The St. Lawrence River is known for its world class trophy muskie fishery. This river is home to a lot of muskie, however, they can be tough to catch for many anglers. The deep, clear waters give muskie a lot of places to hide and they will often be found in deeper water around schools of bait fish.
Catch Big Muskie
While these muskie may be tough to catch, there are some absolute giants that live here. Muskie up to and above 50 inches are common on the river, so don’t be shocked if you run into some huge muskie while fishing the St. Lawrence River.
Troll for Muskie
Most of the very successful muskie anglers on this river will usually be trolling for them. This allows them to cover more water and present their baits to more muskie. It is also a lot easier to get your baits down to the deeper depths and keep them in the zone longer by trolling. Look for schools of bait fish in areas with access to shallow water and a nice drop-off nearby. Big muskie will patrol these deeper areas and then if they need to move shallow to find an easy meal, they can co so very easily.
Fish During the Fall Months
Some of the best reports will usually come during the fall months. Lots of muskie will move up into shallower water as they follow bait fish to feed. Some of these huge fish that were out over 30 to 40 feet of water may now be available to anglers who like to cast around some of the more obvious cover and structure. Fish the points, islands and bays where you can find deeper weed lines and rocky bottoms too.
Use Fluorocarbon Leaders
With the clear waters, a fluorocarbon leader can make a huge difference.
Fish During Low Light Conditions
Some of the feeding windows for muskie are very short. The big muskie here have lived a long time and have seen so many different lures. The key to catching a lot of them is to get a big bait in front of them when they are feeding more aggressively. These low light periods of the day are the times when a lot of muskie will grab a big meal and then they are done eating. Fish during the early morning, late in the evening and on cloudy days to up your odds of catching a fish.
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.