Regional Reports-Midwest

Lake Webster

Mention muskie fishing and most people are apt to think of Minnesota or Wisconsin or Canada. They need to reconsider and include Indiana. An aggressive stocking program coupled with ideal habitat and abundant forage have turned Lake Webster in northern Indiana into one of the top muskie fisheries in the country-even in the middle of summer. "It's becoming one of the most exciting muskie opportunities, because people have the chance to catch big fish,'' says Jim Bagnoli of Hoosier Muskie Hunters, a group that has augmented the state program with supplemental stockings nearby in the Barbee and Tippecanoe lake chains. Bagnoli says summer muskies in Webster can be found in or near weed beds or suspended in deeper water. For locating muskies along weed lines, Bagnoli recommends bucktails, spinners and topwater baits. Topwater or deep-diving crankbaits are his choice for suspended fish, depending on whether they are feeding near the surface or situated just off the thermocline. Bass anglers often catch muskies by accident using crankbaits. In fact, the state record (35 pounds, 8 ounces) was caught by a bass tournament angler using a Rat-L-Trap. Whatever the lure, Bagnoli suggests fishing slowly, with the best action coming in the early morning or late afternoon hours. Lake Webster is located on the outskirts of North Webster in Kosciusko County and is within a 15-minute drive of Syracuse and a half-hour of Warsaw. Contact: Indiana Division of Fish and Wildlife (317-232-4080).