Big muskies rarely come easily. If you’re a novice muskie angler, or if you find yourself on unfamiliar waters, you need to formulate a plan.
“First,” says veteran muskie guide Billy Rosner, “talk to folks at the local bait shop, and try to get a good lake map. Ask for advice.”
In addition, says Rosner, the following tips can dramatically improve your odds of tangling with a trophy:
1. Search for the deeper weedlines in the lake. Throw lures along the edges, and over the top, of the weedbeds. Cabbage weeds and coontails are the most likely to harbor muskies.
2. Your best chances for success will be at first light in the morning and the last light of day.
3. Overcast days, especially with a light drizzle, can put muskies into attack mode.
4. Wind can be helpful, especially if it pushes baitfish into a certain bay or area. Muskies and pike will follow.
5. If a weather front is approaching, be sure to be on the water a few hours before it ar-rives. This can be a prime time.
6. When possible, fish during times when the moon is rising or setting.
7. Cast spinnerbaits (M/G spinners, Lindy’s Buck-A-Boo); topwater lures (Bucher’s Top-Raider, Medusa Globe, Mouldy’s Hawg Wobbler); and glide baits (Suick Musky Thriller, Phantom jerkbaits). Try bright colors on bright days, dark colors on dark days.
8. Remember to set the drag on your reel very tight. Even a “small” 40-inch muskie can peel line off your spool at an alarming rate.
Billy Rosner (www.vermilionguide.com) chases muskies in Minnesota’s Vermilion Lake.