Tracking muskies in southern Lake Michigan: Latest caught at Michigan City, IN

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Muskie caught and released by Ryan Henry at Michigan City, Ind.
Provided by David Martin Repya

We near the point where muskies being caught in southern Lake Michigan are more than an oddities.

Ryan Henry added the latest Sunday evening off the pier at Michigan City, Ind.

“I was using a Mag Wart, casting for cohos and kings,” he emailed. “I had caught a nice coho the day before on the same lure. I was ripping and pausing it and the muskie smacked it not long after I started the retrieve. It jumped pretty much immediately and cleared the water.

“I thought it was a pike at first but the next time it surfaced it was apparent that it was a muskie. It jumped three times total and it was a great fight. There was a small crowd that gathered as it was netted, cheering us on.”

David Martin Repya netted the fish. Henry wanted to release it quickly, so he didn’t get any measurements.

Ben Dickinson, Indiana’s assistant Lake Michigan fisheries biologist, estimated it at 36-38 inches and 15-18 pounds.

“Most likely it is a Great Lakes musky that ventured down here from Green Bay, or even more likely is a fish from Michigan’s recent Great Lakes strain stocking in several Lake Michigan tribs,” Dickinson opined. “They started in 2012/2013 in Macatawa (Holland), Muskegon, and Grand Rivers I believe.

“So the several recent muskies caught in Indiana waters of Lake Michigan are about the right size class to have come from those stockings. There’s also a slim possibility that one of the handful of muskies in the Elkhart/St. Joseph River system swam down here.”

For several years, there’s been spotty reports of muskies in southern Lake Michigan.

On April 8, 2017, Greg Remec caught and released a muskie about 34-36 inches near Adler Planetarium in Chicago while fishing for steelhead and coho. Click here for that story.

In early September, 2016, Dan Chick, a customer on Tim Morris’ “Just 4 Fun Charters,” caught and released a 34-inch muskie while trolling near the “Hole-in-the-Wall” outside of East Chicago Marina in Indiana. Click here for that story.

In the last few years, the Indiana DNR knows of a couple caught out of East Chicago and a couple inside the Port of Indiana. One was electroshocked during a survey in the Michigan City harbor in the early 2000s.

Another change grows in our ever-changing great lake.

Ryan Henry caught and released a muskie at Michigan City, Ind.<br>Provided by David Martin Repya

Ryan Henry caught and released a muskie at Michigan City, Ind.
Provided by David Martin Repya

SNAGGING: Snagging season on the Illinois lakefront begins Oct. 1. As usual, some crooks can’t wait. At Jackson Park on Monday, BoRabb Williams and friends were on the kings with at least six caught.

But Williams also messaged, “But them snaggers are pissing us OFF Man . . . They come in the weee hours of the morning . . . Some are BOLD . . . day time.”

If you see illegal snagging, contact the Illinois DNR at (877) 2DNRLAW, which is (877) 236-7529.

APPRECIATE: Part Bait’s Customer Appreciation Day is 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday at Montrose Harbor.

KIDS FISHING: The second “Get Kids Hooked on Fishing”– 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday at Turtlehead Lake in Orland Park–could become the biggest of its kind. Find on Facebook at “2nd Annual Get Kids Hooked on Fishing Event.”

WILD THINGS: Ron Wozny and others send notes on fall mushroom hunting. Time for Mushroom of the Week.

STRAY CAST: Sunday night was like a beautiful evening on Lake Michigan ending with a storm roaring down the lakefront from Milwaukee.

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