or warm water areas these are shallower and had an
abundance of weeds the second location was visible and sunken structure points
humps shoals and the deep water edges of weed beds the final location was
locating schools of bait fish or forge these bait fish or forage are usually in
open water areas often deep usually around the suspended open water schools
will be predators such as muskie picking off stragglers and those that are
wounded or sick you and you’ve got me casting doing a fan
cast across the bow here and there’s a reason for it you explain it and why
it’s important to understand we are searching for these musky yeah we’ve got
a huge Bank of emergent vegetation now behind us and to be thorough we wanted
to work along that and work that all now we’ve spinning back the other way and
working the submerged vegetation off the stuff you can see and the idea is to
work a grid so that we’re covering all the water here
I just fan fan cast the whole area there is no bad water here Passyunk Oh big large that’s a nice one
yeah so I guess it’s one of the unfortunate side benefits is catching
big yeah there’s a wide variety of species here figure that now that’s all
nice large loss oh look at that that’s beautiful
well good sized backs very nice well done tada
what’s that five pounds yeah bout that that’s a beautiful fish she’ll be just fine no worse for wear why the guide is so critical and E is
boat control I mean you’re putting me in the right position for me to cast and
present this fly I’m not having to work my arm part and that’s input you know
totally you so you’re making my presentation a lot easier and save my
arm you explain what you’re doing here and why first of all it helps that I’ve
got a remote control for the electric motor so that I can run around to
wherever you’re not and leave you the space you need to be able to do your job
but what we’re doing is we’re getting upwind of a drift that that we want you
to hit and then whether I’ve got to back us into the wind or pull us along
slightly slightly faster than the light wind I’m using that electric to do that
and really it’s the boat control should just be you shouldn’t have to think
about it at all you should if I’m doing everything right you should be able to
cast to your heart’s content and not have to think about what’s around you or
behind you the cold fronts had taken their toll and
the musky bite was definitely off we headed back to the lodge to regroup for
tomorrow and planned strategies it was obviously time to consider Plan B totem point lodge is located in
picturesque French river country a beautiful drive to lodge that offers
both housekeeping and full American plan packages family owned since 1972 their
top priority being comfort cleanliness and service all cottages are fully
equipped including full kitchens with the standard stove fridge and dishes for
anglers on a budget wanting access to excellent fishing this is the place to
go the next morning we headed out the weather was finally stable but we
expected the bike to still be off for the musky relying on Andy’s exceptional
understanding of musky behavior he recommended we moved to defined deep
structure such as points sunken humps and the deep edges of wheat beds
time to initiate Plan B definitely in musky I thought it was a weed like that see
the weed yeah yeah and then it moved shot off it’s exciting first musky the
day just falling you can see that the tops of the weeds that we’re trying to
fish through here this is and that fly is coming along at the perfect depth so
we’re just like about a foot down with this fly using this full sinking line
and as you can see this is synthetic material fly which is perfect because it
doesn’t weigh a lot pulsates underwater and it’s got a lot of glimmer and shine
with the Sun it’s perfect easy to cast the technique that I found most
effective when using large jointed streamers is known as the jerk strip
retrieve this involves a fairly aggressive stripping motion with
definite jerk of the rod at the beginning of the strip at the same time
you pull in various amounts aligned with your other hand it is all done in a
fluid motion this retrieve helps impart an action that mimics an injured or
stressed bait fish musky are exceptionally opportunistic in their
hunting and will target the weak and sick they love an easy meal and this is
what this technique does to give your fly the right action and see that we just passed over a big
fish and halfway down four feet of water I think it’s a small muskie I think so
too okay let me get the net little musk
right you know good side you want the fish to
take and seeing them and seeing them and seeing them it’s about time you got a
taker whoa I thought we talked about a head first
there we go in the pen all right and you’ve got a bit of 30 throw to 33 inch
fish 32 33 clapping male yes I’m gonna lift up now and take this all the way
how does that look that looks wonderful pretty green French River muskie okay and there should fall there he goes we
pounded every piece of structure and II thought would hold muskie but they
weren’t moving it had to do with water temperature which have been impacted by
the weather Colin just released a musky I just hooked and lost a pike and it’s
it’s all to do with the temperatures coming up and we’re looking forward now
to a good evening we’re seeing activity levels increasing on fish generally and
we’re coming into prime time now hoping big things are going to happen one of the things I think is real
important here people be used to sit in an D is how important temperature is in
finding these muskie especially this time of year were in June and we’ve had
a really funky kind of June where it’s been very cold especially at night and
water temperatures have fluctuated dramatically can you talk a bit about
that why that’s so important my skis are basically a warm water fish and how this
how they responded the cold front that we’ve just experienced here as they’ve
shut down water temperatures have dropped fish activity has dropped so
what we’re looking for now is the structures that are going to hold the
warmest water so things that are shallow weedy out of
the wind and we’re hoping that the most active fish are going to be there no it’s almost a nice one too
yeah nice fish oh yeah yeah okay getting them on the
real alright and I just passed that out and given it
a few twitches and he came up and just hammered it Wow Wow he’s fish that is a
