Hi Italo, I hope you are keeping well. I am writing you in hopes that you can guide me in the right direction when it comes to Muskie fishing. I have been out a few times this year and fished lakes from the upper Manitou in sunset country, all the way down to Lake St. Clair. So far I have been unsuccessful landing a Muskie. I am getting the odd follow and even with a figure 8 at the boat I can’t get them to strike. I have fished using lures from Bulldogs to crank baits, and top waters and buck tails/spinners still with no luck. . I am heading up to Buckhorn lake this coming weekend in hopes of redeeming myself. Should I be trolling the deeper water/drop offs or should I focus shallow? What type of lures should I use? What are typical trolling speeds? I am determined to learn the patterns and habits of the fish but I am having trouble finding good resources online. I have even subscribed to musky hunter magazine in hopes of learning about the species. Do you know of any other good resources or literature that I could utilize that will help me learn about about the muskellunge? I understand that fishing for the species can be challenging but any information would be greatly appreciated. I saw you down at the Niagara River in the spring, this is another fishery that I would love to learn about. I just recently purchased a big enough boat that will allow me to fish these larger bodies of water. just recently purchased a big enough boat that will allow me to fish these larger bodies of water. I am used to being in a small aluminum boat and focusing on mainly bass and pickerel. They are a lot of fun but the past couple years I have had the Muskie itch! Anyways, keep up the good work! I look forward to hearing from you. All the best. MarkPosted on October 15th, 2016
Hi Mark, Musky can be one of the most challenging freshwater fish species to be able to catch regularly. Firstly, they are usually loners, especially if they are larger fish. Secondly, they can patrol a large area and not always be in a feeding mood. Lastly, if they do feed on a larger meal, they can take a few days to digest which means they will not be that hungry and will often follow lures without striking. That’s why they are often referred to as, “the fish of a thousand casts”.
Buckhorn is one of my favorite lakes to target musky in the Kawartha’s. Challenge is that there is lot’s of shallow-water habitat to hold musky forage like small bass, panfish, coarse fish and walleye. I would recommend that you cover as much of the weedlines in the lake as possible “burning” (reeling in fast), musky bucktails in bright colors like chartreuse blade/body/bucktail just below the surface right over the thick weeds, and on the weed-edges. Inactive musky will often lay just below the surface in these weeds and are usually “woken-up” from resting by a loud bucktail whizzing by. If you see a follow or wake behind the bucktail don’t slow down, if anything speed-up, put your rod-tip in the water (to make your bucktail dive down a little), and anticipate doing an aggressive figure “8” as the lure and fish approaches the boat.
The Niagara is a totally different fishery. Both in the Lower and Upper River musky tend to feed on the structure/current breaks in open-water ranging form 15-25′ depths. Most anglers either jig these areas with large swimbaits like the Storm Live WildEye in the 4-6″ range, or the larger Lunker City SwimFish or Shaker with jigheads up to 1 1/2 oz in weight. Or, they troll using body-baits that dive down 20+ feet in the same areas….God bless you.