The Northwest Angle is one of the best parts of Lake of the Woods to target muskie. Anglers routinely have multi-fish days and catch very large muskie in these waters. You can target muskie in Minnesota and Canadian waters, however, the fishing is usually better across the border in Canada.
Catch Lots of Muskie
It isn’t easy to catch a muskie, but in the Northwest Angle, it is definitely not as difficult. It is not uncommon to hear of boats catching 4 or 5 muskie in a day of fishing on this part of the lake. There are still plenty of anglers who get skunked while muskie fishing here, but there are a lot of anglers who have some of their best days ever targeting muskie.
Catch Big Muskie
The Northwest Angle doesn’t just put up good numbers of muskie, but there are plenty of very big fish here too. Fish up to and above 50 inches are common here all season long.
Fishing the Bays
There are a lot of bays here with vegetation that will hold muskie all season. Anglers can head into Canadian waters and you have some very nice bays to target muskie.
Fishing the Drop-offs
Muskie love holding in deeper water near some type of shallow water cover or structure. Whether it’s a point, an island, a reef or just a deep shoreline, targeting muskie along these drop-offs is a good pattern to fish in the summer and fall. You have plenty of drop-offs to fish on the Minnesota and Canadian side of the lake, but if you take a look at the map, you will see all the islands to fish here. You can target the drop-offs around these islands and catch muskie all season long.
Fishing the Points
All types of fish will be on the points in this area and muskie will be found here too. You’ll have to head over into Canadian waters to find more points to fish. Target the ones with some vegetation, rocks and some nice drop-offs and you’ll find some muskie.
Fishing the Islands
There are some islands to fish on the Minnesota side of the lake and tons of islands on the Canadian side. Muskie will relate to these islands all summer and fall. Find some vegetation, rocks and drop-offs and you’re likely to find some muskie.
Fishing the Reefs
Some muskie will move out onto the reefs in the middle of the summer. Find the reefs that are home to lots of walleye and smallmouth bass and you may find some big muskie too.
Fishing the Weeds
Muskie love vegetation and there is plenty of vegetation here in the bays. Fish the deeper weed edges in the summer and fall and you’ll find some muskie.
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.
Muskie fishing is outstanding in the northwest angle area. Many anglers believe this area offers the best muskie fishing on the Minnesota side of Lake of the Woods. You can also fish the Canadian waters from this area too. The northwest angle gives you more protection from the wind than the south shore, so you can get out and target these big fish even on windy days. Muskie in the mid to upper 40 inch range are fairly common and fish up to and above 50 inches are caught on this part of the lake every year.
Learn More About Muskie
Our muskie section is huge with information on the best live baits, lures, where to catch them and how to catch them. Visit our muskie page to learn more.