For beginners at musky fishing
By: Bruce Bahlmann
I'd be the first to tell you, that there is always luck! However, for continued luck, skill and planning play an integral role in musky fishing. This particular article focuses on understanding lake maps and their importance placing you in the right location for boating musky.
Picking a Lake
For several years, one of my favorite places to fish for musky has been a twin cities staple musky lake (Bald Eagle Lake). Bald Eagle Lake has some of the best structure for musky fishing and its murky water offsets days when there is just too much sun - on top of that, it is so convenient that it is hard NOT to fish it for you could easily drive many miles to bigger lakes and often not have near as good of luck. Particularly mid-week, but we'll get to that later.
A good place to look for lakes is on Minnesota's DNR website. There they provide some great resources to find lakes that have average to above average musky populations. For example, here is what the website describes for Bald Eagle Lake:
While you might be turned off by the word "average", don't be fooled. This is a great musky fishing lake. The key is to study the lake's structure to guide your fishing as well as use other tips and tricks to increase your chances.
Contour Lines 101
When looking for musky, it is vital that you look for the following specific condition:
Note that most shorelines can meet this criteria and this is why many musky fishermen can be found trolling the shorelines for musky with decent success. However, the shoreline pales in comparison to finding these conditions out in the open water. If you look carefully at the Bald Eagle Lake map, you will see not one but two of these conditions on the lake.
In the northern half of the lake, you'll see this little bitty spot of 5 foot deep water surrounded by 10 foot water and then progressively deeper water. This is an awesome spot to encircle. Note that the shallow water allows you to burn bucktails across it or even top water. This is a prime example of finding a spot described above. However the spot isn't particularly big, but to cover thoroughly, you could spent upwards of an hour.
Similarly, in the southern part of the lake, you'll see a 5 foot depth spot with a much wider birth. In this particular case, notice how wide the 5 foot area is and how it has gentle slope down to 10 feet and then steeper slope down to 15 feet and then on down to 20 feet. This ends up being a huge area, and can take take an hour or two to fish thoroughly.
Lots of baits work on this particular section, but because it is a larger shallow spot, the later in the season it gets the more weeds you are going to see so top water or weedless lures become your friend here.
The biggest mistakes that a musky fisherman can make is fishing too shallow or too deep. The depth you want to aim for is 13 feet. Call this a magic depth as fishing from this depth provides the best chance for landing fish. So, whether you are fishing these hot spots or simply the shore line, keep your depth at 13 feet, and cast into the shallow water as well as occasionally parallel to the boat (along the contour lines). There are even some trolling motors that can follow contour lines and if you are lucky enough to be able to afford one of these, you can then set them up to keep your depth at 13 feet and then follow along the contour lines. Fishing in such an environment is what I call "money" because the trolling motor keeps you at the perfect depth for casting and increases your percentage chance for finding fish. Call it playing the percentages, as if you constantly do this, luck will have increasingly less to do with your landing fish.Can Midwest Musky help you or your Company? Contact Us
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