Tiger musky are a hybrid of northern pike and muskellunge. Tigers are their sterile offspring, like mules from jacks and mares. They grow quickly and are said to have more smarts than either of their folks. They are also voracious eaters of just about anything that swims—including trout, baby ducks, goldfish and flies.

The Flyfish Journal’s Erin Block travelled to New Mexico’s Bluewater Lake to explore a unique desert fishing environment that’s home to an enigmatic, one-of-a-kind fish.

Words: Erin Block

I wonder which side of their family tree tigers take after most. You think what you know; expect what you want. So I strip in line with the erratic short-short-long I’ve patterned for pike, which react to it as they would a wounded baby bass. Accelerate. Inhale. Like through-hikers headed to a burger after 10 days.

“Slow down,” David says. “Let it rest. These fish need time to think.” He points out a shadow that followed in my fly. “Do you see it?” he asks. And I don’t, not yet.

Like a good relationship, the tigers come when you aren’t ready, when it’s not convenient. When you’re lighting a cigarette, taking a swig of water, pushing your glasses up your nose. When you’ve sworn off men for a year…

Subscribe to start your collection of the world’s best flyfishing publication


The FlyFish Journal Mailing List

We respect your time, and only send you the occasional update.