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Young Angler Catches Giant LOTW Musky Through the Ice

Young Angler Catches Giant LOTW Musky Through the Ice

Featured image courtesy of Jamie Saffert

Young Wisconsin resident Leah Saffert managed to catch a monster musky during a recent ice fishing trip on Lake of the Woods. 

Continue reading this article to get the full catch story and find out just how big Leah’s musky was! 

It was a few weeks ago that 10-year-old Leah, together with brother Scott and father Jamie, was ice fishing on Lake of the Wood’s Zippel Bay. 

The family decided to fish with tip-ups and live sucker minnows, with the primary target species being northern pike. 

Courtesy of Jamie Saffert

Only a few hours in, the group got their first bite of the day, which they’ll probably remember for the rest of their lives!

We all know how effective bigger live baits are for pike!

But pike aren’t the only apex predators that love live suckers! 

Minnesota’s famous Lake of the Woods is home to some really big muskies, and that’s exactly what took the Saffert’s bait that morning!

Fighting the Monster

Courtesy of Jamie Saffert

It took some time to get the fish close to the hole!

“It took her about 5 to 10 minutes to right the fish. She didn’t seem scared, but she was pretty excited.” – Leah’s dad Jamie

During the fight, the family thought they had hooked up to a giant pike. But they all realized what had taken their live bait once Leah managed to get the fish near the 10-inch ice fishing hole.

Before the giant could muster enough energy for yet another escape, Leah’s father, Jamie, quickly pulled it out through the ice.

“We were all very shocked when we pulled it out of the hike.”

Big Muskies Are a Rarity in the Southern Bays 

Courtesy of Jamie Saffert

And so they should be because catching muskies in one of the southern bays of Lake of the Woods is pretty uncommon!

DID YOU KNOW: Many of the lake’s muskies will be found in the Northwest Angle. This area of the lake is one of the best for both numbers and size.

And if we’re talking trophy-sized fish, it’s nothing short of an absolute rarity! 

In other words, Leah can be very proud of herself for catching such a phenomenal fish on Zippel Bay! 

So how big was Leah’s monster musky, then?

The Catch of a Lifetime

Courtesy of Jamie Saffert

Luckily, Jamie had a scale, allowing him to weigh and measure the behemoth.

And what a magnificent musky it was! The fish weighed in at a fantastic 34lbs and measured an insane 50 inches!

“It feels amazing to get her a fish of this size. I was trying to get her a pike over 40 inches and can’t believe she caught a muskie of this size that some people fish a long time to catch. The two of us are very excited.”

I don’t think many 10-year-olds out there can claim to have caught a 50-inch muskie! In fact, most seasoned anglers will never be able to do that. 

Because a fish like that is the stuff of dreams, and to many, it’ll always remain to be one!

A 10-Year-Old Who Rocks at Fishing

Leah might be young, but I think anyone would agree that she’s already earned the right to call herself a fishing pro!

Besides catching gigantic muskies, she’s also caught many lake trout, steelhead, and cohos. 

Her personal best northern pike is an incredible fish of 36 inches. 

If she continues to be into fishing, I’d say this kid has a bright future ahead of her. Wouldn’t you agree?

Congratulations again, Leah, for catching that awesome musky. You rock!

A Return to the Mythical Lake of the Woods

When we talked, I asked Jamie when he’d planned to fish LOTW again.

He’s fished the lake many times, and this trip will certainly not be his last.

“I’m actually fishing LOTW right now. I am waiting for the sun to come up to start fishing. I don’t have a date yet when I’m bringing my kids back up. But it will be in the near future for sure.”

I want to thank Jamie for this interview and wish both him, Leah, and Scott tight lines, many more fishing adventures, and plenty of trophy fish!

Some Tips for Musky Fishing in Minnesota

Suppose this article inspired you to do some musky hunting on Lake of the Woods or another of Minnesota’s musky lakes. 

In that case, you should read up on some general fishing tips and Minnesota’s musky regulations. 

Minnesota’s DNR has an excellent section called “How to catch muskellunge” that you might find helpful. 

DISCLAIMER: Leah’s musky was an incidental catch out of season and was hence safely released again.

How Is the Ice on Lake of the Woods?

This winter has been unusually warm so far, and the ice in many areas can still be sketchy, even though things look a lot better now than they did a few weeks ago!

Please be safe when heading out, and make sure always to check the latest ice reports! 

When it comes to LOTW, there are a few addresses online that you can check before your next ice fishing trip:

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