Fischer Smith has no problem living up to his first name.
The Chippewa Falls 9-year old and third-grade student at Hillcrest Elementary has emerged as one of the top youth muskie fishermen in the country, combining his youthful excitement for the sport with a veteran ability to share his knowledge with the world through speaking at public seminars.
He has even appeared on the cover of a national magazine.
Fischer and his dad, Jason, will be speaking at a seminar hosted by the 1st Wisconsin Chapter of Muskies Inc. at 7 p.m. Monday at the Fill Inn Station in Chippewa Falls.
They’ll be discussing youth muskie fishing, but there will also plenty for adults to learn.
Jason has been a fishing guide for 13 years, and he and his children all enjoy fishing. Fischer is the youngest of the bunch and got bit by the fishing bug the hardest.
He caught his first muskie when he was three years old but said two years ago is when the bug really got him.
“I have a freshman in college and a sophomore (in high school) and they’ve both caught muskies,” Jason said. “(They catch) one and they’re done. They’re happy. This kid has the bug. He wants to go all the time.”
Jason estimates Fischer spent more than 60 days last year on the water fishing, putting in countless hours out on the lake. Fischer’s favorite place to fish is Lake Wissota, where he has caught numerous muskie, including a 45-incher in addition to a 46-inch muskie caught on Lake Holcombe. Fischer has accompanied Jason on his guides around the 17 lakes in the Chippewa Falls and Lake Holcombe areas. But Fischer isn’t just tagging along, he’s able to help out kids and adults with their fishing.
“There were four or five outings last year where he helped me guide,” Jason said. “He got in the boat and helped the customers. We’d (guide) fathers and sons, and he’d sit in the back of the boat and help the son or he’d help an adult.”
The biggest muskie Fischer has caught was 46.5 inches and came on Lake of the Woods in Canada. While waiting to refuel their vehicle at a resort dock gas pumping area, he threw a few lines into the lake and hooked the near four-foot-long fish.
Trips to the water for Fischer and Jason don’t have to be all-day affairs. Sometimes it’s a simple 10-minute excursion to cast a few lines near the Chippewa Falls dam when the duo goes out for a few groceries.
“That’s what it takes to catch a lot of muskies in a season,” Jason said. “Sometimes you’ve got to make a lot of little trips.”
Fischer enjoys casting the best because of the skill it takes. He has caught 49 muskies in his life, including 24 last year. Jason estimates that most adults in the chapter catch around five or six muskies in a year on average. That total would’ve placed him sixth in the club’s men’s division season standings.
Nationally, Fischer was ranked sixth and fourth in recent years in total muskies caught in the 17-and-under division through Muskies Inc. Despite his prowess in hauling in fish, Fischer said his favorite part of fishing is that it isn’t easy.
“Sometimes you miss more than your catch,” Fischer said.
Fischer enjoys fishing for crappies, walleyes and bluegills but make no mistake about it, muskies are his favorite target.
When he’s not filling his dad’s boat with muskies, he’s speaking with him to others about they can do the same. Fischer first spoke last year at the Milwaukee Muskie Expo in West Bend at the end of one of Jason’s presentations and was an immediate hit, quickly becoming the talk of the convention.
“After the seminar was done, everybody just wanted to talk to him,” Jason said. “I said I’ve got to build a seminar around this kid. He just hammed it up and he was having fun.”
He spoke at the 2018 expo last month and had about 60 adults and children sitting in on his seminar as he talked for a full hour.
“I like teaching other people how to fish,” Fischer said.
And others have also taken notice. Last year the Smiths appeared on Today’s Angler, an online fishing show where Fischer reeled in a 41-inch muskie on a county lake. Recently Fischer was on the cover of the March/April 2018 edition of Muskie Magazine, the official magazine of Muskies Inc.
Muskie season in Wisconsin runs from Memorial Day through the end of November, with fall being Fischer’s favorite time to hit the lake. Last season the last day they were out on the lake was Nov. 29, which meant they had to bust open some ice to get open water to work in.
“He’s not afraid to go out fishing when it’s 20 degrees with the wind blowing,” Jason said. “It doesn’t faze him. He just wants to go.”
Even though he’s still in elementary school, Fischer carries the maturity on the lake of a seasoned veteran. Long days don’t bother him and neither does going long periods of time without a bite or missing one he’s got on the line.
“I’m like, oh, I’ll catch them another time,” Fischer said.
“He’ll pause for a second and then he’ll just start casting again. It does not even faze him. I’m distraught as a father sitting there going ‘did you just see him lose that?’” Jason added with a laugh.
When he’s not fishing, Fischer enjoys being active in wrestling, skateboarding and gymnastics.
Fischer is already looking ahead to the 2018 season and has a few lofty goals. In the long term he wants to be a professional angler and work in the fishing industry someday. For this season he wants to catch at least 28 muskies, trying to better his total from a season ago. The just-over-four-foot-tall Fischer also has another big goal.
“I want to try to get one bigger than I am,” Fischer said.