Muskie Fishing

Updated: 08/21/2013 10:52 PM
Created: 08/20/2013 11:30 PM
By: Laura Kennedy

If you're looking to land a tasty fish dinner...muskies aren't the way to go. Not only is it one of the most challenging fish to catch, but on the St. Louis River, it's strictly catch and release.

For Dustin Carlson and Pete Brzezinski of Northland Muskie Adventures Guide Service, it's all about the thrill of the chase.

"You fish all day and right when you least expect it sometimes, all of sudden you feel a huge tug on the line and it darn near rips the rod right out of your hands," Carlson said. "It's exciting and then the fight is on."

"As a muskie angler and guide you have to take all the factors into effect that you are fishing in and try to create a perfect storm for the situation that you're in," Brzezinski said.

Lately, muskies have been harder to find on the river. The DNR stopped stocking it nine years ago, hoping the fish would repopulate on their own.

"It's been pretty challenging the last three years," Carlson said. "We've seen the population start to go down and our catch rates have gone down significantly."

And last year's flood wreaked havoc on the river's structure and muskie habitats.

"What happened during the flood last year is it ripped up a lot of the weed bed, which did not come back for the most part," Carlson said. "So that can make it challenging to try to target fish."

Not only that, but navigating the waterway now brings its own challenges.

"Some of the stumps and some new sand bars that came out, it can make it a little bit difficult to get around up here, let alone the full sized trees floating around," Brzezinski said.

But these guides know the river like the back of their hand, and after what seemed like hundreds of casts, Carlson hooked a big one.

"I threw it tight up to shore and may have actually bonked her on the head with it because it no more hit the water and made one pull and she ate it," Carlson said. "It was exciting. A nice fight all the way to the boat. "

Reeling in a muskie is never easy, but Carlson says there's still a good population of them here, and persistent pays off when you finally land one of these elusive fish.

"You just keep casting and at some point good things will happen," Brzezinski said. "The only thing you have that'll put big fish in the boat is time. If you've got lots of time, you'll eventually figure it out and catch them."


If you're interested in muskie fishing on the St. Louis River or Lake Vermilion, you can get in touch with Northland Muskie Adventures Guide Service here:

Front Page

  • Grass vs. Snowpile in Duluth, April 16 11:15 AM Should Duluth Break the Snowfall Record?

    For many, waking up and not seeing any new snow on the ground was a welcome sight, although snow will pick up in intensity this afternoon and become heavy by evening. We have to ask the question... Do we want to go for the record?

  • Victor Narnard Former Religious Leader Sought in Sexual Conduct Case

    A man has been charged with 59 counts of criminal sexual conduct involving two members of a "Maidens Group" within a Pine County-based church he led called the River Road Fellowship.

  • Cancellations & Closures

    We've received a few event cancellations due to the snow.  To have your event added to the list, email

  • Duluth Police Investigate Decomposing Body Found in Lincoln Park Neighborhood

    Duluth police are investigating after finding a decomposing body in the Lincoln Park neighborhood Tuesday. Just after 2:00 p.m., a passerby spotted the body about 100 yards north of the intersection of 19th Avenue West and 2nd Street along a fence and brush line, according to police. 

  • UPDATE: Man Killed in Midway Road Crash Identified

    One man was killed when a pickup truck collided with a semi-tractor trailer carrying a crane Tuesday morning on Midway Road, west of Proctor. Authorities have since released the names of the men involved.


Winter Storm Warning

MN AREAS AFFECTED: Crow Wing; Northern Aitkin; Pine; South Aitkin; South Cass
Expires: 4/17/2014 4:00 AM

Winter Weather Advisory

MN AREAS AFFECTED: North Cass; South Itasca
Expires: 4/17/2014 4:00 AM

Winter Storm Warning

MN AREAS AFFECTED: Carlton, South St. Louis; Southern Lake, North Shore
Expires: 4/17/2014 10:00 AM

Winter Weather Advisory

MN AREAS AFFECTED: Central St. Louis
Expires: 4/17/2014 10:00 AM

Winter Storm Warning

MN AREAS AFFECTED: Northern Cook, Northern Lake; Southern Cook, North Shore
Expires: 4/17/2014 12:00 PM

Flood Warning

MN AREAS AFFECTED: Aitkin; Crow Wing
Expires: 4/19/2014 1:00 PM

Winter Storm Warning

Expires: 4/17/2014 4:00 AM

Winter Storm Warning

WI AREAS AFFECTED: Ashland; Bayfield; Douglas; Iron; Price; Sawyer; Washburn
Expires: 4/17/2014 10:00 AM

Winter Storm Warning

MI AREAS AFFECTED: Gogebic; Ontonagon
Expires: 4/17/2014 2:00 PM