See the following DWR links:
Here are some of my additional recommendations
As was indicated in the link release tools are very, very, very important.
Recommend a good quality knotless deep basket net or cradle to prevent injuring the fish eyes, fins, and protective coating. 10-12” jaw spreaders, hook cutters recommend Knipex especially for large treble hooks 3/0, 4/0, 5/0 sizes. Can’t go wrong cutting hooks. Hooks are cheap so cut them. Use needle nose pliers to remove any shanks of cut hooks still in fish.
EMPHASIS light tackle/equipment is not recommended when chasing TMs. I know some will post well I caught a TM on 6, 8, 10# test mono. Great but they don’t bother to tell you how long it took to get the fish in. So trust me when I say in WARM WATER conditions use the proper equipment/tackle. Medium heavy, heavy, extra heavy rated rod, quality reel, spooled with at least 50# plus test braid, steel leader if you desire. We make our own 80# fluorocarbon leaders. 18-20” casting and 32-36” trolling.
EMPHASIS be prepared when you fish waters stocked with these fish. Fighting a Tiger Muskie for an extended amount of time to keep the fish from breaking off is strongly discouraged especially in WARM WATER TEMPS. The largest fish we’ve boated last year pushing 50” took us approximately 3-5 minutes to get the fish into the net. Again having the proper rod/reel and most importantly line allows for this.
Get the fish to the boat quickly is a must to enhance the fish’s chances of survival upon release especially in warm water temps. Don't fight the fish to exhaustion.
Warm Water temps is anything 65* up. Taking 10-20 plus minutes to bring a fish in at 70* plus water temp pushing 80* will not be good odds for the fishes survival upon release. Oh how we’ve learned from way back in the day starting out. Get the fish to the boat/shore as quickly as possible can’t be stressed enough in warm water conditions
You hook into a Tiger Muskie
Keep rod tip down and/or shoved into the water this will reduce the fish coming out of the water and tossing the lure right back at you. With any fishing when the rod tip is up…well fish that go tail walking will tail walk and potentially toss the offerings right back in your face Been there done that.
EMPHASIS YET AGAIN: in warmer water don’t fight the fish to exhaustion. Get the fish to the boat/shore as quickly as possible especially in the summer. Fighting the fish builds up lactic acid depleting oxygen and causes more of them to die when released in warm water conditions. So again having the right tackle if you’re going to specifically target these fish is a must. Yes there are those accidental hook-ups when fishing for other fish…it happens just be prepared and know what to do and again in warm water it can’t be stressed enough don’t fight the fish to exhaustion. If it breaks the line so be it. Again we have not break offs as we use the proper equipment.
Once the fish is netted keep the fish in the net in the water while removing the hook(s). USE EXTREME CAUTION removing the hooks as these fish will thrash around and any treble hook exposed will have the potential to find your hand, finger, forearm etc (yet another been there done that). Don’t grab the lure unless absolutely necessary. Use long needle nose pliers to remove hooks or Knipex hook cutters and cut the hooks. If you don’t have a net and fishing from shore leave the fish in the water while you remove the hooks exercising extreme caution. Don’t bring the fish into the boat or up on shore to remove the hooks as you’ll damage its protective coating and skin. Including the fish will be flopping around in the bottom of the boat and/or shore and will cause more injury to itself.
Never place the fish on the bottom of a hot metal boat in the summer. Another death sentence to the fish. We know what hot bottom metal boats feel like I hope. So need I say more.
Once the hooks are removed stow the pole and get all rods/gear out of the way.
Leave the fish in the net or in the water while prepping the boat meaning getting the camera out and turned on. Get your measuring device out and have it ready. Don’t take the fish out of the water or leave it on shore then fiddle getting the camera and then turning it on. Have the camera on and ready. I know kinda hard if by yourself but again leave the fish in the water as long as you can.
Keep the fish in the water (I’ve said that how many times now). So you have everything ready camera on, rods stowed, measuring device ready. Turn the fish on it's side in the water holding the tail then with the other hand place it in the forward most portion of the gill plate and not in the gills. Keeping the TM on it's side lift the fish for a quick measurement/picture. Make sure you have a 'firm' grip in the forward part of the gill plate and be mindful of the gill rakers. Lift the fish up and with your free hand support the fish by holding it under its belly.
Never pinch the fish's eye's that's an ole wise tail. If you do this it will damage eyes causing blindness.
Never hold the fish continually vertical for an extended period doing this has the great potential to cause injury to internal organs and skeletal bones of the fish. Hold the fish horizontally.
Fish should not be out of the water for more that say 25-30 seconds.
Never just plop/toss the fish over the side of the boat or toss back into the water from shore…place the fish in the water holding it’s tail and use the other hand if necessary to support its underside. Ever so slightly move the fish from side to side until you feel the fish wanting to swim away on its own. For us we’ll hang around an area for up to 45 minutes especially for a larger Tiger to ensure it doesn’t resurface.
I strongly discourage the use Rapala grippers’. Had a guy at work a few years ago told me the story he didn't have the lanyard around his wrist and the TM made a violent shake and fell into the water with the gripper still engaged. Well without a doubt that fish will eventually die. If you have to use the grippers make sure to place the lanyard loop around your wrist.
Tiger Muskies are a “sterile” fish…once it’s gone that’s one less. The TM is a very hearty fish with proper tackle and properly handled than released increases tremendously the survival rate of Tiger Muskies.
So there you have it just some K2 recommendations on Tiger Muskies fishing... good luck and I hope the above helps you out someday if you happen to hook into one of these fish of 10,000 casts and especially a behemoth.
Location: Lake Katchabigun
Once you know everything about anything its what you learn afterwards that counts.
Skunked, we never get skunked its the fish getting skunked as they just kept missing our lures.