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Stream Stalker

Snakebit at Snakeden

Tue, May 20, 2014

Hooked up this past Saturday with my old buddy, Todd Clanin.  Todd and I used to get out and do some small creek smallie chasing back in the day.  Todd is now not only a great smallie angler, but also chases muskies quite a bit.  He just bought his first fly rod and is getting ready to chase the mighty muskie with the long rod.  Todd and I fished McMaster Lake located within Snakeden Hollow Recreation Area.

I had never been to Snakeden.  When I was a kid, I fished a few of the strip mine lakes that are now part of Snakeden.  My father had a friend who had permission to fish the strip mines before the state bought them.  We ice fished and had a great time (early 80’s).

McMaster Lake is the main lake at Snakeden and what a neat lake it is.  Crystal clear water with every type of habitat and fish could want.  Standing timber, downed timber, beautiful weedbeds, and rocks…!  Todd fished with standard muskie hardware, while I utilized only the 10 weight fly rod.  We encountered a nice, sunny day with little wind.

We fished, for the most part, the whole lake.  To make a long story short, we had plenty of near misses.  We had 14 follows from 14 separate muskies and NOT ONE ate our offerings…...amazing.  I had never seen anything like it.  Of course, I am totally new to muskie fishing, but even Todd remarked that 14 follows without a strike is pretty amazing.  While it was great fun fishing this new lake, it was still a little frustrating to have that many near misses.

I am planning on getting back to McMaster as soon as possible.  While the lake is approximately 150 acres, I still feel I could get my Coosa kayak out on the lake and do some damage.  Of course, I may go back with Todd as well.  You might remember that Todd Clanin caught and released an amazing muskie from McMaster a few years back that measured 54 inches!!  We had some fish near the boat that were over 40 inches, with only two out of the fourteen that were considered small fish.

I will be back…....................


Had a great time as always Jonn. Let’s get back out there again soon and hopefully the fish will cooperate better. BTW, your flies really looked awesome in the water. If you keep getting them wet, another musky will eat one for sure! I can’t wait to take them up to WI for the musky opener this weekend. Although my double haul still needs some serious fine tuning! Take care.

Posted by ToddC on May 20

Lake McMaster is my favorite lake to fish in Illinois. It’s about a bit of a drive for me to get to but I try to make it there at least once a year.

Posted by fishing_pirate on May 21

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