A muskie caught and released: Southern Lake Michigan

SHARE A muskie caught and released: Southern Lake Michigan

Add an Indiana muskie to the 2016 tales of muskie and northern pike on southern Lake Michigan.

This one comes courtesy of Tim Morris and his Just 4 Fun Charters out of East Chicago, Ind.

Earlier this month, a customer, Dan Chick, landed a 34-inch muskie, two inches short of the minimum to be kept, and it was released to swim again.

They were trolling near the “Hole-in-the-Wall’’ just outside of the East Chicago Marina for fall Chinook. It was caught on a J13 Rapala, a classic bait for fall kings.

“Dude, I caught a [channel] catfish, a smallmouth [bass] and a muskie, all on the same J13 Rapala, lime-green,’’ Morris said.

He had been doing better on other fish than kings this fall with the J13.

“This doesn’t happen very often,’’ said Morris, who has been fishing Lake Michigan for half a century and chartering since the 1990s.

“Muskies are pretty rare on this end of the lake, but not unheard of,’’ emailed Ben Dickinson, assistant Lake Michigan fisheries biologist for Indiana. “We sampled one in the Michigan City harbor about 10 or 15 years ago, there have been one or two caught in the Port. Occasionally people catch them trolling the open lake as well.’’

There have been numerous reports, rumors or sightings of muskie and big pike around southern Lake Michigan this year. Why or from where are the real questions.

“The ones down here could have come from Wisconsin stockings, could be natural fish, or they could have come from the [St. Joseph River],’’ Dickinson emailed. “There are a few muskies in there, and it is probably the closest population of known muskies to Indiana waters.’’

When I first heard murmurs of muskie on our end of Lake Michigan, I didn’t put much stock in those reports other than as incidental. Maybe, there is a bit more than incidental to it.

Time will tell.

Until, Morris summed it up well. “How bizarre is that? I am glad I am involved in the bizarreness.’’

Credit: Illinois Department of Natural Resources

Credit: Illinois Department of Natural Resources

SEEN TO BE BELIEVED: The Illinois Department of Nature Resources is already offering camping reservations for the days around the solar eclipse on Aug. 21, 2017, which will be full view in southern Illinois.

Normally, the IDNR only offers reservations six months in advance.

Check dnr.illinois.gov/recreation/Pages/TotalSolarEclipse.aspx.

STRAY CAST: Mike Ditka opining is to 21st Century thought what Grosse Point navigation was to 19th Century Lake Michigan.

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