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Depth Finder's Viewscreen

What Is This On My Depth Finder's View Screen?

Muskie Turds?

Muskie turds, that's what they are. You've seen them on your
depth finder's graph, I know you have. And like me, you've always
wondered what they were. Well, I finally figured it out. They're
muskie turds. There's not a doubt in my mind. How do I know?
Here's how that brilliant little piece of fishing insight hit me....

Peters and I are out on his boat on Woman Lake one spring night. It's late, past the evening bite. The walleyes aren't about to do anything foolish, like getting caught. But that's fine with us. We're listening to the loons, watching the satellites go overhead, enjoying the mist coming off the still lake in the full moonlight. We're fishing, not catching.

Jerry is drinking beer, I'm nursing an O'Douls. I've been on the wagon for some two months now, due to various complications that have arisen in my personal life. So even though Jerry's sobriety is marginal, mine is beyond reproach. And my quick mind is at work.

Jerry and I are observing the display on his new high resolution "Lowrance LMS-350A Depth finder and GPS." It's showing all kinds of things suspended in the water, from the surface down to a depth of forty feet. Below that is mud. We've been slowly drifting for an hour now, and the depth finder's display has been continually full of these mysterious marks.

"Look at all that crap!" remarks Peters. "Hooks all over the place. I've always wondered what that is."

(Let me note here that by "hooks" Jerry means the arch shaped symbols generated by the depth finder, indicating the presence of something below us. "Hooks" may or may not be fish.)

"Well, Woman's got ciscoes in it, and they suspend," I say to him. "Could be ciscoes, or bait fish, or maybe pieces of weeds floatin' around. Could even be 'spended walleyes, or somethin'. Who knows?"

Who knows, indeed. At times, we've tried to "catch" the suspended somethin's. We've used a slip bobber to put a minnow or leech at the proper depth, where the hooks show up. We've never caught anything.

On sunny calm days, we've even tried to see them down below the boat. Woman lake is clear, you can see down ten or fifteen feet, under the right conditions. The marks on the depth finder have shown up at, say, eight feet. But looking in the water, we've been unable to detect anything, as far down as we could see.

So what are those things?

And Peters is still wondering too. "What is that shit?"

And that triggers it – understanding dawns on me. There, in the night, in the stillness. There, under the stars and among the loons. There, with my drunken fishing buddy beside me, inspiration strikes.

"Peters, I know! I know! It's muskie turds!"

Well why? Just think.....

Muskies are magic fish, special fish. We all know that. They have certain qualities, certain characteristics, that set them apart from other fish, from other creatures. They're truly special. But they eat, and they have to crap. And isn't it inevitable that their turds should also be magic, be special too?

Can't you just see a big forty–five or fifty–inch muskie, slowly cruising the lake, dumping a load every once in a while? But not the watery, slimy little mess, generated from worms and leeches and minnows, that a terrified perch or walleye deposits in your hand when you're trying to unhook it. Not that. Instead, solid pellets of shit, made up of digested walleyes and northerns and smallmouth bass. Perhaps even cannibalized muskies. Quality turds, magic turds.

Turds that remain suspended. Turds that bounce back the sound beams from your depthfinder, out of all proportion to their size. Turds that show up as "hooks" on your graph.

And Woman Lake has muskies, and I just know that's what we're seeing, and that's what you've seen on your graph too.

Muskie Turds ......

Juris Ozols
Apple Valley

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Date Created: June 29, 1996
Last Modified: February 26, 2004
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