The Brainerd Lakes area offers muskie fishing on a variety of lakes, but the major muskie lakes that are close to Brainerd are Leech Lake & Mille Lacs Lake. There are some smaller lakes to fish that do produce muskie, but Mille Lacs Lake may be your best bet. Mille Lacs Lake has a good population of muskie and there are plenty of trophy fish available in the 50 inch range. The area lakes that do offer some muskie fishing are Shamineau Lake, Cedar Lake and Lake Alexander.
Cedar Lake is a large, complex lake located in western Aitkin County approximately 3 miles west of Aitkin. There is a state owned public access with a concrete ramp located on the South side of the lake off of County Road 28. This Lake is comprised of seven basins that vary in size from several hundred acres to less than 40 acres. Anglers target walleye on this lake even though, walleye aren’t very abundant in this lake. Northern pike are here in good numbers and this lake has a muskie population with some big fish approaching 50 inches. Other fish include largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie and perch.
Using Leaders for Muskie
Muskie have some serious teeth. Use quality steel leaders to avoid bite-offs. If you are fishing clear water, you may need to go with a fluorocarbon leader to get bit. Most anglers will not go any lighter than 100 lb. fluorocarbon for muskie and don’t be shocked if you lose a big fish due to a bite-off. Some anglers go as heavy as 140 to 150 pound fluorocarbon. Ideally, you want to be as stealthy as you can so you can get more bites, but if you go too light with the fluorocarbon, you risk losing fish and possibly killing some big fish due to the lures getting stuck in their mouths.
Best Baits for Muskie
There are many types of baits to target muskie. Anglers don’t have as many options when using live baits since many of the fish that muskie eat can not be used as bait. Suckers and big chubs are usually the best options for most anglers that want to use live bait. For artificial lures, there are a variety of big baits to throw. Most anglers fish with bucktail spinners, some type of swimbait, topwater lure or jerkbait when chasing muskie.
There aren’t too many different rigs for muskie fishing because you only have so many options for throwing some of the gigantic baits needed. Also, most anglers use lures for muskie or big sucker minnows, so you really don’t need too many rigs to target muskie. However, there are still several rigs you should know about, especially if you are going to be using live bait.
Our muskie fishing section has tons of tips on the best lures, live baits, where to catch them and how to catch them.