How to Fish for Muskie

How to Fish for MuskieFishing for muskellunge, or muskie as they're called by fishermen, is a fun and challenging way to spend a morning or sunset. One of the fastest freshwater fish, muskie are typically found in man-made lakes. Simply casting out your line can result in a winning catch, but the more successful method is usually trolling with appropriate lures and rod. You can also increase your odds by studying up on a topographical map and looking for specific drop-offs in weedy areas.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

How to:

Things You’ll Need:
  • Fishing rod
  • Lures
  • Boat
  • Topographic map
Step 1
Fish for muskie between daybreak and an hour and a half after sunset, and again about an hour before sunset. Plan your fishing trip between mid-July and mid-September when the weather hovers between the mid-60s and mid-80s. You can also find muskie in shallow waters in early spring.
Step 2
Access a topographic map of the lake you're visiting (see Resources). Look for 8 to 20-foot contours and drop-offs and fish in the area for foraging muskie. Weedy areas and brush are prime spots for muskie fishing.
Step 3
Fish with a medium to large rod and reel to support heavier muskie. According to Iowa DNR Fish and Fishing, "...most muskie fishermen prefer is a heavy duty graphite model bait-casting rod, from 5 to 5 1/2 feet in length, fitted with a matched and balanced reel that has a star-drag brake."
Step 4
Use spinnerbaits, jerbaits, or medium-sized crankbaits to attract muskie. Rub your lures down with a little fish to disguise any human scent or other contamination.
Step 5
Keep your boat moving slowly and troll lines 70 to 80 yards from your boat. Muskie probably won't come near your boat with the sound of the engine running. Moving slowly and keeping your lines farther out will improve your chances for a catch.
Step 6
Before pulling your lure in from the water, make a figure-eight formation. A muskie following your line might strike from the change in speed and direction.
Step 7
Pull the muskie out of the water and support its body weight to avoid injury to its internal organs. You can also practice catch and release by grabbing the muskie behind the gills and removing the hook with pliers. Keep the body of the muskie in the water to avoid trauma and injury.

Tips & Warnings

Practice catch and release fishing for smaller muskies that are not mortally injured.

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