Legends of the Manitou
By Jim Dicken
|Back in 1989 a Record Size Muskie was
caught photographed and released at Manitou Lake. The
fish was caught on a Mepps Syclops Spoon, and was
featured on the cover of the Mepps Magazine for 1991.
The fish was not weighed because it was caught before the
Muskie Season Opened. The angler was fishing for pike
when he hooked the beast of Mosher Bay. The fish was 1/2
" shorter than the World Record Muskie, and was
estimated to actually weigh more due to its large girth.
That fish is still swimming the waters of Lake Manitou. At least I believe it is after Peter Maloney and I saw a BIG fish sunning itself at a distance in Mosher Bay, our first night at Green Island Resort. The fish would now be approximately 72 " long. Yep thats right, Muskies only gain about a half a pound a year and grow only about 1/4 of an inch in the 4 to 5 month long growing season on the lake. By Mid October ice will begin to form on this lake and it will freeze over until late April or early May.
The Ontario Record Muskie is 65 pounds and came from Georgian Bay. A few miles south of Manitou.
In talking to the guides and to others who work at Green Island I also got to hear about other fish. My favorite's were Vince's Tourist Muskies. Seems that when fishing gets tough Vince goes to a special spot on the lake and throws his Christmas Tree Lure and up come the muskies. One 45 incher swam right up to the boat following Vince's Bait, I quickly dropped a 2 oz Silver Buddy over the side and the brute charged the lure, stopping to just barely bump it with its nose, before swimming away. Several more large fish appeared only to bump a lure and leave. I think I am beginning to understand why Muskie Fishermen are so dedicated. They would have to be to be satisfied with just SEEING a muskie.
Doyle Bay is another location identified by our guests that holds a legendary fish. This one is estimated at just over 72 inches and over the last few years has been coerced into biting crank baits a few times.
The area we fished, I will call it Musky Straight... holds a fish that Vince says most likely is very close to the same size as the Muskie in Mosher Bay. Still this is not the biggest muskie seen on the lake either. That prize goes to the Musky living in Jackfish Bay. Vince says he has seen it one time, and Dave Korzinski who guides and does construction at the lake has also talked to others who have seen this one. It is purported to be at least 7 feet long, and stays in a Lake Trout Hole most of the summer. Last season, one guest was reeling in a Lake Trout of around 8 pounds when somehting bit the fish in two just behind the gills. According to Mike the manager of the resort the guest walked around with that fish head for 2 days showing it to anyone who would look.
Live bait may be the only way to get these crafty fish to bite, but since live bait is hard to get into the lake and catching your own is forbidden at the lake.. I dont foresee any one catching one of these monsters in the near future.
Vince Korzinski, our guide says the fish once appeared below the boat he was fishing out of in about 18 feet of water following a Laker that was being reeled in.. It appeared to be almost 8 feet long and Vince estimates he would weigh in excess of 90 pounds.
Fish Stories? Well maybe, but then the lake was not heavily fished until the 1950's and catch and release has become the rule on this lake. On this 100,000 acre lake there is only one boat ramp and it is on the Lower Manitou almost 50 miles from Green Island and the Upper Manitou. A few fish are allowed for a shore lunch, but taking a fish home is almost forbidden. I understood why when I found out that an 8 pound Laker is estimated to be 35 years old, and that means the 10 pounder that I caught would be as old as I am. Muskies seem to age only during the summer. Growth stops in winter. Some fish in this lake may be over 100 years old. The largest Lake Trout was over 40 pounds... that fish was over 150 years old. If you go take a camera. Release any true trophy fish and get a replica mount.