Muskie Fishing Tips

Muskie Fishing TipsMuskie fishing requires tactics most anglers are unfamiliar with. A member of the pike family, these fish are notable for their enormous size, power and aggressiveness. Endemic to lakes and rivers in the northern United States and Canada, muskellunge, as they are officially known, commonly dine on other fish, frogs, birds and crayfish, among others. Difficult to lure, muskie often leave anglers frustrated. With a few tips, however, you may be lucky enough to hook one of these impressive giants.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Set Up

Step 1
Choose a medium to heavy casting rod that is between 7 and 8 feet long. Opt for a large-spooled bait-casting reel instead of a spinning reel. Consider this heavier-duty tackle to ensure less work for yourself and less harm to the fish.
Step 2
Spool your reel using a durable braided line. Choose 25-pound line as an absolute minimum, and use an 80-pound line when seeking larger catches.
Step 3
Use a wire leader. This is a must, as a muskie bite will easily snap any other material. Choose a flexible titanium leader for best results, as they do not bend like steel leaders do.
Step 4
Avoid standard hooks. These are routinely straightened by these powerful fish. Use hook sizes of 1/0 or 2/0 for smaller fish, and 3/0 to 6/0 for larger muskie.
Step 5
Seek water from two to six feet deep in areas where shoreline weeds give way to empty soft-bottom areas.
Step 6
Retrieve your line slowly after casting. Pull the line quickly at a 45-degree angle when the lure is within 10 feet of the boat. Allow the lure to settle for a moment before guiding the lure in a figure eight pattern to further entice a curious fish.


Step 1
Monitor boat speed closely while trolling. Keep your speed between three to six miles per hour in general. Maintain a higher boat speed if larger fish are your priority.
Step 2
Release 10 to 50 feet of line, depending on the water depth.
Step 3
Choose lures based on weed distribution and water depth, not desired catch size. Do not assume that larger muskie can only be hooked in deeper areas.
Step 4
Pick smaller lures. For example, use 4- to 5-inch Thundersticks or Rapalas, as well as Bucktail jigs, to avoid tangles in shallow areas of dense growth. Select larger lures for open water, such as Lucky Strike Wooden Muskie Plugs, Believers or Willy Lures.

Tips & Warnings

Use a fish finder to determine bottom topography if fishing in an unfamiliar area.
This fish reproduces very slowly. Overfishing may negatively impact muskie fish populations. As a result, catch-and-release practices are encouraged.

Article Written By Mike Biscoe

Mike Biscoe has been writing since 2009. Focusing on travel, sports and entertainment topics, he has credits in various online publications including LIVESTRONG.COM and Trails. He often writes articles covering uncommon travel destinations from firsthand experience. Biscoe holds a Certificate of Completion in acting from the Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts.

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