The Musky fishing season has officially started in northern Wisconsin.
But to catch one, many actually use another species of fish as bait.
They're called White Suckers, and bait harvesters in the Northwoods say Oneida County has their fair share. Especially in spring as the fish spawn in waterways like the Little Rice River.
"This is a yearly event for them, and we've been netting these fish for the last twenty years," net fisherman Scott Goode said.
Goode is teaming up with his two sons using net fishing techniques to catch White Suckers. The species is common in Wisconsin and the Upper Midwest. They're used for food, but more commonly as bait for Muskies.
"We get out and net these Suckers and we use them in Wisconsin's bait fishing industry," Goode said.
The process works as a duo wades into the river carrying a large white net. As it spreads out the net acts like a giant catcher's mitt. It collects fish as the fisherman duo retreats downstream, allowing them to catch multiple fish at the same time.
"We try to get the male Suckers that are about 12 to 14 inches which are ideal size for Musky fishing," Goode said.
Females are released to continue in the spawning process. Males harvested are taken ashore and put in a modified tank and transported to market.
Standing near his sons at bank of the Little Rice River, Goode says the company and quality of work are both well worth his investment.
"I'm teaching them something I've done for years and whether they do it or not is up to them," Goode said. "At least they'll know how it's done and that is getting to be a lost art," he continued.