Catch Monster Muskies With These 10 Muskie Fishing Tips

Muskie Fishing Tips Overview

Muskie Fishing Tips

Want to know the ins and outs of catching monster muskies? Look no further I have compiled a list of the top 10 muskie fishing tips that will bring home those monster muskellunge you’re dying to wrestle with! These are proven techniques that many an angler have tested and tried and have enjoyed an abundance of muskie throughout the fishing season.

Tip 1 –  Weather Conditions

Weather conditions play a vital role in where you are going to be fishing for these monster muskies. When you have a cloudy, rainy, and windy day you will find muskies hanging around rock structures. The Muskies will be found in shallow water as well the more the wind picks up.  But be careful when you fish close to rock structures on windy days. You don’t want your boat smashing into the rocks.

When the weather is calm and sunny, you will find the muskies in the weed beds and sandy areas. Muskies like the weedy areas because they can go undetected when they are searching for prey. And the weeds give off oxygen.

Tip 2 – Crankbaits Work Best When The Weather Turns Cold

This tip is more for fall fishing for muskie. Crankbaits work the best when the weather turns cold. This is because crankbaits smack against the rock structures and ride over the weed cover creating a flash that muskies love. The muskies are staying down deeper in the colder weather, and a crankbait can sink to the deeper areas that your other musky baits will not. So the muskie can’t resist a lure right in front of them. They will strike it with a vengeance!

Tip 3 – Set Your Hook Properly

Setting your hook may seem obvious, but with muskies, it’s critical that you set the hook in their mouths; otherwise, you will lose many of them. You need to set the hook deep and make sure you are ready when the muskellunge strikes because he is going to strike hard! Hook setting for muskie should be practiced before going out on the lake so that you will be ready when the time comes. No second chances when that monster muskie hits the end of your line. It’s due or die time!

Tip 4 – Master The Use Of Bucktail Lures

If you want to catch that trophy monster muskie then you have to learn how to use bucktails effectively. Bucktails are a pretty simple and straightforward lure to fish with, but there are some tricks that you can use to make those muskies go wild for them.

Bucktail jigs work well for muskie fishing because of the realistic hair on them that moves well and realistically in the water. Muskies love this movement of the hair, and it attracts them like nothing else. When a muskie latches on to a bucktail the hair compacts down revealing the hook, now you can have a clean hookset without anything getting in the way.

Here are a few practical ways to present your bucktail.

  1. Rip Jigging – Cast your bucktail and let it sink to the bottom. After that rip it forward before you let it drop to the bottom again.
  2. Work The Jig Along The Bottom – In this technique, you let the bucktail hit bottom and, then you reel the jig bouncing and grinding on the bottom of the lake.
  3. Fish The Bucktail Like a Jerkbait – Here you want to jerk your rod which darts the bucktail along its path in the water.
  4. Fish Them Vertically –  With this presentation technique, you can try different movements of your rod. Try shaking and jerking your rod. You will know when you got the right actions because those monster muskies will let you know by attacking your bucktail.

Try different speeds when you are retrieving the bucktail and when you find the right retrieval speed for the area you are stick with that speed. This will all depend on if the muskies are feeling aggressive or not on that particular day and lake.

Tip #5 – Catch ‘em Before The Storm

Stormy Weather

One of the best times to catch the monster muskies is right before a storm is about to hit. For some reason, muskies get aggressive when the weather changes. So anytime there is a major weather change is an ideal time to catch these monsters of freshwater!

Tip 6 – Use Figure 8

The figure 8 method works well for muskie fishing because muskies will follow their prey for a while before they decide to take action on that prey. To do this cast your line out. When the lure starts getting close to the boat put the tip of your rod in the water. Make wide sweeps in a figure 8 style, and if there is a muskie following your lure, this will intrigue him to strike your lure. Make sure these figure 8 turns are wide because muskies are a big fish and won’t be able to follow small figure 8 turns.

Also, if the muskie is in an aggressive state following close by your boat, you will want to increase your speed of figure 8. But if the muskie is not aggressive slow down the speed.

Tip 7 – Drop Offs and Open Water

In the early spring right after or during the melting period of the ice you will want to find the areas where the muskies are going to spawn. After you have found those areas which would be in the low water flats, you will want to fish for the muskies close to these areas. They will be down in the deeper areas so, focus on fishing drop-offs and open waters that are close to the spawning areas.

You will find muskie there because they know they will be spawning soon but the water where they need to go and spawn is still too cold. But the water down deeper is warmer, and that’s where they will hang out waiting for the spring spawn.

The lures that work best at this time of the fishing season are crankbaits, swimbaits, and bucktail jigs. When fishing the bucktail jig at this time of year, you will want to focus on vertical jigging. There will be many muskies in when you find the right area and your chances are good that you will snag a monster out of the bunch!

Tip 8 – Summer Muskie Fishing

Summer Muskie Fishing

Fishing for muskies in the summer can be a frustrating adventure especially if it is sweltering. Muskies won’t feed when it is hot out. So to remedy this fish only in the early morning hours before the sun comes up or during the evening. These times of day will give you the best chance at catching muskies in the summer months. Avoid fishing muskies midday if at all possible during the summer unless it is a cool summer day.

Tip 9 – Autumn Muskie Fishing

When fishing for muskie in the autumn, you will find them in more shallow areas. Focus you fishing in the autumn around weed beds and the edges of weeds. The later in autumn that you go the shallower the muskies will go. Get your bucktail jigs out this time of year. The muskies will eat them up. But keep your speeds of retrieval of the bucktails at a regular pace not over aggressively fishing them.

