October 2022 – If you’re interested in chasing muskellunge with a fly rod, the idea of floating the Mississippi river in Minnesota is likely to come up. Muskellunge or muskie, sometimes shortened to musky, is the largest member of the pike family. Musky, often referred to as apex predators, continually patrol habitat in search of food. Most often targeted on the bottom of river channels and in weed beds, musky can appear anywhere in native rivers and lakes patrolling for unsuspecting prey.
The mighty Mississippi river in Minnesota might be the biggest span of native water where they can be found. I’ve fished with Kip Vieth from Wildwood Float Trips previously, targeting trout (watch our episode on fly fishing The Driftless Area, Wisconsin) and finally booked a day to float with him in his Clackacraft drift boat searching for Musky on the Mississippi out of his home base, Monticello, Minnesota about 2 hours from the twin cities.
This adventure was my third day of musky fishing on a fall 2022 tour, following 2 days in Wisconsin with my traveling partner Larry Carlson who’d been dropped off at the airport in Minneapolis after 8 days on the road. The second leg of the trip was in full gear when Jeff Wilder (out of Los Angeles) joined as Larry departed.
We arrived in Monticello early enough in the day to find a public golf course and play 9 holes. Then made it in time for dinner at a local sports bar that featured a betting pool that drew serious attention from the regulars. Monticello is a thriving town with about 15,000 residents. It didn’t have much to offer on a Monday night, but we found a place called Foul Line, ordered a couple of burgers and a local IPA and all was well.