Because most bodies of water don’t hold a large population of muskie, it can be quite a challenge to catch a muskie. The good muskie lakes may only have one muskie for every 5 to 10 acres of water, so don’t expect to go out and catch several muskie every time out. On some days, catching 1 fish would be a great day.
In most muskie lakes, there will be a variety of shoreline cover mixed in with some deep water in main part of the lake. Some of the bigger muskie prefer the deeper water, but you can also find muskie around shallow water cover. Muskie will be found along steep drop-offs, near weed lines, around wood and roaming in open water.
Fish the Weeds
Muskie love weeds and will often be found on the deeper weed edges.
Fish the Wood
Muskie prefer wood to other types of cover. Areas that have large fallen trees along a steep-sloping shoreline provide some of the best opportunities for muskie.
Fish the Rocks
The rocks will hold smallmouth bass and walleye as well as other fish. Muskie can often be found roaming these areas in search of an easy meal. The deeper water around these rocky areas will usually be best.
Fish the Deeper Shorelines
The deeper shorelines give muskie easy access to shallow water to grab a quick meal, but then a quick retreat into deeper water. These shorelines will almost always out produce shallow, gradual sloping shorelines.
Fish the Offshore Structure
When muskie go deep, find structure. The structure will usually hold other species of fish such as smallmouth bass and walleye, which will then attract muskie that are looking for an easy meal.
Troll to Cover Water
Covering water is key to finding more fish and when the bite is tough, you may have to cover a lot of water. Slow troll with live bait or speed it up with a variety of lures and you should be able to find more fish, which should help you get more bites.
Jig the Deeper Water
If you can find a few deep water spots that hold fish, it is tough to beat a jig in these situations. Jig with soft plastics or a jigging spoon and you should pick up some muskie.
Open Water Muskie
In the summer, you can often find muskie just roaming the deeper water out in the open along the thermocline. Finding the thermocline will help you know where to start, but it can be quite difficult to find muskie when they are in the open. Most anglers will troll for them out in open water. Keep your lures around the thermocline and watch your electronics. When you find the bait balls, make a couple passes around these bait balls. You will usually see some muskie around these bait balls.
Break Out the Topwater Lures
Seeing a 40 to 50 inch muskie blow up on a topwater lure can be awesome. Fish them around weeds, rocks and wood in the shallow to mid depth ranges. They won’t be as effective over deep water.
There are a lot of action lakes spread throughout the northern Wisconsin, Minnesota and in Canada. These lakes are usually smaller lakes with less than 1,000 acres of water with a lot of shallow water. There may be some deeper water, but on these lakes, you are going to have plenty of water to fish in the 8 to 15 foot range. You will usually find a higher population of smaller muskies in these lakes. You can break out your bass gear on many of these lakes and have a blast catching muskie.