Tip 10 – Use Long Rods

Long Fishing Rod

Your back will thank you if you use a long fishing rod when fishing for muskies. The use of the long rod is because you are casting big heavy baits usually when you are muskie fishing. The shorter your rod, the harder on your back and shoulders will be.

Also, using a long rod will help when you are doing your figure 8 method. The figure 8 method was explained in tip #6. The longer rod enables you to make those broader sweeps. Broader sweeps are key when you are doing the figure 8 way. The long rod should be heavy to a heavy X action rod, and when you are using baits that are in pounds in weight, you will want to upgrade to a heavy XX.

Muskie Fishing Tips Conclusion

Now that I have provided you with 10 muskie fishing tips that will help you catch those monster muskies you will want to go out and make use of these tips in the field. I’m confident if you use these 10 tips regularly while you are muskie fishing you will bring in your fair share of monster muskies!

To recap:

  • Be aware of the weather conditions.
  • Crankbaits work best when the weather turns cold.
  • Set Your Hook Properly.
  • Master The Use Of Bucktail Lures.
  • Catch ‘em Before The Storm.
  • Use The Figure 8 Method
  • Fish drop-offs and open-waters in the early spring before the spawn.
  • Go after muskies in the evenings or early mornings in the summer season.
  • Fish shallow weed bed areas in the autumn.
  • Use a long rod.

If you have any questions or comments, please leave them in the comments section below. I hope you find this article useful and as always Happy Fishing!

Cory is a content writer-editor and founder of Tackle Box Talk. Favorite Quote: "Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime."

12 thoughts on “Catch Monster Muskies With These 10 Muskie Fishing Tips”

  1. Hi Cory

    I did not know that the weather had such an important role on my fishing experience. My dad liked to fish in the Fall and one thing he did show me is how to fish the shallow weed bed areas. Very good tips and come Fall I will be putting them to good use. I especially like how you made a list to remember at the bottom. Easy to copy to my notes. Thank you

    • Your welcome. Lists are great tools to remember all the key points. I hope you catch a monster muskie with these muskie fishing tips! Happy Fishing!

  2. The monster muskies are really big catches. Must weigh a lot! I will love to catch this size of muskies, but on a second thought, I’m not sure I can deal with the size. You advised fishing before the storm hits, what happens if we get caught up in the middle of the storm? Wouldn’t this be a dangerous practice? I guess it’s true what they say, “no guts, no glory”

    • It can be dangerous just make sure you get your boat off the water before the storm gets full blown and if you see lightning keep off the lake!

  3. I’ve gone fishing here in Michigan quite a few times, but I’ve never even heard of a “muskie”. I’m gonna have to look into this fish!

    I’ve also never used a bucktail jig. MAN… do I have a lot to learn!! lol

    It’s curious, how they get so active before a storm. I wonder how they can tell? Are you a “fish-whisperer”?? Can you ask??!   😉

    Guess I need to get a “long rod” besides my standard one if I want to learn how to catch these guys. Time to check “Bass Pro Shop”, I guess, for their spring sale.  😉

    Thanks for this tutorial, Cory! I’m givin’ ya a shout over Lake Michigan!!  LOL

    • Great to hear from ya TJ. Muskies are not the easiest fish in the world to catch but when you do get one on the end of your line you will have the time of your life trying to get these monsters in the boat! I hear ya from Wisconsin! Good luck in your muskie fishing efforts. I hope these tips help you catch a big one!

  4. Hey there! Very interesting read. I never even thought that the weather would play a big role in where the muskies would be hanging out under the water. Also I like how you explained the techniques for using the bucktail lure. I see that having a long rod will help with making the figure 8 for the muskies, and it will also make it easier to pull the fish in. Personally, I’m not that strong so I’m a little worried about being able to hold on to a long rod and a giant fish. Are there any rods that might be easier for a small person to use?

    • I would still use the longer rod even if you are a smaller type of person. Having a good fishing net would be a good idea to make it easier to get that muskie in the boat once you get it close.

  5. So, with the figure 8 method, do you do it horizontally, or would you suggest adding a little bit of vertical movement in there as well?  I mean, if I dipped the end of my rod in a little deeper into the water?  Or does it really matter, as long as I get that large figure 8 in there?   I think I’ll be trying that bucktail lure.  The different styles in presenting it looked like something I could handle.   Thank you!!!!

    • Try the figure 8 method both horizontally and vertically. You never know how those muskies might like the movement of your lure. If you can get a couple of muskies following the lure stick with whatever way you got them to follow it. Muskies are a tough creature to predict to when you find something that works for the lake your in I would stay with that strategy if it brings you good results.

  6. I live by a small stream that holds lots of musky,what do you recommend as a few good lures to catch them in a stream .is it best to search the slower moving water? New to fishing for them especially in such a stream! Thanks would appreciate any tips you can throw my way!

    • Hey Scott, Try the Rotating Spinner Rattle Tail. It’s a topwater swimbait. You might find some luck with that lure. If your small stream fishing for muskie I would recommend focusing on the calm areas of the stream and use the figure 8 method that I described in the article. You would be amazed at the effectiveness that the figure 8 method has on catching muskies. Good luck on catching those monster muskies! Let me know how it works out for you.


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