Milt the Talking Musky - Helping Youngsters Read

Wil Wegman

For several decades I’ve loved musky fishing but it’s only been the last ten years that the mighty muskellunge has become such an integral part of my career as a resource management technician in Ontario. Every spring for 2-5 weeks I’m trapnetting up on Gloucester Pool near Lake Huron’s Georgian Bay to capture enough ripe female and male musky for an egg collection. We fertilize the eggs on the boat and they are then delivered to the musky hatchery at Fleming College in Lindsay Ontario. Here the eggs hatch, and fry, then fingerlings are cared for under the watchful eye of the hatchery manager and musky whisperer-Mark Newell. When late fall comes,  I stock all those 8-12 inch muskie into Lake Simcoe, an hour north of Toronto Ontario with help from good friends at Muskies Canada. We also electro fish for them as part of our ongoing monitoring work in Lake Simcoe. This is all part of the Lake Simcoe Muskie Restoration Program.

On To New York … For several years now I have had the great pleasure of staying at We Wan Chu Cottages on beautiful Lake Chautauqua in NY for a few days of springtime fishing.  One year, I combined business with pleasure and took a tour of the famed Chautauqua Fish Hatchery where they rear thousands of musky for their home lake and others in NY and beyond.  It was simply an awe inspiring facility and the staff there were top notch and I was able to acquire valuable tips about muskie culture and learn firsthand how this large muskie rearing facility operates.

Anyway … the prologue above is merely the segue leading into the heart of this article …namely a remarkable initiative many of my fellow anglers and colleagues will hopefully rally behind called “MILT THE TALKING MUSKY’!I first heard about Milt from Peter Wiemer – the owner of WeWan Chu Cottages whose passion to make a difference in the lives of kids with reading challenges in general and with Autism in particular, is infectious. I asked Peter to explain what Milt … his brainchild was all about.

Milt Musky

“Milt The Talking Musky is a preschool through second grade Sight Word learning tool utilizing video and music to teach 86 Sight Words in a sing along and read along format,” Peter explained.  Sight Words are commonly used words in the English language that readers need to memorize because they do not follow the phonetic pattern for pronunciation when broken down by their letter sounds. Beginning readers who memorize these words by sight will increase their reading comprehension and fluency.

Music and Video is proven to increase learning retention in young children. Four Minutes singing along with Milt on a daily or every other day basis will significantly improve a child’s reading and recognition of these 86 Sight Words. Add in over 50 pages to print and color again and again and Milt the Talking Musky will make a new learning friend with your young readers.

Milt Surprises and Provides Added Bonus:  “In 2008, one of our office assistants working here at We Wan Chu Cottages was tutoring some young children outside of work including two twin six year old Autistic boys. After watching Milt the Talking Musky, one of these boys attempted speech for the first time ever! It was such a gratifying moment and even though it came three years after I first created Milt … it was such a great surprise and well worth the wait,” Peter said.

Milt The Talking Musky was created by Peter in 2005 when his six year old daughter, Jenna, was having difficulty learning Sight Words at school. Roger Hooven, a musician from the Buffalo area and patron at We Wan Chu Cottages lent his artistic expertise to the project by co-writing the song and singing, Milt The Talking Musky. Roger Westley from Clymer, NY, contributed original drawings and co-wrote the content for the 51 page coloring book, which is a pdf file available as a free download and can be printed from the web site.  Within the coloring book’s pages are 228 Sight Words woven through the storyline (that begins with a brother and sister fishing from their dock) so children can color and read and color and learn all those Sight Words while having fun coloring.

Using Milt engages several of the senses in teaching these all important Sight Words. Children visually see the words on the screen and printed in the coloring book and hear those same Sight Words spoken and sung, and then finally touch and bring them to life by coloring. Combined, is showing to be an extremely effective learning tool and method.

So Why Musky?

Peter Wiemer believes musky hit a chord with youngsters. They are a top predatory fish and force to be reckoned with in any waterbody they reside in.  They breed confidence!  Additionally the live specimens displayed in the video within the underwater aquarium at the local hatchery were simply mesmerizing for young children. Of course you combine that reality with the animated character of Milt the Talking Musky along with his song, coloring book and fun story, and you have a winner.

It wasn’t until 2017 however that Peter realized that there is an important correlation between Autism and the benefit an Aquarium has on these young children. Simply put aquariums with fish have a very soothing nature for many of us but watching fish swim around the aquarium has an especially calming effect on children with autism.

Milt the Talking Musky listed on “Autism Speaks” web site under Video Tools & DVDs.

Milt The Talking Musky has earned several accolades over the years including one of the Top 101 Educational Websites Guide released October 11th, 2011 by bestselling author and CEO of Pat Wyman

Milt the Talking Musky can be purchased on iTunes & Amazon for $2.99 USD or on a DVD for $ 15 + $ 5 USPS First Class Mail or Blu Ray for $20 + $5 USPS First Class Mail (USA only) (+ $20 mail for Canada). To order yours for a young childthat may benefit or an educator who could use Milt to help reach children under their care, please visit: 

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Wil Wegman is an award winning outdoor writer and fishing seminar host from Ontario, Canada. In 2017 he was inducted into the Canadian Angler Hall of Fame as well as recipient of the National Recreational Fisheries Award and the Rick Morgan Professional Conservation Award. Wil’s articles have been published in many American publications (including ODU Magazine) as well as most Canadian outdoor magazines.