Casting For Muskies On Chautauqua Lake


Chautauqua Lake is the finest Muskie Lake in the Eastern United States.

That’s quite a bold statement; however, I have proven it to myself, my family and close friends. I typically catch about a total of ten to twenty muskies each season, even though I only get to fish this pristine body of water a handful of times each season.

As a matter of fact, this is where my Wife and I chose to get married. We got married on the deck of Cottage # 16 and Peter was my Best Man. It was Great. We've moved around trying different Cottages within the resort area and this year we will have come full circle arriving back to Cottage # 16. They are All Great...

For the past several years we have rented a cottage at We Wan Chu Cottages. I have had the opportunity to rent accommodations at other Chautauqua resorts, but have found that We Wan Chu offers the best accommodations for the entire family. Peter’s docking facilities offer power outlets for those who wish to charge your boat battery. The lighted docks provide the nighttime fisherman a wonderful place to fish without fumbling for your tackle in the dark. Many a fish has been caught right at the docks!! This is where the kids LOVE to fish; in fact, I can’t get them away from the docks (and their new-found friends) long enough to get them in the boat to water-ski!! We Wan Chu also has a lovely, Children's Sandbox / Beach and if you like to roast marshmallows and wienies….the nightly bonfires will be a hit! Each year we return to We Wan Chu, Peter has added something new….he is always looking for ways to improve an already great place to stay. My children never have a dull moment. If they are not skiing or swimming they are hanging out at the Newly Re-modeled Recreation Room. Its quite the meeting place for the younger folk. I have a little secret... I also enjoy the game room as well. Its one of those few places I've found that still has "Space Invaders" and "Asteroids". That is why my family and I have made the trip to Chautauqua and We Wan Chu an annual event. It’s a wonderful way to make great family memories.

Now, as I mentioned before, my usual catch of the season is around ten to twenty muskies; but, not all of the muskies are legal (40 inches), but they are muskies none the less. You should know, it does actually take up to 100 hours or even 1,000 casts to catch a single Muskie on most other lakes. But not on Chautauqua!! Why???? There are just a lot of muskies! If someone has given you a map of Lake Chautauqua, don’t be fooled by the markings of "Where the muskies are", because they are everywhere. If you cast along a weed line long enough, you will catch a Muskie.

Now, let’s talk about tackle. We use top of the line equipment: St. Croix rods, heavy 6’ 6"and 6’ 9" "pool cue" type casting rods with Abu Garcia 6500 c3 bait casting reels equipped with a 50 lb. Spectron line. Any of the new super lines will do. They have the diameter of 12-14 lb. mono line. We cast everything from bucktails to 10/12" stick baits. Believe it or not, of all the wild colored lures there are, I have had the most success with black colored lures. The black 9-10" Suick is a good choice. Whatever lure you end up using, throw it out, crank it in pretty fast and hang on!!!

You may have heard muskies are notorious for following lures in to the boat. It’s referred to as a "follow" or "raising a Muskie". It’s true. Once you have reeled your lure up to the boat, don’t lift it out of the water immediately. Instead, move it around in a circle or a figure eight and look out!! (I must caution you at this point…once you catch one of these ferocious "water wolves" at the side of your boat, fishing for any other type of fish will never be the same. You may also want to have someone in the boat who knows CPR….for you, not the fish!)

A lot of folks ask me how long it takes to get one of these monsters in the boat. My answer….not nearly as long as it takes to get them back out, and we do release all of the muskies we catch. After a catch, we measure the fish, take a picture and release them back into the lake as soon as possible. I suggest thinking about what you would like to keep before heading out, because the chances are pretty good you will have the opportunity of handling a 30 – 40" fish relatively easily. Don’t forget the option of having a fiberglass replica made which is approximately the same price (around $300-$400). The only way you will ever catch a 50 inch plus muskies is to release that 40 inch Muskie back into the lake to be caught another day.

 Good luck Muskie fishing!!!

 Dave Alfreno