On our way up to the Driftless in Iowa, Bret and I stopped at Hazel Creek reservoir near Kirksville Missouri to fish. Hazel Creek is unique in that it is one of four lakes in Missouri that are stocked with Muskellunge, the others being: Pomme de Terre, Fellows Lake, and Lake 35 in the Busch Conservation Area. Of those Hazel Creek has the highest rating for catch rate with the average angler catching a Muskie every 16 hours vs. 40 hour average on the other lakes. The average size is 32-36".
The lake was pretty windy and we took on a bit of water in the Kayak but nothing too bad. What we had to decide was how to pattern Muskie on a lack which lacked vegetation. We tried trolling, casting off deep points, and fishing near fallen timber. Though we never hooked into any teeth. We did land four Largemouth Bass however, one by me and three from Bret. And the lake has a great reputation for Largemouth Bass, with 5-9 lb fish being reported as common.
The only downside was I lost my favorite conventional pole which killed my mood and my desire to fish, which caused us two hours of searching for it with no avail. I was pretty pissed. Overall though, it was a very pretty lake and I would certainty fish it again.
When we were leaving we talked to a good ole' boy who fishes the lake regularly and he commented that to catch Muskie there you just fish for Bass and you will catch Muskie incidentally. Good tip for next time. Stay tuned as I will have the post up for the Driftless soon, it was a lot of fun.
Bret with a 3 lb Largemouth, Spinnerbait.