Smallmouth and Muskie on the Mississippi River | Fly Fishing Insider Podcast

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In this conversation, Kip Vieth, owner operator of Wildwood Float Trips, discusses fishing for smallmouth and musky on the Mississippi River in Minnesota. He highlights the abundance and quality of the smallmouth fishery in the Upper Mississippi and St. Croix rivers, emphasizing the catch-and-release regulations that have helped maintain the quality of the fishery. Kip also mentions the variety of food sources for smallmouth, including crayfish and minnows, and the effectiveness of topwater flies like poppers and divers. When it comes to musky fishing, Kip explains that it is a high-risk, high-reward endeavor, with the fall season being the most productive. He emphasizes the importance of persistence and the thrill of seeing a musky eat the fly. In this conversation, Kip Vieth and Christian Bacasa discuss the challenges and techniques of musky fishing. They talk about the unpredictability of muskies and how they can be difficult to catch. They also compare musky fishing to tarpon fishing, highlighting the differences in the fishing methods. Kip shares his insights on rod setups, leader setups, and the importance of staying focused and mentally prepared while musky fishing. He also mentions the impact of moon phases and weather conditions on musky fishing success. Kip offers his contact information for those interested in booking a trip with Wildwood Float Trips.


  • Minnesota offers excellent smallmouth and musky fishing opportunities on the Upper Mississippi and St. Croix rivers.
  • The Upper Mississippi is known for its quality smallmouth fishery, with catch-and-release regulations and abundant food sources.
  • Topwater flies like poppers and divers are effective for smallmouth, with rubber legs adding extra attraction.
  • Musky fishing is a challenging and rewarding pursuit, with the fall season being the most productive.
  • Having the right fly line, such as a weight-forward line, is crucial for casting larger flies for both smallmouth and musky. Muskies are unpredictable and can be difficult to catch, requiring patience and persistence.
  • Musky fishing is different from tarpon fishing, as muskies are ambush predators and require heavy rods and flies.
  • Staying focused and mentally prepared is crucial in musky fishing, as even a momentary lapse in attention can result in a missed opportunity.
  • Moon phases and weather conditions play a significant role in musky fishing success.
  • Contact Kip Vieth at Wildwood Float Trips for more information on booking a musky fishing trip.

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Christian Bacasa, Host of the Fly Fishing Insider Podcast

By Christian Bacasa
Host of the Fly Fishing Insider Podcast

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