Ray Thompson, head of Illini Muskies Alliance, dug up some interesting figures from the Illinois Muskie Creel Survey 1987-2008 on Illinois muskie catching rates in response to today's outdoor column about caching 10 muskies in three hours on Spring Lake North.
Here's Thompson's note:
I read your article and have the following comments.
The Illinois muskie fishery is one of the best anywhere.
While Illinois can't compete with other areas such as Canada or Minnesota for the total number of lunkers, we certainly can as far as numbers.
From the 1987-2008 Voluntary Creel Survey:
"This improvement in the muskie fishery is also evident in the fact that the average number of hours fished between muskie catches is gradually decreasing, as the overall average is now 13.8 hours (Table 10 and Figure 10). This suggests that muskie anglers are continuing to learn their craft and are becoming more and more proficient at catching fish."
This analysis also points to the outstanding job done by the IDNR in maintaining an aggressive stocking policy and the catch and release ethic of muskie anglers.
By the way, the average time between muskie catches at Spring lake is 5.2 hours.
His note made me go back through the survey, and it is a wealth of information and just stuff. And the trend toward a rapidly improving muskie fishery in Illinois is something.