really good fish great thing about having such a wide open boat you can
stroll with the fish coming towards me great no he’s going this way let’s go
this way sees you try getting in the wheel nice
fish okay whoo I love this I love this it
doesn’t get better doesn’t know it doesn’t and you just changed flies right
I did I went back to the quarter chicken dinner yep oh oh I can’t believe that he
turned came towards me and before I could reverse popped out gonna get fish
we have fish we didn’t get him in but that’s okay that’s muskie fishing badge
that was a nice bitch no that was forty forty I was well over forty well isn’t
it well 40 46 46 47 even okay we’ll get another one we’re gonna
know what okay no he was right where you said you’d be the challenge for fly fishers is using
flies that are big enough and give off sufficient sound to entice a big muskie
to move conventional tackle anglers cast some very big lures that give off a lot
of sound and present a large silhouette we have to use flies to try to do the
same but are still easy to cast this is where many lessons can be learned from
saltwater fly fishers their patterns present large silhouettes but use
materials that shed water quickly when coming to the French River bring a
supply of join of streamers articulate streamers in colors that match perch or
even small walleye work well bright colors are extremely effective at times
so have a few streamers in both chart ruse and white Big Top water flies can
also be used when the conditions are right I love top water action as it
takes are always explosive we highly recommend the addition of not able wire
pipe tip it in at least 40 pound strength
whenever you fish for muskie after spending the bulk of the day
casting a deep structure with only limited success
Andi recommended it was time for Plan C we are going to search for muskie that
were around suspended bait fish so we’re seemingly fishing in the middle of
nowhere right now what we’ve actually got here is a giant sand flat the size
of several football fields that has schools of perch that are each several
thousand perch and any place you’ve got this much food you’re going to have
predators including Muskies and it looks as though we’re just fishing in the
middle of nowhere and most people wouldn’t think to fish here but we’re
gonna drift this we’re gonna cast and we’re gonna be casting over all this the
Serengeti of the French River area here so hopefully we’ll tie into some of
those predators muskie follow us keep right here right here
I can see it he’s going
that wasn’t 40 40 over 40 in sure real wide at the eyes he’s here
I saw a muskie I saw the backup I couldn’t make out the size my hands are
shaking and he’s getting us on the fish we finally got the right conditions and
I love this I love this if you haven’t tried muskie fishing you’ve got to do
this that look at the size of this one so they’re right here this is cool searching open waters for most anglers
is a daunting challenge especially for a fly fisherman however if you use the
right tools such as full sinking fly lines and sonar you can quickly
eliminate unproductive waters and locate schools of forage such as perch that is
where the muskie will probably be hunting but Sonor is not the only tool
Andy was using he was also watching the seagulls to see if they were diving to
eat injured perch which would indicate something was happening below the
surface often you’ll see explosive takes or splashes near the surface that
indicate a muskie has come up to eat stunned or injured fish all these visual
clues combined with the use of sonar can really help you narrow down where the
Predators are this is where having a top guide like Andy is so key and he knew
how to deal with the problems related to the weather and took a logical approach
to finding the fish through an ABC plan fish oh wow big one – nice one okay big
fish big fish I’ve got a mine tight – that’s a beautiful jump and he hit that
fly on the pause just like a lot of big fish – are you real
you tell me which side you’re coming on there he is there oh okay it’s not the
big monster that just followed you though unfortunately but it’s a nice
fish beautiful specimen yes very nice and I got a pretty good purchase on him
like I said yeah alright and a fly just popped out oh my goodness how sweet is
that a fly rod that was very nice and some beautiful jumps it gave you a great
sport excellent and I had a much bigger one yesterday yes oh my goodness okay
let’s get him ready to revive him go all right
off to do some more hunting once Andy locate muskie then it was
virtually non-stop I know the problem was I kept losing the fish we were at
fish 16:16 and a muskie took on top but I lost it – OH finally my luck was about to change that’s the big one too it’s a big one
rod down rod down that’s a bigger fish folks this is a big fish big fish by
land this fish is the biggest I think it’s gonna be the biggest muskie I’ve
ever caught okay you gonna come back here yep okay can it gets ready to go
okay it’s got it nice sweet and I’ve weighs
in his mouth try and keep it there Wow hey don’t want any more of that no sorry
let’s keep her hooked up don’t move don’t move don’t move go got it yes yes
flies oh and the fly just came out oh my goodness yes look at this nice nice fish
Wow Wow okay yeah we’re just gonna go ready to go my trigger off she swoons
thank you girl hi I’m mark Melnick if you enjoyed this
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17 thoughts on “French River Musky

  1. WOW! This really changes the perspective on flys for me, I'm so used to only hearing about trout and salmon on the fly.

  2. Andy Pappas is one of the best guides on the French River..and a super nice guy too..

  3. You need to set the hook a minimum of 3 times to make sure the hook is in.I have learned that over 60 years of experience.

  4. Amazing fishing especially on the fly. However casting technique needs some work.

  5. Laughed hard when you had to duck from the fly coming at you out of the water. We've all been there!

  6. I was always told that the Musky was a fish of a thousand casts and a master of throwing a lure or fly, how true. Andy is obviously a top notch guide! To find those fish after bad weather really shows his knowledge! Great show and glad you were able to boat a nice one!

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