Starting in 2019, the Ft. Lewis Program, moved two of its four monthly tying nights from the Warrior Transition Battalion (WTB), to the Puget Sound Fly Company, allowing greater access and bring in guest tiers.
This month’s guest tier was Randy Clark, from Oregon. He’s a Northwest expert on fishing for Tiger Muskie. The Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife stocks lakes in the state to control the Northern Pikeminnow, Perch, Sunfish, Sucker, & Carp population. Fly fishing for Muskie is challenging enough casting 8-12″ flies, on a 10wt rod, using an intermediate line, and bite leader, but add in our Tigers live in lakes and fly design takes on a whole new set of considerations. With no current to help animate the fly, mimicking a wounded or fleeing fish is all on you, so your choice of materials and how they are applied on the hook, or hooks if tying an articulated fly, better be to your advantage and swim right! Through many days spent on the water and tens of thousands of casts, Randy has developed and refined his flies to give the stillwater fly fisherman the best chance to catch one of these toothy critters.
The average adult Tiger Muskie caught is in the high 30 – 40 inch range, so you can assume these fish have been caught before with the state’s minimum retain length at 50″. These fish learn quick and in our clear water lakes when a Tiger Muskie is stalking your fly up to the boat many times it’ll see you silhouetted against the sky and break off. Randy’s flies are designed for our unique conditions. Their shape and materials used makes the fly swim erratically on the strip and turn to present a profile on the pause. These two combinations trigger a strike instinct instead of long follows up to the boat.
It’s was an extremely fun and informative night as Randy passed on his knowledge of Muskie flies, tying techniques, and fishing tactics. The feeling of watching a fish the length of you leg stalk your fly cannot be put into words. No wonder Muskie fishing is so addictive! Thanks Randy for your support of Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing, Northwest veterans, and healing those who serve.