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3 Useful Tips for Fall Muskie Fishing
When tracking down the fish of 10,000 casts, anglers generally hit the water during three seasons: Spring, Summer, and Fall.
While the bite is always exciting (if not frequent), many agree that muskie are at their predatory-finest during the Fall months. Much like crappie fishing is arguably at its apex between September-November, muskie fishing is also an incredibly popular pastime in the final few months of the year.
While we could write an entire chapter on the specific techniques, presentations, tackle, etc. that you might want to consider for Fall muskie fishing, for the sake of this article, we are going to narrow it down to three useful tips that will hopefully help you land a massive freshwater king as the weather cools down.
Bigger Isn’t Always Better: Reduce Your Lure Size for Fall Muskie Fishing
There is often an impulse to grab the biggest freshwater lures on the market when fishing for muskie — yes, we’re looking at you, Tackle Industries Super D Swimbaits Magnum!
While this may work some of the time, it’s better to play it a bit more conservatively during the autumn months. That means leaving your 16″, 14″, and maybe even your 10″ lures in the tackle box.
When fishing for muskie, however, there is a bit of a sweet spot you need to strike — you don’t want to throw something so big that a muskie won’t hit it, but you also don’t want to throw something so small that every bass and saugeye in the area will take a crack at it, either.
Whether you are casting or trolling, consider using a sizeable-but-not-enormous lure. Natural fish colors, or a combination of purples, whites, green/pumpkins, and earthy/browns in the 5 to 8 inch range are usually a safe bet when fall fishing.
So, what lures should I use to catch muskie in the Fall?
Our suggestions for some of the best baits for Fall muskie fishing include:
- Bagley Monster Shad
- ERC Hell Hound Jerkbait
- Musky Innovations Swimmin’ Dawg (8″ Crappie)
- Musky Mania Jake Deadly Naked Crankbaits (6″ or 10″)
- Musky Armor Krisco Jr. Crankbait
- Tackle Industries Super Cisco Musky Crankbaits
Slow and Steady: Mind Your Speed When Fishing for Muskie in Fall
When fishing for muskie during any season, anglers tend to follow two tried-and-true approaches: casting and trolling.
For Fall muskie fishing, you’ll want to mind your speed. As muskie are preparing for the cold winter, they will accrue some added fat to their otherwise muscular bodies. This might be great for your scale if you’re looking to land a trophy fish, but think about your own body when you pack on some extra pounds.
You’re slower, a little more lethargic, and a bit more inclined to take it easy. Granted, you probably still like a hearty meal, but you’re more inclined to grab a pizza, fast food, or even delivery instead of cooking an elaborate dish during your more hefty times.
In some ways, muskie are very similar. They are still aggressive predators during colder months, but try not to make them work too hard for their next meal.
If you are trolling for fall muskie, consider moving at a rate between 1 and 3 mph, adjusting for the particular conditions of any given day. If casting for muskie in the fall, work a slow and steady retrieval.
Track Down Your Vegetation
We’re not going to say that you need fancy electronics to catch muskie in the fall.
That said, it is definitely important to have some idea of what’s in the water.
Much like it does on land, vegetation — which plays home to countless schools of bait and prey fish — dies off during the colder months of the year. Even if you’ve been having success on a shallow weed bed during Spring and Summer, there’s a high likelihood that your spot will be fairly ineffective come late November or early December.
Most modern electronics (fish finders) will have a side-scan option that will allow you to see if there is still vegetation around. The deeper (within reason), the better, as the foliage may has a better chance of surviving the colder weather.