It holds true – you can catch big muskies at any time of year – nevertheless, autumn is a good time for the majority of anglers and is the duration where the most severe trophy hunters endeavor out looking for old esox.
As the water begins to cool and the pleasure boaters slowly begin saving their boats for winter, muskies can be found scattered in both deep and shallow waters. Here are a few tricks to assist you boat a muskie this fall.
Where to Catch Fall Muskies
- Open Water – Although numerous brand-new muskie anglers constantly associate muskies to weeds, these fish do roam in much deeper water. Keep in mind though that even if the water is deep, does not ensure that the fish will be on the bottom. These open water fish can be captured using a range of methods, from trolling crankbaits, casting jerkbaits, or jigging big plastics. When in deeper water I like to look for shoals, reefs and drop offs.
- Weeds – Many anglers fish the exact same method year-round. You can often call fish in shallow water, even in the fall. Keep away from old dying weedbeds and areas that do not have oxygen, which makes if tough for fish to live there. Green weeds are the secret to shallow water fall muskie fishing. Fresh weeds are a hiding location for bait, and muskies will not be too far away. Weedbeds that are also located in close distance to deep water are prime areas for the shallow water angler.
- River/Creek Mouths – I have yet to discover a lake or river system that didn’t have excellent muskie fishing in and around a creek or river mouth. Try fishing a color modification in the water, where stained water meets clearer water. If there is one, the fish will often be holding nearby. Some baitfish spawn in creeks during the fall and loads of food means loads of muskies.
- Rocky Points – Rocks can be really underrated when it comes to structure. Rocky points can become fish magnets, especially during the fall, and muskies will use them as ambush points as they feed actively on bait such as ciscos.
While muskies are typically caught in summertime holding areas, likelarge weed flats in shallow water, I prefer to fish in much deeper water. I position my boat in shallow water and cast the reverse of what I would in the summer. I like to work the entire water column as muskies will cruise open water in look for food. They can be caught just below the surface, suspended mid-depth and near the bottom, so a variety of lures and techniques are needed to determine where they are and what they want to eat.
Larger is much better when it comes to fall muskies. Diehard anglers use lures in excess of 15″. Utilizing big lures requires the proper tackle to ensure effective angling and to make particular you are not going to lose a lure to a fish. I prefer to use 100-lb braided line with a long 130-lb fluorocarbon leader. When fishing for muskies it is necessary to have your release tools all set and available. Two sets of long needle-nose pliers, hook cutters, and jaw spreaders are needed in addition to a big muskie-sized landing internet. Have your electronic camera ready and keep the fish in the water till you are ready to take a quick photo. Although muskies have a reputation for being among the meanest freshwater fish, they actually are a vulnerable species and require proper handling to ensure a safe release.
- Weighted Jerkbaits – A staple in fall muskie angling. Jerkbaits – especially those with additional weight – are a mainstay. With a long pull and a slow recover, these lures act like a dying baitfish and muskies will frequently hit them on the pause. I like to play with my baits and include extra weight to them by drilling holes in the bottom and gluing them in. This assists the lures suspend longer and stay in the strike zone for an extended period of time. Favorites consist of the reliable Suick, Double D, Sledge and the Hellhound.
- Soft Plastics – My preferred way to fish in the fall and there is no wrong way to fish them. You can let these lures struck the bottom and gradually reel them back or work them erratically to the boat. My favorite soft plastic baits are Musky Development’s Bulldawg, Big Joe, Medussa and Red October Tubes.
- Crankbaits – There is no much better way to fish much deeper water or to target fish cruising around schools of bait than to look like the forage they are going after. Later on in the season it’s time to put away the smaller sized baits and use big minnow baits. My favorite crankbaits consist of the Legend Plow and Perchbait, Jake’s and Believers.
Summer season muskie anglers cast and troll quickly. A basic rule to think about for landing fall muskie is to keep in mind that as the water temperature levels drop, so need to your retrieval or trolling speed. In summer season I have captured muskies trolling with speeds over 6 Miles Per Hour and in late-fall (Late November-December) trolling around 2 MPH appears to be the ticket.