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Krysten Potega: Chasing the Next Big One

Although Krysten Potega (@KrystenPotega on Instagram) has hooked into a 20-inch tiger muskie and pulled a 40-incher up through the ice, she isn’t satisfied.

“I want to get a decent-sized muskie in open water,” she says.

The Northern Illinois native — now a resident of Wisconsin — has been fishing “since before I could walk, according to my parents.”

“My parents raised me and my sister outdoors,” Krysten says. “We took a family fishing vacation every year.”

These days, Krysten lives in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, which offers her quick access to fisheries like Lake Winnebago and the Wolf River, where she chases species like northern pike and crappie, as well as largemouth, smallmouth and white bass.

The area is also known for its lake sturgeon.

“During white bass season, we almost always hook a sturgeon or two,” Krysten says. But because sturgeon are highly-regulated and have a different, month-long season, they have to go back in the water.

Krysten’s favorite place to fish, though, is near Minocqua in northern Wisconsin, where several lakes offer plenty of fishing opportunities.

Notwithstanding her muskie quest, largemouth bass and crappie top Krysten’s list of target species. Crappie she loves for their scrappiness and their flavor.

“They make great table fare,” she says.

As to largemouth bass, she loves both the challenge they present and how big they can get. But regardless of what she’s chasing, topwater is her favorite way to get them.

“I love topwater fishing,” Krysten says. “My go-to is a Spro Poppin’ Frog or a Lunkerhunt Pocket Frog. But I’ve hooked them with a LiveTarget Mouse.”

She’s even hooked bowfin — a primitive fish with a mouthful of teeth that’s native to the eastern United States — using a topwater.

“That’s one of the things I love most about fishing,” Krysten says. “You never know what you’re gonna catch: Largemouth, smallmouth, northern, muskie — or bowfin.”

But there are other aspects of fishing that keep getting her out on the water.

“There are lots of challenges with fishing,” Krysten says. “You have to read the water, the weather, figure out what the fish are hitting. But it’s also so peaceful. Being out in nature, on or near the water — it’s where I’m most relaxed.”

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