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Fishing for muskie in cold waters could mean your fishing deep in deep lakes (if so click here to see the deep lakes page) but usually it means your fishing for cold water muskie in the later seasons, from mid October to Ice over. This is also known by most muskie fishermen as "prime-time" when the muskie are the hungriest and hunting the most to fatten their bellies before the ice comes.

There are three general methods for fishing these colder waters but we'll be focusing on only two primarily. The method we won't be discussing is the live bait method - usually sucker fishing. This live bait muskie fishing method is covered in greater depth on our Muskie live bait page. The first of the methods we'll be covering is trolling.

cold water muskie spots

Trolling for cold water muskie:

Trolling can be an effective and efficient way to find muskie in colder waters. It is only available as an option though on select waters due to regulations or because some lakes just can't be trolled successfully on account of snags, depths, and obstacles in the muskie spots. For those lakes that can be successfully trolled you'll want to focus on a few ideal areas in the cold late season waters. 15 to 30 feet is a great depth to start at and try working the edges of the primary "lake center" or deeper portion of the lake. This is where many muskie moving to colder waters will be traveling and looking for a meal. After you've outlined this primary area focus on the structural elements along with the funnel points where muskie and their prey are forced to move together. Deeper diving muskie crankbaits are a good option at this time and bigger is "usually" better. 8 to 10 inches should serve you well here.

Cold water muskie casting:

The second option when fishing muskie in cold water is casting. A favorite of many muskie fishermen at this point is slow moving spinnerbaits. Work these in similar areas such as off deeper shoreline edges and weediness and off lake humps and structure. If you've come across a warmer day during this season and after the water temperatures have cooled off - a nice top water or a Suick or similar can serve you will in the shallows and off flats as can the standard bucktail. Slower, larger baits tend to work better and attract more muskie at this time of the year.

Towards the very end of the season the muskie are deeper, colder, and slower but there are ways to catch them. A popular and effective technique is using a heavy-headed jig and plastic while working the depths of 20, 30, and even 40 feet. Try to spot the muskie on a fish finder if you can and then jig those plastics right down in front of their teeth. Use jerks and controlled decants to gain some attention.