Results from last weekend's Metro Muskie Tournament are telltale not only of the health of the Twin Cities area muskie fishery, but the diversity of lakes and rivers here that hold these fish.
The event was won by Dan Altman of Eagan, who caught three muskies on the St. Croix River, one measuring 48 inches, another 43 inches and the third, 40.5 inches.
Anglers could fish any of 16 metro waters from 6 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday. Eligible lakes and rivers were: Bald Eagle, Bryant, Cedar (Scott County), Clear, Eagle (Hennepin County), Elmo, Forest, Independence, Johanna, Owasso, Pierson, Lake St. Croix, Waconia, Wasserman, Weaver and White Bear.
Among the top 10 winners, only Altman registered fish from Lake St. Croix (the St. Croix River). Eagle Lake, meanwhile, registered three fish to three anglers-- two 48s and a 50.
Forest Lake was the other water body boasting more than a single entry in the top 10. Kyle Schellenberg landed two fish there, a 47.5 and a 43. Forest Lake also was a big producer last year, offering six fish among the top 10 winners.
Looking back at results from the 2010 Metro Muskie Tournament, Waconia produced two fish for the contest's winner, Patrick Finn -- and nine more muskies for anglers in the top 10.
Yet this year, Waconia had only one fish in the top 10: a 44-incher that earned Adam Hoen ninth place.
Absent among waters fished by top-10 finishers this year were White Bear and Bald Eagle lakes. Low water levels on White Bear probably kept that lake relatively quiet, while Bald Eagle reportedly was sprayed for weeds Friday, a fact unknown to the many anglers fishing there until after they were on the water.
The tournament, organized by Paul Hartman, gave away $11,000 in cash and prizes. It's hugely popular among Minnesota muskie fishermen, and is a contest that couldn't be run in any other metro area in the country -- or anywhere in North America, for that matter. No other city offers as many quality muskie waters so close together.
Dennis Anderson firstname.lastname@example.org