Muskellunge, or musky (muskie), are populous in many northern lakes, including larger bodies of water. Preferring colder temperatures and clear waters, musky (Esox) lurk around weeds and floating plants in wait of their prey.
Resembling northern pike with its features and behaviour, muskies are known as the “bad boy” of the waters. They will eat almost anything, as long as it fits in their toothy mouth. They are known to eat frogs, other fish, water snakes, muskrats, and even baby and small waterfowl, like ducks and loons. Due to their predatory behaviour, muskies are one of the more difficult fish to catch.
With their large size, many sport anglers covet a large musky, and will go for days trying to reel in a trophy. However, muskies are smart — some, for instance, will follow bait over and over again before deciding to eat.
As their size lends more power than their cousins, the northern pike, muskies will put up long fights, sometimes resulting in above-water aerobatics. In order to haul in a huge musky, large lures are essential — topwater, buck tails and soft plastics are common. An average sized lure falls between eight and 26 inches. Large tackle with a heavy line, rod and reel is also encouraged. A high quality leader should also be used to prevent bite-offs. With average sizes between 20 and 30 pounds, it’s important to have good gear. If you’re after a record-breaking fish, you’ll have to reel in 65 pounds or more!
To promote survival and a sustainable population, more musky anglers opt for catch and release strategies.