The Hub August 2017 - Page 11

W hether you decide to pack a picnic and fish from the over 400 km of fishable shorelines in Windsor-Essex or hit the lakes on a boat to enjoy this relaxing and exhilarating sport, it is definitely a great way to spend the day. Ken Moynahan knows this excitement all too well. A Red Seal Welder, licensed trapper, muskie angler for many years and a longtime member of the Belle River chapter of Muskies Canada, Moynahan keeps himself very busy but that doesn't stop him from catching many a muskie from Lake St. Clair and the Thames River, some even record-breaking. "I fished for muskie with my pépé when I was a kid and then when he passed on I started doing it by myself," says Moynahan. "I like the fight. It's totally unique compared to other fish...when you conquer one it's exciting. And just being out on the water is great." According to Moynahan, muskie are considered the 'fish of ten thousand casts,' meaning it could take you that many times casting your rod before you actually catch one - and catching one is quite an accomplishment as they definitely put up a fight. There are different techniques to catching one, from trolling (which is basically cruising in a boat at 4km/hr with your line in the water) to casting and waiting patiently. Many people have different tricks and techniques to catch a giant muskie but it's important to try different things. "I can say that whatever works one day might not work the next. Generally, you have to change your presentation and variety of lures," says Moynahan. Muskie fishing has grown into a popular sport. "When I started muskie fishing by myself no one was really into it. Everyone was criticizing me for catching them because you can't eat them. Now it's taken off to the point where when you do catch one everyone is measuring right down to the ounce," says Moynahan. "It's gotten so packed with boats in the fall when the muskie come in the river that it's hard to fish the river these days because the sport has taken off so much." Muskie have not always been a fan favourite but these giant, slimy creatures are one of the most prehistoric fish swimming in the freshwater lakes surrounding Windsor-Essex County and are vital to the health and wellness of our waters. They are the freshwater wolves of the Great Lakes, keeping the lakes healthy. Muskie will take out diseased fish before healthy fish and a higher percentage of their diet is coarse fish like catfish and carp. "With all these non-native fish coming into our Great Lakes they are more important now than they ever have been," says Moynahan. "Muskie is a whole different species in itself." He says that is why it is imperative to make sure they are revived properly before releasing them back into the water. Imagine how much work it takes you to reel in a fish that’s fighting for its life - now imagine how tired that fish is. It is important to