When I’m on the water, I dream of past Muskie encounters. It’s usually about this time, when my rod stops abruptly, and I begin to feel a massive headshake. Muskies are known to be rare. So rare, that many believe they are the fish of 1,000 casts. Over the summer of 2011, me and a few fellow fishing partners proved this case to be false. Let’s discuss how to target this species and establish patterns throughout the heat of summer.
Generally speaking, Esox Masquinongy (Natural Muskellunge) are most active during mid-summer nights and at daybreak. However for us, we found some noteworthy recommendations regarding our findings on a mid-day summer bite. I was able to really get on a pattern this summer, working out in what I like to call “bay-space”. When I say “bay-space” I am talking about finding deep water around 20-25ft, localized in large bay areas. These bay areas are the warmest water areas in most lakes; and warm water triggers big Muskies to strike. Once you localize these deep bay areas, use your trolling motor and literally work all of the deepest water in the bay. Start on the drops, then troll all the way across the whole stretch of deep water and hit the other side of the drop-off. A good way to fish through areas with warm and deep areas is to slow your presentations down, as well as work your baits through the middle depths of the water column. In figure 2, one of the most successful deep water Muskie baits is shown. These baits are best worked with a subtle jerk-pause motion imitating a wounded bait fish. In figure three, I have constructed a diagram on how to successfully work “bay-space” with your trolling motor.
I truly believe that a Muskie roughly sees someone’s fishing lure at least once a week, especially in lakes with high user rates. With this being said, it is important to be on the water during peak feeding times. I turned the same fish 6 times this year. I then brought my friend Austin Vig (member of the Professional Muskie Tournament Trail) out to the location of this fish. It was about his fifth cast that this fish struck a large purple spinner bait (Figure 4). This proves another key point regarding Muskie fishing at any time of the year; never be afraid to throw the most bizarre bait in your box because sometimes these fish just want something they have never seen before.
Now, with these crucial components of mid-summer muskies, I hope that you try some of these techniques. I am here to help and share my knowledge, passion, and love for fishing. So get out there and pursue the elusive Muskie; because time spent on the water, is time well spent.
Remember, in order to follow a pattern, you must first establish one. My job is to help you establish that pattern. Just a few final words: Let’s keep these majestic fish around for future generations. Release every Muskie you catch. Record the length and girth, and you can have an artist make you a life-like replica! This way you can be proud to say, “Yup, she’s still out there swimming.”
Love where we live and be thankful for the greatness of our remaining underwater ecosystems,