I’d have to say, one of the most overlooked fisheries in Washington State is fishing for Tiger Muskies. A Tiger Muskie is a sterile hybrid cross between a Northern Pike and a Muskellunge. Washington State Fisheries has planted a few select lakes around the state (usually ones overpopulated with pike minnow, sucker, and pan fish) for sport fishing. There are a few lakes in Washington State that stock Tiger Muskies. These lakes include Lake Tapps, Mayfield Lake, Lake Merwin, Curlew Lake, Evergreen Lake, Silver Lake and Newman Lake. In fact, even Green Lake once held a small population of Tiger Muskies. What’s to know about Tiger Muskies? First and foremost, they are a game fish and should be treated with respect. NO fish can be retained under 50 inch length. Tiger Muskies are predatory fish that will seek out other fish that often take cover in thick weed beds. Targeting Tiger Muskies can be quite challenging. Lakes like Mayfield Lake have several visible sunken trees, weed beds and drop offs where Tigers like to shelter themselves. Top water and diving stick baits and even bucktail spinners are often used to trigger a Tiger Muskie bite. Some bass fishermen have hooked into Tiger Muskies while trying to target bass in these lakes. I’ve put in many hours sight casting to fish 4 to 5 feet long that often pay no attention to my lures. Like steelhead fishing, the key is patience.
My first time fish for Tiger Muskies, I was fortunate to hook into three fish – landing only one. My second trip out resulted in no hook-ups! If it’s a calm day, you may be fortunate to see a few fish on the surface or be frustrated by the monsters that follow your lure to the side of the boat.
Tips for fishing Tiger Muskies; Fish move into shallower waters as the lake warms. In our state that can be June through September. Some muskie fishermen say it’s best to fish three days before or after a full moon. These fish are not leader shy, so plan on using wire leaders or 80 pound mono in order to get around their sharp teeth. A large net for landing and a pair of long nosed needle nose pliers is essential for landing and safely releasing these fish. Some other great information can be found online through the NW Tiger Muskie’s Chapter .