Visiting angler and Wisconsin outdoorsman Dan Small recently pulled in a 39-inch tiger muskie on a fly rod from the St. Regis River at Brasher Falls.
The tiger muskie is a rarity in St. Lawrence River tributaries. A sterile cross between a muskie and northern pike, the fish are stocked primarily in Central New York lakes. Small is an award-winning radio and TV host, writer and photographer focusing on Wisconsin outdoor recreation and issues. His brother, Dr. Michael Small of Long Lake, set an angling record last year with a 51-inch muskie caught on a fly rod from the St. Regis River.
The two brothers met at Jellybeans Riverside Campground on the St. Regis with plans to fish for several days before heading to the Outdoor Writers Conference in Lake Placid.
On his first evening - first 10 minutes - first 5 casts Dan Small hooked-up with the hybrid beauty on the Hawg-Frawg fly Sting Bee yellow/black pattern created by his brother Mike.
He was casting into a big backwater with a 10-weight St. Croix rod which belonged to his brother Mike who tied a two-foot section of sink-tip line into the leader to make the floating fly dive about a foot.
At the Outdoor Writers Conference, DEC biologists told Dan Small that all muskies in the St. Regis and St. Lawrence are naturally spawned.
Biologists offered the explanation that the tiger was most likely a natural hydrbid produced when a male northern impregnated the egg of a female muskie.
Small also learned that with shallow pike spawning habitat decreasing on the St. Lawrence some northerns are spawning later in deep water in same spawning areas of muskies.