Muskie Angler Battles Cottager
With the first day of muskie season just around the corner, muskie hunters are sharpening their hooks, adding gear oil to their reels, replacing last season’s line, and tuning up the boat motors in anticipation of locking horns with the king of all fresh water fish. Cottagers on muskie lakes are also preparing for a battle.
Preparing For Muskie Season
From all areas of Canada and the U.S., die-hard muskie fishermen are getting set to converge on their favourite lakes and rivers in the hope of landing a monster lunge. They are going over their maps, planning their strategies, and revising contingency plans to account for any unexpected events. There are few people more passionate about their sport than muskie anglers. Catching a trophy musky is their first priority every season.
At the same time, cabin owners on famous muskie lakes and rivers are getting anxious. Every year, as the muskie hunters arrive, the cottagers also prepare for a fight. Concerned about the impending damage to their water lines, docks, and privacy, they too are waiting for muskie season opening day.
Some cabin owners take the confrontation a bit too seriously by submerging temporary lure traps or even removing reef markers. Others only react when the hunters arrive, threatening by voice or by casting two-ounce pyramid sinkers at the encroaching intruders. A few try to take a more diplomatic approach, by making small talk and then gently suggesting that the anglers move away from the water line, or by giving a tip on the best place to find a trophy in another part of the lake.
Can’t we all just get along?
The lodges, bait and tackle stores, restaurants, hotels, and gas bars all rely heavily on the vacationing muskie anglers’ business. Without them, some family-owned operations in areas with trophy muskies would close. In many of these communities tourism is now the only reliable source of income. Ironically, without these local shops the cottagers themselves would be forced to travel further to dock their boats, buy supplies, or refill their gas tanks.
From the other side of the trenches, the lakes and rivers are for everyone to enjoy, and cottage owners can make a fair case for their right to privacy and protection of property. While the odd muskie may be found lurking under a dock or over a submerged water line, these fish are rarely caught by visiting anglers.
Many cottage owners in these lakes and rivers are muskie hunters themselves. If a monster lunge lives within casting distance of a dock, the odds are pretty good it has been passionately pursued and is unlikely to take the bait.
So where do muskie fanatics and cottage owners go from here?
Owners have to accept the fact they don’t own the lake, and a belligerent attitude towards the visiting anglers only results in a spoiled day for everyone. For many of the muskie hunters, this is their big holiday for the year. They spend a lot of money to visit the lake and contribute significantly to the local economy.
Visiting muskie anglers, on the other hand, should respect the fact that cottagers also have a right to privacy and protection of their property. Is it really worth the risk of losing a $25 fishing lure on someone’s dock, water line, or other sunken obstacles? At the very least, the muskie hunters should avoid the docks and shoreline areas of properties when it is obvious the cottage owners are around. Most of the time, the fish aren’t there anyway.
With a bit of common courtesy, everyone can enjoy muskie season at the lake.
Go to the Muskie Fishing Tips page.
written by: Andrew Walker