Muskies in southern Lake Michigan: Perspectives and earlier catches of apex predator; plus Stray Cast

Another muskie caught in southern Lake Michigan deserves some perspectives and notes on earlier catches; plus the Stray Cast.

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A muskie caught on Capt. Jerry Costabile’s Resolute Charters out of Kenosha, Wisconsin, the latest muskie from southern Lake Michigan. Provided

A muskie caught on Capt. Jerry Costabile’s Resolute Charters out of Kenosha, Wisconsin, the latest muskie from southern Lake Michigan.

Provided

Another rare muskie in southern Lake Michigan was caught July 6.

The 36-inch muskie was caught on Capt. Jerry Costabile’s Resolute Charters out of Kenosha, Wisconsin, after ‘‘an incredible morning of fishing’’ with limits of lake trout and some steelhead and coho.

‘‘It was caught in 188 feet of water on a 250-foot copper line with a Pro King spoon,’’ Costabile posted on Facebook. ‘‘I would love to know her history!!’’

I love tracking down and documenting sporadic muskie reports from southern Lake Michigan.

In the fall of 2016, Dan Chick — fishing on Tim Morris’ Just 4 Fun Charters out of East Chicago, Indiana — caught and released a muskie of 34 inches while trolling for fall Chinook outside the ‘‘Hole-in-the-Wall.’’ It came on a J13 Rapala, a classic bait for fall kings.

My favorite so far came in the spring of 2017. Greg Remec was fishing for steelhead and coho by the Adler Planetarium when he caught and released a 34- to 36-inch muskie, which was netted by fishing buddy Joe Hansen. Remec had just switched to a Storm WildEye Swim Shad to try for smallmouth bass.

The unusual catch led to surprised witnesses.

‘‘I had some woman come up to me with a baby to take a selfie,’’ Remec said.

My favorite southern Lake Michigan muskie, so far, was one of 34-36 inches, caught and released by Greg Remec in the spring of 2017 near Adler Planetarium in Chicago. Provided

My favorite southern Lake Michigan muskie, so far, was one of 34-36 inches, caught and released by Greg Remec in the spring of 2017 near Adler Planetarium in Chicago.

Provided

In the fall of 2018, Ryan Henry was using a Mag Wart while casting for fall coho and kings off the pier in Michigan City, Indiana, when he caught a muskie. David Martin Repya netted the fish. Henry wanted a quick release, so no measurements were taken.

Ben Dickinson, now Indiana’s Lake Michigan fisheries biologist, estimated it at 36 to 38 inches and 15 to 18 pounds. He guessed it was a Great Lakes muskie that came down from Green Bay or was from recent Michigan stockings.

As for where the latest muskie originated, Vic Santucci, Illinois’ Lake Michigan program manager, emailed: ‘‘Most likely Green Bay, but can’t say for sure without report of fin clips or tags. . . . My guess is that they will remain sporadic, as the main basin of Lake Michigan is not ideal habitat for muskie.’’

That led to a question I’ve long wondered: Why would muskie go out into Lake Michigan’s relatively sterile main basin rather than sticking to the fertile harbors and rivers?

‘‘ ‘Fish move because they can,’ as [biologist] Frank Jakubicek likes to say,’’ Santucci theorized. ‘‘A good example of this is the prevalence of muskie fisheries below reservoir spillways. Typically, I would guess there are greater densities of shad in the reservoir, but muskie still tend to move over spillways when conditions are right.’’

Muskie mysteries keep coming.

Wild things

Multiple readers, including my wife, Roy Wick, Patty Houlihan and Rick Telander (yes, that one), had first sightings of monarchs last week. . . . Annual (dog-day) cicadas have begun their chorus (ruckus) in some areas. I noticed our first last week.

Stray cast

When I hear, ‘‘Going to switch gears and talk the Olympics,’’ I switch stations.

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