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How to fish for Muskellunge

The Muskellunge is Canada's largest freshwater fish next to sturgeons. It is a member of the pike family. The Muskellunge is found in the fresh waters of eastern North America. The preferred habitat of the Muskellunge is warm, heavily vegetated lakes, stumpy, weedy bays, and slow, heavily vegetated rivers. Muskellunge are solitary, sedentary fish lurking in the vegetation or near stumps. Typically Muskellunge move little, other than to dart swiftly after prey. Very large Muskellunge are often found in less vegetated water to a depth of 50 feet. Muskellunge feed mainly on fish such as perches, suckers, larger minnow species, mooneyes, catfish and sunfish.
Muskie fishing can be done by trolling or casting lures at the edge of Muskellunge holding areas. Both methods can be done with a medium-heavy 6 to 7 foot fishing rod with a matched up baitcasting reel spooled with 20 to 25 lb test braided dacron mainline. The reel should have a retrieve ratio of at least 5:1, because the lure is usually retrieved as fast as the angler can crank. At the end of your mainline tie on a heavy snap swivel and to the snap swivel attach an 18 inch 80 lb test wire leader. A steel leader is essential because Muskellunge have razor sharp teeth and many sharp bones around their mouth and jaws that can cut or fray the line while you are fighting the fish.
When fishing for Muskellunge, crank-baits, spinner-baits and jerk-baits are the type of lures used. Crank baits can be trolled or cast, they are diving lures that when retrieved quickly dive to a 10 to 12 foot depth. Muskie crank baits should be large, 7 to 10 inches, and up to 2 1/2 oz. The colors of these lures should be matched to the baitfish in the area. 
Spinner-baits consist of a metal spinner, either in a single or tandem configuration, followed by a series of weights that are attached to either one or two treble hooks that are partially hidden with hair or soft plastic body dressings. They come in many colors and patterns. The spinner acts as a fish attractor and is usually highly polished or finished in a fluorescent paint. The hook-hair portion of the lure serves as the body, and they are dyed in dull colors that simulate natural food items. Spinner-baits can also be trolled or cast. The method used for fishing with these lures is similar to those with crank-baits, except spinner-baits sink and the retrieve must be delayed for enough time to allow the lure to achieve the correct fishing depth. 
Jerk-baits are only used for casting. They are made of wood and imitate a bait-fish that has been injured and is distressed. The lure naturally floats until it is retrieved, then it dives sharply and darts from side to side. Jerk-baits come in a variety of colors and styles. These lures are best fished in shallower water as they do not dive deep. These lures are rapidly retrieved in a zig-zag motion jerking the lure as it is retrieved.
A variety of lures that have been productive for Muskellunge are Blue Fox Vibrax Musky Twin Turbo Spinners, Bass Pro Shops XPS Musky Bucktail Spinners, Baby Shallow Raider Musky Hardbait, Chrome Depth Raider Musky Crankbaits, Harvo Jointed Musky Lures, Jointed Depth Raider Musky Hardbait, Mepps Musky Marabou Inline Spinnerbaits, Musky Mania Burt Jerkbaits, Suick Original Musky Thriller Jerkbaits, and the Shallow Raider Musky Hardbaits. Most of these can be ordered online from Bass Pro.


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