Catching Muskellunge Throughout the Year
Use a slow, stealthy approach. Muskie are spooked easily while in shallow water. Focus on shallow points or flats with developing weeds adjacent to break lines in coves/bays, areas of the main-lake just outside coves/bays, and near inlets. A slower presentation may be more effective in early spring along with small to medium sized muskie lures/baits. Cast shallow diving crank baits/minnow baits, jerk baits, spoons, or jigs to specific targets such as clumps of emerging weeds or rock piles, over/along structure, or across flats with developing weeds. In late spring, faster presentations with buck tails or spinner baits can be used as waters warm.
During summer, try a faster retrieve to cover more water. Larger lures may be more productive such as large buck tails, spinner baits, jerkbaits, crank baits, and soft plastics. Top water lures can be very effective in low-light conditions. Areas to target include weed lines, weedy/rocky points and inside bends, ledges of drop-offs, and weedy flats adjacent to drop-offs. Diving style jerk baits are very good for covering weedy flats as they can be steered around weed clumps and driven down into open pockets. Spinner baits and weedless spoons are good options for the thickest weeds. Be sure to stay at/above the thermocline if one has developed
Try a slower retrieve as water temperatures drop. Use the largest baits of the year to match the size of forage. Focus on deeper/steeper main-lake points and inside bends, drop-offs, and mid-depth flats with remnant green vegetation adjacent to drop-offs. Large weighted jerk baits, buck tails, crank baits, plastic swim baits, jigs, and spinner baits are good options. Cast over/along structure or to specific targets such as clumps of green vegetation. Sharp inside bends in drop-offs can be worked most effectively with a vertical presentation such as jigging large soft-plastic tubes or with large suckers on quick-strike rigs. Flats can be worked by positioning the boat out past the drop-off, fan casting to the flat, and working the bait back over the ledge and down the drop-off.