Every sport fisherman who has ever dropped a line in a Northwoods lake or stream has heard of the elusive Muskellunge fish. The Musky (for short) is rumored to require 10,000 casts to catch, even by some of the most experienced anglers. While spring and summer promise to be great Musky fishing seasons, many argue that fall is the best time to catch the big one.
With dropping temperatures, reduced boat traffic and increased saturation of prey fish on rock beds, you might find that fishing for Muskies in Minocqua in fall is exactly the recipe you needed to catch the ultimate trophy fish!
While I won't pretend to know the best tips and tricks to catching a Musky in our lakes up north, I did find some great information online that I have featured below.
While many abandon fishing at the first sign of fall, the "true" Musky hunter adds an extra layer of clothing and hops on the boat before the sun rises. Dropping outdoor temperatures indicate a change in fish behavior which, knowing this change, can lead to more successful fishing endevours.
Joe from Sportsman Guide has this to say, "A subtle drop in the amount of daylight along with cooler nights signals the arrival of the pre-turnover period. It has a strong effect on all fish including pike and muskies. Lighter, warmer surface waters begin to slowly mix with heavier, cooler waters beneath... All fish, sensing this seasonal adjustment, begin a migration to the shallows in part to avoid the suddenly unstable depths. Pike and muskies react exactly the same, following the vast majority of open-water fish into the shallows." (source)
Reduced Boat Traffic
Many tourists to the Minocqua, Wisconsin area visit during the summer months, but many Musky fishermen (and women) specifically plan their trip in the fall for a reason...everyone else is gone! What may be a crowded, community fishing spot in the summer becomes a prime, isolated area where anglers can enjoy a day on the water alone. The reduction of boat traffic also brings out more fish in certain areas as they settle into previously high traffic locations.
Increased Saturation Near Rock Beds
Kristine Fisher, on Gear Junkie, says, "More key areas for fall musky include rock and brush piles. Rock piles and reefs tend to retain heat during the cooler months and thus attract a variety of aquatic life. Brush piles also offer ambush points and attract smaller bait fish, making them ideal for fish looking to take advantage of narrowing windows to feed. Musky will also gravitate towards points, submerged islands, and other shallow water in search of warmer temps and prey." (source)
Just as we move slower come fall, so do Muskies. It is recommended to slow down your trolling speed to about half the usual speed in order to drag your bait at a speed closer to what the Muskies are likely to respond to.
Go Big or Go Home!
When it comes to bait, fall is a time to go big or go home! The bigger the bait, the bigger the Muskie to suck it up. While fishing for a trophy-sized Musky statistically takes more time and effort, the reward is beyond worth it. Try a large crankbait or jerkbait to entice the Musky with a flashy meal. If either of those aren't working, try a large plastic bait fish at depth and pop/jerk it towards the surface as you troll. These baits tend to be more life-like, drawing Muskies out of hiding for a munch!
With all these tips, you now have a better arsenal for catching your next Musky fish in the Northwoods this fall. However, never forget that this fish demands the highest level of patience and persistent, but once you experience the thrill of catching just one, you'll be hooked for a lifetime!
Have fun and give us a call at 715-356-7795 when your ready to plan your Musky fishing trip in Minocqua. Our cabins are spacious, fully-stocked and directly on Lake Minocqua, making them the ideal spot for Musky fishing this fall!