How to Fish for Musky in Minnesota

How to Fish for Musky in Minnesota
Muskies are known by their nickname, "The Fish of 10,000 Casts," but they are nevertheless one of the most sought game fish species in Minnesota. Muskies are one of the largest fish in Minnesota -- they can grow to more than 50 pounds and 50 inches -- and, when they want to be, one of the most aggressive. Still, catching a musky is considered an accomplishment.


Difficulty: Moderately Challenging

Things You’ll Need:
  • Fishing rod and reel
  • 20-pound test or stronger fishing line
  • Musky lures
Step 1
Make sure you are fishing in a lake that has muskies in it. You can ask at a local bait shop, or check the website of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Click on the "Lake Finder" button and type in the name of the lake you are fishing, or the name of the word "musky" in the "Species" search function.
Step 2
Consider that muskies do not stay in the same place all year. When the musky season in Minnesota opens in early June, most muskies will be recovering from spawning and hanging out in the warm, shallow water around vegetation. As the water warms and summer goes on, muskies move to deeper water where forage species are found. Places to look throughout the summer are weedlines, structures like reefs and humps in the main part of the lake, as well as around areas where the bottom drops off. In the fall, which is one of the best times to catch a trophy musky in Minnesota, rocky areas and quick-dropping breaklines become key areas.
Step 3
Fish during prime times. Muskies are most active when the light is low, so dawn and dusk are good times to target them. Some anglers who catch good numbers of large muskies also fish at night, when there are fewer boats on the lake and less pressure on muskies.
Step 4
Troll around the lake. Casting is the most popular strategy for catching muskies, but trolling large baits like crankbaits can be the most effective, since trolling allows anglers to cover large amounts of water in search of active fish. Weed edges and drop-offs are good places to try trolling.
Step 5
Keep track of where you see muskies. These fish are known for following baits without actually striking them. As a result, fishermen often have the chance to see the fish without actually hooking it. But keep in mind that muskies tend to remain in the same areas for multiple days or weeks, so when you see a musky, you know where it lives. Continue going back to that spot and casting baits to it. Sooner or later, you probably will catch -- or at least have the opportunity to catch -- the fish.

Tips & Warnings

Be patient. Some anglers only catch a few muskies a year -- even when they are targeting them -- so if you don't catch a musky after a few hours, do not get down.
Make sure to use heavy-action rods and reels, along with line that is at least 20-pound test.
Make sure you have the proper fishing license.

Article Written By Larry Anderson

Larry Anderson has been a freelance writer since 2000. He has covered a wide variety of topics, from golf and baseball to hunting and fishing. His work has appeared in numerous print and online publications, including "Fargo Forum" newspaper. Anderson holds a Bachelor of Arts in print journalism from Concordia College.

The Latest from the Community