Which Lures Are the Best Muskie & Northern Pike Catchers?

Which Lures Are the Best Muskie & Northern Pike Catchers?Muskies and northern pike sit atop the freshwater food chain. These aggressive fish grow large and attack a variety of species of prey. Anglers cast big lures for these big predators. The muskie and northern pike tackle industry is a small niche market. Mom-and-pop tackle companies sell their wares in local bait shops in pike and muskie country.


Bucktails are in-line spinners with a clump of deer or squirrel tail that undulates in the water. The spinner's flash and vibration calls in fish and entices strikes. Bucktails may be weighted with a built-in piece of lead for extra casting distance. They come with one or two treble hooks. The spinner's resistance in the water and the deer tail's natural buoyancy make bucktails run shallow. Examples include the Mepps Musky Killer, Musky Mayhem Double Cowgirl and the Blue Fox Vibrax.



Like bucktails, spinnerbaits feature a fish-attracting spinner, but spinnerbaits are bent at a 90-degree angle, unlike the inline bucktails. Anglers use spinnerbaits for bass, but they are equally effective on northern pike and muskies. They consist of a weighted lead head, a 90-degree spinner shaft, spinner blade and a plastic skirt. Fish spinnerbaits with a fast retrieve in shallow water. Examples include the Northland Reed-Runner, Meat & Potatoes Dinner Belle and the Lindy Big Fin.


Anglers have caught muskies and northern pike on spoons for generations. These lures are shaped like regular dinner spoons, minus the handle. They wobble slowly and flash enticingly like a wounded minnow. Thick, heavy spoons can be cast great distances and run very shallow. Thinner spoons are intended to run at higher speeds. Troll these spoons behind boats using downriggers, which take the lure down deep for suspended fish. Examples include the Eppinger Dardevle, Johnson Silver Minnow and the Len Thompson Five of Diamonds.


Jerkbaits are long, thin wooden or plastic lures shaped roughly like fish. They have no action on their own. The angler must impart action by jerking them through the water. When jerked, the lures dive, then pop back up to the surface like a dying minnow. Examples include the Suick, the Bobbie Bait and the Fudally Reef Hawg.

Prop Baits

Prop baits are wooden or plastic minnow-shaped baits that float. Propellers spin when the lure is retrieved. The lures often consist of two or more segments. Fixed blades cause the entire segment of the lure to spin in the water, rather than just a spinner blade. Prop baits create a lot of commotion and attract fish from great distances, especially when the water is calm. Examples include the Joe Bucher TopRaider, Mouldy's Topper Stopper and the LeLure Globe.


Crankbaits are minnow-shaped lures made of wood or plastic. The lip on the front of the lure causes them to dive. They can be cast or trolled and used in fairly deep water. Examples include the Joe Bucher DepthRaider, Bermek B1 and the Muskie Mania Jake.

Article Written By Joe Shead

Joe Shead is a freelance writer specializing in outdoor writing. He has written for numerous national and regional outdoor magazines on various topics from hunting to fishing to his pet subject, shed antler hunting.

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