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Musky and Musky Fishing Lures

Musky picture

The fish of ten thousand casts. The thrill of a lifetime. The Musky is one of the harder freshwater fish to catch, but may be the most rewarding. Musky fishing can be a passion for those lucky enough to have them in local waters. Not for the faint of heart, leave your ultralight at home, tie on a heavy leader, and watch out!

Recommended Musky Fishing Lures

Topwater Fishing Lures
  • Rattlin Dog  - a 4 1/2" long "Walk the Dog" Topwater Lure
    Crankbait Fishing Lures

  • Bent Neck Diver  - a 5 1/2" deeper diving crankbait fishing lure
  • Chunky Minnow  - a 5" minnow crankbait fishing lure

    Habitat and Identification : The Musky is found generally in the Great Lakes Basin, although some distribution occurs in other areas. For example, Musky have moved into the Saint John River in New Brunswick in recent years. The natural range of Musky is from Tennesee through mid-Ontario, and east to west from New York to Minnesota. Musky can grow to over 50" long and over 50 pounds, with the world record being 69 pounds. 3 distinct color phases exist - spotted, barred, and clear (no markings). Musky can also cross with Northern Pike, so trying to distinguish Musky from Pike can be difficult. The tail fork for Musky is deeply forked, while those of Pike are more rounded. As well, Musky have 6 or more pores on the bottom of their jaw, and only the top part of their cheeks are scales, while Pike have 5 or fewer pores and fully scaled cheeks. Musky and Pike like similar habitat, generally weedy, more shallow areas.

    It is generally thought that in areas with Northern Pike, that Musky will move to slightly deeper water. Interestingly, the largest Musky seem to be found in waters where Pike are also present. Generally, Musky prefer larger lakes that have both deep and shallow areas, and large beds of acquatic plants. They can withstand a large temperature range, but generally like cooler water (below 80 degrees). Musky will lurk around stumps, rocky ledges, or hide out under broad leave vegetation, waiting to capture prey as it moves past. Musky generally eat fish, although they can be opportunistic and eat muskrats, ducks, mice and frogs if available.

    Biology : Musky spawn when the water temperature rises to between 50 and 60 degrees. They move to shallow bays with mud bottoms covered with dead vegetation. The male and female swim side by side for several hundred yards of shoreline simultaneously shedding eggs and milt. Spawning can last for several days. Once spawning is complete, the mature fish leave the area, the eggs left to hatch by themselves, and the young to fend for themselves. The eggs hatch after 2 weeks, and the young Musky grow quickly, up to 12 inches by fall. They continue to grow quickly in the first five years of their life, spawning at approximately 5 years of age. After 5 years of age, growth slows. They can reach up to 30 years old in rare circumstances.

    Musky Fishing Tips : Musky are not dainty fish, and they want a meal, not a snack. They will lurk around weed edges, drop offs, sand bars, and shady areas close to shore. They like lures with lots of action, so lures are best worked quickly. Hook set should be immediate. Some anglers like very large spinners, while other like large crankbaits or topwater lures, depending on the conditions. Your gear should be heavy - 20+ pound line, wire leaders, heavy rods and reels, and in particular, heavy hooks.

    Due to their slow and long growth, catch and release fishing is strongly encouraged to keep stocks strong. A word of caution about eating large Musky - they are at the top of the food chain, and contaminents tend to concentrate in them, making catch and release even more advisable.

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