very similar responses from all of them. Not that any single lodge was expecting a great windfall crop of muskies or anglers, but they were all optimistic. In addition, what was most interesting was that they all equated this trend to better muskie management, an expanding user group and quality catch and release practices exhibited by today’s muskie anglers. Eric Brown, Jr. felt the fishery for all game species in the area around Wiley Point was on an upward trend, both in quantity and quality. Randy Tyran felt Osbourne and Niven’s Bays on Eagle Lake had been experiencing good spawning seasons over the past few years, which could very well be the result of more spawning females in the system, yet another derivative of quality management. The Pehrsons responded with the following: “Our fishery here at Lake Vermilion is on track to becoming one of the top muskie lakes in the Midwest. It offers size, Canadian Shield structures, a variety of lake sections (big water, bays, islands, channels, etc.) and a wide variety of forage including cisco and whitefish. We are very optimistic that it will sustain the quality of muskie fishing we are enjoying today, contingent on sound management (continued stocking, population monitoring and angler support of catch and release)”. When asked who they were targeting in their current marketing programs, the responses varied based on geographical settings. However, the client list always included muskie fishermen, or should I say muskie anglers. This is, in my opinion, where things get interesting regarding trends of the past vs. those of today. Only ten years ago, there was much less interest in the muskie angler as a whole and almost no consideration given to marketing to their needs. I found it very interesting that Randy was aware of the water conditions, such as stained vs. clear, and was incorporating that information into their marketing. He was also quick to point out that Wiley Point’s location on an island creates a sense of remoteness that adds to muskie anglers’ enjoyment. Ed Tausk, on the other hand, tends to market season by season, keeping Vermilion Dam Lodge open year round and campaigning for different clients during different seasons. He was very conscious of the specific needs of the muskie angler, regarding such things as meal times, dock services, package plans and guides. Eric Jr. simply stated it this way: “Wiley targets everyone. Wiley is a full service facility and can fulfill the needs of all anglers including the muskie angler, which also includes those wishing to fish very late into the night”. All of the owners were conscious of family issues, and were quick to point out they are run by families that truly understand the value of a family atmosphere. All welcome kids and adults alike. When asked how they would rate the muskie angler in terms of importance on a scale of 1 to 10, both Eric Brown and Eric Hanson ranked the muskie angler at 6-8 in terms of marketing importance based on the number of muskie anglers frequenting their respective facilities today. Both seemed to feel that muskie anglers account for about twenty to thirty percent of their total business and agreed the core of muskie anglers is growing at a remarkable rate and should be accommodated to the fullest extent. Randy, on the other hand, feels the muskie angler is “a 10, definitely a 10”. As he says, “although we have excellent fishing for a number of species (walleye, northern, smallmouth, and lake trout), Century Lodge on Osbourne Bay is notorious for its incredible muskie fishing. This is our premier fish and a passion to us and the muskie fisherman who enjoy it with us year after year. To us the muskie angler is number one”. When asked how many muskie anglers each lodge would like to accommodate each season, the response was predictable - as many as they could. The real standout response came from Ed Tausk of Vermilion Dam. Although he would like the business anytime, he really favored the fall periods. The physical makeup of Vermilion is that of a shield lake, and as perhaps the southernmost muskie shield lake in the country, its location allows anglers a few extra weeks of access to its precious bounty, the muskie. The lake has less boat traffic in the fall, and the muskie fishing is exceptional, in fact, the later the better. Eric Jr. also favored the 54 inch minimums, and during a conversation this past summer he indicated the quality of muskies being caught each year is visibly better than the last.