Deleted: Dan Donovan, the owner and passionate angler behind Musky Fool guides us through mastering musky fly fishing today. Discover the Musky School and how you can be part of this exciting adventure. Learn the ins and outs of choosing the right fly to hit muskies as large as 20 inches, and master the techniques to cast them like a pro. Discover the four essential presentations that will elevate your musky game today. Don’t miss out on this chance to transform your approach to musky fishing with tips from the expert himself.

Show Notes with Dan Donovan on Musky Fly Fishing. Hit play below! 👇🏻

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(Read the Full Transcript at the bottom of this Blog Post)


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Episode Chapters with Dan Donovan on Musky Fly Fishing

3:49 – Dan discusses his experience with tying a musky fly, which was initially intended to mimic conventional black and silver baits but was unsatisfactory. Despite its poor start, Dan mentions that his skill in fly tying improved over time.

4:51 – Musky Fool Fly Fishing Co., the only fly shop in the Madison area, is highlighted for its comprehensive coverage of various fishing needs, particularly known for musky but offers gear and guidance for all types of fly fishing, capitalizing on the rich fishing environment in and around Madison.

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5:23 – Dan notes that Wisconsin winters can be tough, affecting the local environment and fishing seasons. The early arrival of spring has implications for the musky season, potentially advancing the schedule for fishing activities in the area.

6:22 – We talk about our upcoming musky fly fishing trip planned for mid-September in northern Wisconsin. Dan highlights this time of year as optimal for musky fishing due to their behavior and the environmental conditions.

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“Does it get any better than fishing in this!? It’s fall. It’s musky primetime.” (Photo via:
11:23 – He walks us through the itinerary for the Musky School which includes three full days of fishing. Dan assures that while the experience aims to be immersive, it will not be overly challenging, making it enjoyable and accessible for all participants.

16:32 – Dan discusses strategies to target muskies successfully. He emphasizes the importance of “hunting your fly,” meaning anglers need to actively impart action into the fly to make it appealing to the fish. He mentions that simply casting and retrieving in a monotonous pattern is ineffective. Instead, anglers must vary their retrieval techniques, such as incorporating pauses, different speeds, and lengths of strips to mimic the diverse behaviors of prey.

21:05 – Dan explains the wide variation of musky flies, which range from six to 20 inches, designed to imitate bait fish. He mentions that in September, the focus isn’t on the variety of flies but on placing them correctly, typically using flies between nine to 12 inches on 11 and 12 weights.

23:41 – He outlines four main presentations of flies, including topwater for noise attraction, glide style for sideways movement, jerk style or diving flies for a downward then wobbling upward motion, and weighted jig style for a hopping effect over structures. Each style is designed to mimic natural prey movements to entice muskies.

26:59 – Dan emphasizes the importance of the strip action to create movement in the fly, advocating for a strong pull followed by a pause, possibly with a twitch, before another vigorous rip.

33:15 – He mentions their efforts to provide resources for those unable to take guided trips, such as launching a video series on their website and social media, offering tutorials on fly tying, sharing fishing tips through their podcast named “Spot Burn”, and planning to show real fishing techniques through videos.

40:53 – Dan describes muskie fishing as a “knife fight in a phone booth” rather than a long-distance battle, highlighting the aggressive nature of muskies and their tendency to try to escape rather than take long runs. He suggests giving the fish multiple hard strip sets to ensure the hook is properly set, noting that muskies are adept at freeing themselves from hooks.


48:36 – We dig into the ideal gear for a musky fishing trip. He recommends large nets, specifically the Solo Slimer Net from RS Nets USA for durability and the Stowmaster for its foldability, to accommodate different fishing boat sizes. For rods, he suggests a 2pc 10-weight from the Chippewa River Custom Rod, made in Wisconsin, for its lightweight and casting capability. He also emphasizes the importance of having the right line, recommending Cortland’s Pike Muky Sink 4 and Intermediate lines for versatility in different fishing conditions.

You can get a chance to win a spot in our upcoming Musky School and a bunch of gear specifically for musky fishing by signing up through this link:

56:36 – Dan explains the concept of the “figure eight” technique used in musky fishing, where the angler makes a figure eight motion with their rod tip next to the boat to entice muskies to bite.

1:08:07 – Dan tells us about Louis Spray, a notorious figure known for his pirate-like demeanor and significant achievements in fly fishing.

You can find Musky Fool Fly Fishing Co. on Instagram @muskyfool.

Facebook at Musky Fool Fly Fishing Co.

YouTube @muskyfoolflyfishing

Visit their website at

musky fly fishing

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WFS 440 – Musky with Gord Pyzer – Outdoor Canada, In-Fisherman, Lake of the Woods


Read the Full Podcast Transcript Below

musky fly fishing

Conclusion with Dan Donovan on Musky Fly Fishing

Dan shared his extensive knowledge on musky fly fishing, offering insights into effective strategies for targeting these elusive fish. We discussed the importance of choosing the right size flies, and Dan gave us four key presentations every angler should master.

Whether you’re new to musky fishing or looking to refine your technique, today’s episode provided valuable tools to enhance your next fishing adventure. Remember, it’s all about playing the game right and making the most of that critical moment when a musky strikes. Thanks for tuning in, and we hope you’re leaving with some great tips to apply on the water this year.