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Placing a big muskie in its place: Fox River gives up Fish of the Week

Brandyn Shepherd catches a big muskie on the Fox River and places it in its place.

Resized/Sun-Times
Brandyn Shepherd caught a big muskie from the Fox River and put it in its place.
Provided

Brandyn Shepherd appreciated this river muskie, caught Aug. 19 from the Fox River while fishing with Daniel Nilges. Shepherd noted it was a Leech Lake strain, likely an escapee from the Chain O’Lakes.

``Classic, skinny, big headed, summer, river fish . . . after days of drastic weather following the full moon,’’ he emailed. ``She most likely did not eat leading up to it . . . and the weather kept her quiet until - this morning. Skinny... but, still wide - across the back.’’

He caught her on a flat loaded with suckers adjacent to a deeper pool. He was slow rolling a 6-inch swimbait, casting downstream and swimming the lure upstream. She was cleanly released after photographs.

FOTW, the celebration of big fish and their stories (the stories matter) around Chicago fishing, runs Wednesdays in the Sun-Times. Submit nominations by message on Facebook (Dale Bowman), on Twitter and Instagram (@BowmanOutside) or email (BowmanOutside@gmail.com).

Shepherd sent a constructed story that I enjoyed, so in the online FOTW, I decided to run it in its entirety.

Here is his complete tale:

What is cool about this Muskie is that it was the first Daniel Nilges and I caught while fishing together... and it swam all the way downstream - from the Fox Chain of Lakes. Something else is pretty cool. She was a Leech Lake Strain fish.

Classic, skinny, big headed, summer, river fish... after days of drastic weather following the full moon. She most likely did not eat leading up to it... and the weather kept her quiet until - this morning. Skinny... but, still wide - across the back.

She was located within’ the main river... on a flat adjacent to a deeper pool. The flat was loaded with suckers... and the current was rolling fairly quick. Solid rock bottom with areas of muck not far upstream. Checked the deeper pools first... with no action.

Slow rolling a swimbait... casting downstream... swimming the lure - upstream.

First cast to the flat... I called out and said I am about to hook one. Sometimes calling it works and sometimes, it doesn’t. A few turns of the handle... and she was there. No hit, no pull, no tick. A little pressure... which led to a solid hookset. Hooked on the lower lip.

Clean release after some photography.

They are all... different :)

I LOVE this river.

Angler: Brandyn Shepherd
Fish Species: Muskie
Location: Lower Fox River
Date: 8/19/19
Sunrise: 6:06 am
Major: 2:10 am - 5:10 am
Minor: 8:50 am - 10:50 am
Catch: 6:20 am
Lure: 6” Swimbait
Water Clarity: 4-5 inches