Musky (muskellunge) are oftentimes called the “fish of 10,000 casts” for good reason. They are elusive, oxygen-sensitive fish with razor sharp teeth and acute vision that sit at the top of the food chain in their respective bodies of water.
During the cooler spring months muskies spend most of their waking hours either eating or spawning. Muskies freely forage on shad, cisco, carp, suckers and any other oily, fatty fish, and full-grown adults can reach 4’ in length and over 30 pounds.
Ask any experienced angler and they’ll also tell you that no two musky lakes are created equal. For all these reasons, musky fishing can be adrenaline rush-producing challenge for even the most seasoned anglers.
But to hook big muskies, you’ll first need to invest in some top-quality fishing lures from trusted brands like Musky Armor and Reaction Strike.
Fishing for Muskies Takes Patience
When searching for monster muskies weather conditions and time of year are key factors. On cloudy, rainy, or windy days muskies tend to hang out around rock structures. The windier it is, the more likely the fish will be foraging in shallow water.
When the weather is sunny and calm, musky fishing is better in sandy areas and weed beds.
Right before a storm is also a great time to musky fish because they get more aggressive.
While the ice is melting during the early spring look for areas where muskies are spawning, for example in low flats. The muskies will be down deeper so fish in drop offs and open waters close to spawning areas.
The best musky lures during cooler months are swimbaits, crankbaits and bucktail jigs. In the summertime muskies won’t feed if it’s hot, so try fishing in the cooler early morning hours before sunup or at night.
In the fall, muskies can usually be found in shallower areas near weed beds. Crankbaits work best during the chilly autumn months because they smack against rocks and ride over the weed cover. As it gets colder muskies seek deeper water, so keep using crankbaits that sink down to where the fish are- encouraging impulse strikes from sluggish prey.
Musky Fishing Requires Catch-and-Release Equipment
Muskies can only be out of the water for a short period of time, so you’ll need this catch-and-release equipment in your boat:
- Musky-size jaw spreader
- High leverage bolt/hook cutters
- Needle-nosed pliers
- Musky bumper
- Large, sturdy net (will serve as an in-lake “live well”)
- Pair of Musky Armor release gloves
How to Fish for Muskies
Use swimbaits, crankbaits or spoons when musky fishing, along with a heavy-duty 8 1/2’ or longer musky rod, high-performance reel and 100-pound test braided fishing line. Something like a Magnum or Super Magnum fishing rod from the Bulldawg Hall of Fame Series will hold up well when battling monster muskies.
Once you’ve got your tackle ready to go and picked a location, try these fishing techniques:
Figure 8 pattern
When musky fishing with any type of lure, every cast should end with a “figure 8” pattern. That’s because muskies will oftentimes follow a potential meal without striking it. Cast out your line, and once the lure gets close to the boat, put the tip of your rod in the water and start making wide, figure 8 sweeps with it. When the fish strikes set your hook firmly in the back of its mouth.
When fishing for musky in shallow water a 5” or longer soft body swimbait with good side-to-side tail action and realistic markings will land monster fish when used with a “pull, pick up the slack, pull” retrieve.
When water temps dip below 60 degrees F. or rise above 70 degrees F. musky are sluggish and calm. Go with a smaller-sized, straight body crankbait that doesn’t vibrate much in the water. When the water is between 60 degrees and 70 degrees F. muskies are active and aggressive. Fishing with a larger, jointed-body crankbait that gives you lots of wobble works best.
Top-Selling Musky Lures
Hook monster muskies year-round with these angler-tested musky lures: