Like many boys from Minnesota, Woodbury High School graduate Chad Mitchell-Peterson was taught to fish by his father.
“He was a heck of a walleye fisherman,” Mitchell-Peterson said.
Yet as he got into fishing himself, he caught something else: “the muskie bug.”
“I caught my first one and I was kind of hooked. No pun intended,” Mitchell-Peterson said.
He and his fishing partner, Ross Korpela, recently earned 2012 “Top Gun” honors in the Professional Musky Tournament Trail.
“It’s been a fun ride,” said Mitchell-Peterson, a 1993 WHS graduate who now lives in Inver Grove Heights. “The whole experience is pretty awesome. … It’s hard to believe. It’s a little bit surreal.”
He started on the pro fishing circuit about four years ago and primarily enjoys the challenge of catching muskellunge, known as “the fish of 10,000 casts.”
“Defeating the top predator in the water—it’s a rush,” Mitchell-Peterson said.
A big part of what separates a pro from an amateur angler is simply paying attention to fish and their environment.
“Understanding the biology of it,” Mitchell-Peterson, 37, said.
He said adding that having a good partner certainly helps, and he couldn’t do it without the support of his wife and two boys.
While he quoted the line about luck being the meeting of preparation and opportunity, Mitchell-Peterson said it is a factor.
“You can’t make ’em bite,” he said.
Other tips for anglers include paying attention to lunar phases and the habits of baitfish and their habitats.
The biggest muskie he ever caught was 52 inches long and nearly 44 pounds. But he always throws them back.
“I just have a high level of respect for the fish and would never think about killing one,” Mitchell-Peterson said.