Early season muskies can be a challenge, but can still produce some of the best fishing of the year. Here are a couple tips to get you started chasing some early season esox. Choose your water wisely. Find the warm water. Think erratic.
I usually start my season on darker water and smaller lakes. These types of systems typically get fired up faster which makes them a good choice for starting your season. Darker water lakes will generally warm up faster making the muskies spawn sooner and start feeding sooner. Now this is a general rule! There are years when the clear water and larger systems can get going good by the opener. This is especially true in warmer than normal springs.
Finding the warmest water can be very important. I am always paying attention to my temp gauge this time of year. Even a couple degree difference can be significant in finding actively feeding muskies. No matter what type of system you choose to fish pay attention to finding the warmest water. Shallow bays, shallow flats, northern exposed shorelines, and anywhere streams, creeks, or rivers are entering can be slightly warmer. Spend lots of time in these areas.
In general I throw a lot of erratic lures during early season. Muskies can often be lethargic this time of year, especially following the spawn. Try to trigger reaction strikes by throwing smaller jerk baits, glide baits, and twitch baits. Some of my favorites for starting the season include Squirrelly hellhounds, Hellpuppies, 6” Phantom Softtails, and 5” Slammers. Just remember to work these baits erratically with lots of pauses. Once the water warms to the mid 60’s we start to mix in some Rabid Squirrel and Jack Rabbit spinners, TopRaiders and Fat Bastards, and bigger rubber like Magnum Bulldawgs. Good luck this season and get started early!!
To learn more about Steve Genson and his Guide Service click HERE.
To listen to Steve on the Back Lash Podcast click HERE.
This week on the podcast the 3 of us talk about boats. We had a few people interested in some lesser talked about topics so we will discuss those topics in a few podcasts. We plan to return next week with a special guest but will pick this up another week. In this podcast we compare and contrast fiberglass and aluminum boats. We also talk about things to consider when fishing in the front or back of the boat. Look for new episodes of Back Lash Podcast every Wednesday. If you need gear for the new year visit Team Rhino Outdoors (www.teamrhinooutdoors.com) and Musky Mayhem Tackle (www.muskymayhemtackle.com)
I'll let the video do the work so here it goes...
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This year seems to consist of baits that are smaller or bigger than their predecessors and the 22 Long is no different. This bait is about 2" bigger than the 22 short which came out 2 yrs ago. The deep diving lip gets this bait down to places not many crankbaits this size can reach. The 22 Long has super loud rattles to really get this bait noticed. A great addition to the angler who likes to cast and troll. Check out the video below to see this bait in action.
These 10" Deep Minnows and 10" Deep Shads are perfect for fall fishing. Slammer Tackle baits are built from solid plastic with through wire construction and will last many seasons. Available now in 6 exclusive TRO custom colors. Find everything from Slammer Tackle by clicking HERE.
Find the running depths for many Slammer Tackle Cranks below.
We are always trying to expand our lineup and give musky anglers what they need and want to help put more and bigger fish in the net. We recently add a few new products and colors from Drifter Tackle to the website. Now available in exclusive Team Rhino Outdoors custom colors are the 10" Straight Believers, 10" Hell Hounds, 12" Super Believers, and 9" Super Believers. We also added new colors in the 20" Squirrely Jake and 12" Super Stalker. Those are all great products to help you have more success musky fishing this fall. Good Luck on the water.
We asked Kevin Pischke with Lay in a Line Guide Service (1) What is something you do off the water to help catch more fish? and (2) When your on the water and not contacting muskies what is 1 change you'll make. Below you'll the answers to these questions.
If you’re not contacting fish on the water what’s the one adjustment you make?
Where are the fish in relationship to the area / structure you are fishing? If it’s a spot that regularly holds and produces fish I’ll change my boat position before I do anything else. Has something like wind, current, sun, clouds, bait location or boat traffic caused them to change their position? Do I need to work the deepest edge off of a weed bed because high blue skis have pushed them deep? Do I need to cast parallel to a weed edge or rock bar because a wind driven current has them positioned in a different direction nosed into the current? Do I need to get up tight in the weeds or on a bar because heavy boat pressure has pushed fish into the areas? Maybe it’s as simple as the fish have seen baits being retrieved in the same manner all day and by working it deep to shallow versus shallow to deep is the simple change that will initiate a strike.
What is something you do off the water to help you succeed
Maintain and organize fishing records.
I keep detailed records of my fishing and on my off time I will compile that data to track day to day fishing and also trends and results drawn out over a season. This can also be taken a step further to compare trends over several seasons. This helps you fine tune your fishing efforts to specific weather, season, and regional patterns. A good example would be tracking a change in fish behavior for a season with slow warming water temperatures that inhibited weed growth on a body of water that fish are heavily weed related because of a lack of other types of structure. A simpler day to day example of records would be how a certain direction wind affects the fish on a specific body of water.