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LSC - Muskie season off to a good start

The opening days of the muskellunge season on Lake St. Clair and the Detroit River have seen anglers catching more fish than at the same time last year, and some big fish for this early in the season.

Among the giants reported so far was a 58 1/2 -inch monster with a 23-inch girth that weighed in at 38 pounds on a digital scale for angler Brad Nowak, manager of the Gander Mountain store in Grand Rapids.

Steve Jones, perhaps the most experienced muskie guide on St. Clair, was pleased both by the increased numbers of fish this spring, their size and the fact that "we aren't seeing any dead muskies floating."

http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070614/SPORTS10/706140411/1058
 

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Local man hooks record musky

http://www.mlive.com/outdoors/grpress/index.ssf?/base/sports-0/118433257779290.xml&coll=6

07/13/07 By Howard Meyerson Press Outdoors Editor [email protected]

Brad Nowak has fished a lot over the years, but the

32-year-old angler had no idea what was ahead when he hooked a 38-pound, 58 1/2-inch Great Lakes musky while fishing on Lake St. Clair.

"It was just me and him for 20 minutes," said Nowak, the store manager for Gander Mountain store in Kentwood. "It was like pulling in a big log. Then he'd go out."

Nowak was fishing on a

31-foot Sea Ray captained by Harvey Van Hoey, owner of Harvo Musky Lures. The trip was a demonstration run to show what the Michigan-made lures could do.

It was noon when the captain yelled "fish-on" and not much later when big fish started heading for shore. It wasn't about to be landed.

Nowak played the big, toothy predator, but it kept steadily cutting inland. So, after a while, Van Hoey turned the boat around and began running after the giant.

"We started gaining on him," Nowak said. "But it was getting shallow. So we started bringing in the other lures and finally netted him in eight to nine feet of water."

Rather than take the fish home for a wall mount, Nowak decided to let it go. He opted to enter it in the state's master angler program, catch-and-release category. Anglers can enter either enter that or the catch-and-keep category. The former requires a photograph of the fish and an accurate length measurement. The latter requires a certified weight and length.

"That's a good-size fish," said DNR master angler staffer Barb Dilts. "We haven't gotten the form in yet, but it's the largest musky we know of so far this year."

Fifty anglers entered their muskys in the 2006 catch-and-release listing. The largest was 52 inches. Several were more than 50 inches. The minimum size to qualify is 42 inches. All came out of Lake St. Clair.

The state record for Great Lakes muskellunge is 48 pounds. The fish was caught on Skegamog Lake in Kalkaska County in 1984. State records are established based on weight rather than length, Dilts said. Previous media reports of Nowak's fish being a state record are incorrect.

Nowak said releasing the fish involved a revival process that lasted nearly 20 minutes because it was exhausted from the fight. The fish was held in the water from the aft swim-platform on the boat and moved back and forth to push water through gills.

"I've never seen that long a revival process. It surprised me," said Nowak, who has experience landing a 48-inch northern pike. "But I decided to put him back because there are a lot of fishing clubs that are working to get that fish as big as he is. I can have an excellent mount done without having to take and kill the fish.

"It was a real thrill being able to catch a freshwater species that big."
 

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its a thrill to see releseing fish. kudos to all. st clair is a world class fishery for all. after the vhs die-off,it seems the muskies are fatter. i think the stronger and more abundant forage base with fewer fish will soon give state record status.
 
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