Muskie can be found in many rivers. Deep, slow-moving rivers are more adequate for muskie. You won’t find too many muskie in smaller rivers the way you will with northern pike so your best bet is to target muskies in rivers that offer a good combination of deep water, cover, structure and good numbers of bait fish to help sustain a healthy population of muskie.
Muskie will usually be found in deeper water. Deeper pools near current are productive. Fish the river bends with some deeper water. At times, the main river channel can also be very effective. Current breaks formed by big boulders in deeper water are also productive.
Don’t Rule Out Shallow Water
While muskies will typically relate to the deeper stretches of the river, it is possible to catch them fairly shallow if there is a reason to be shallow. Look for shallow water cover or current breaks near deeper water. Muskie do like deeper water, but don’t be shocked if you find some muskie holding in only a few feet of water near some type of wood, weeds, rocks or a current break. Muskie are also commonly found in very shallow water in the current near dams and spillways.
Fish the Wood
Muskie love hanging around wood and most rivers have more wood than an angler could fish in a lifetime. Try to pick out the areas that have deep water access close to the wood. Fallen trees are much more productive than smaller pieces of timber and brush.
Fish the Dams & Spillways
Spillways and waterfalls will also attract muskies. You can find some big muskies ambushing bait fish in the tailwaters. Since most rivers have slightly stained water, big lures with lots of flash and vibration tend to work much better.
Fish the Weeds
If a river system has some weeds in it and there are some weeds close to deep water, you need to spend some time fishing these areas as well.
Fish the Bridges
The bridges will usually hold plenty of walleye and smallmouth bass and muskie love to eat both species of fish. Target the deeper water and the current breaks around the bridges and you may score big.