Leech Lake offers some very good fishing for muskie, although, it is often overlooked by most anglers that come here to fish for walleye. This is a big lake with a lot of different species of fish, so muskie have a lot of different options as far as their food source goes. You may find muskie around the weed beds, rock bars, in shallow water or very deep and there can be several different patterns going on at the same time on this lake. This can make a fishing trip to Leech Lake exciting and stressful at the same time because there are so many different areas to fish that can be productive.
Catch a Trophy Muskie
Guide reports and angler reports have been good over the last couple of years with lots of fish in the mid to upper 40 inch range and 50 inch fish are fairly common throughout the fishing season. Leech Lake has turned into a very solid big fish muskie fishery. You just have to put in the time to find these bigger fish on this huge body of water. Fall trips tend to be the most productive if you’re looking to catch a big muskie.
Fish the Bays
Leech Lake is huge and it does have several major bays. With the size of these bays, many of them fish kind of like smaller lakes. Depending on the bay, you may find a variety of things that may hold fish from weeds, rocks, nice drop-offs and large flats. The bays will hold fish year round, so you need to find where the smaller fish are located. In some of the bigger bays, you may find muskie roaming the open waters as they stay near schools of perch, walleye or other bait fish. Deeper weed edges, points and rocky bottoms are all good places to make some casts while searching for muskie.
Fish the Flats
There are some very large flats here in some of the bays and these flats will be home to walleye, perch, northern pike and other fish too. Muskie will move onto these flats to find an easy meal. You just may have to make a ton of casts or break out the trolling gear though to cover enough water to find an active muskie. If you can find schools of bait fish on the flats, fish those spots harder.
Fish the Offshore Structure
You have a couple islands here to fish and they are large enough to hold some good numbers of fish at times. Muskie will move into these areas to find an easy meal. Fish the drop-offs and you’ll have more success.
Leech Lake has plenty of shallow rock reefs that provide some good fishing for a variety of fish. Muskie will move into these areas as they search for walleye, perch and other bait fish to feed on.
Fish the Points
There are several points on Leech Lake and some of these large pieces of structure can hold a lot of fish depending on the time of year, which way the wind is blowing and where the large schools of bait fish are currently at when you are here fishing. Mix in a nice drop-off, a deeper weed edge or some rocks and you’ll have some better areas to fish around these points for muskie.
Fish the Weeds
Leech Lake has a lot of vegetation on it. For some anglers, they just target the weeds and they do well. Fish the weed edges, cabbage and reeds for a variety of fish. You may be fishing anywhere from 4 to 12 feet of water while targeting the weeds here from spring through fall.
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.