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Perhaps it is the primordial human hunter in each of us, perhaps its the thrill, or maybe just the anticipation. Whatever it is - there is nothing better then hunting a top-level predator. Muskies are a rare fish, and the trophies are rarer yet. It takes patience, skill, and understanding to land a lunker you can be proud of.

Understanding how muskies hunt down their prey is one of the more important elements in targeting the illusive muskellunge. Muskies are apex predators and they rely heavily on speed, focus, and ambush techniques to quell their appetites. A muskie will sit still for minutes on end, without motion, until they see a potential target - once spotted - they'll shoot forth with speeds in excess of 30 mph over short distances to snatch their meal. This brings us to point number one:


Don't slow down your lure on retrieve if you notice a muskie following

Muskie able to swim more then 30mph don't need your help to catch their food. Muskie also don't expect it - or find it natural. When was the last time a bait fish followed by a muskie actually slowed down to let himself get eaten? Instead - keep that lure coming in at the same speed, or even a little faster if desired. Try to put yourself in the mind of a baitfish - you'd probably scatter, jitter, and zig zag, going as fast as your little fins could take you. That's what a muskie expects, and that's what will make him bite what he thinks is legitimate food.


Try to understand how seasons effects the muskies hunt

Spring time is when muskies are coming off the long cold winter and have lost much of their winter weight. Muskies tend to hunt the shallow weed beds and structure in the spring and early summer. Into mid summer with warming water temperatures, muskies often retreat to larger deeper waters where oxygen levels are higher and the water is cooler. However, early mornings and evenings will find many muskies visiting shallower waters for feeding. Into early fall, late august and september, can be a confusing time fishing for muskie. Much of this questionable period is due to the "water turnover". At this time - warmer waters cool and drop - and what were the cooler waters below rise. This process causes the water to get dirty and can be tough fishing. Smaller, slower, and tight to cover is how you want to fish this time. October and November represent what most muskie anglers call "prime time". Muskie are putting on weight and looking for loads of energy before the ice covers the water. Slower and bigger baits are what the muskie are looking for. Working a sucker here is great too.


Weather can be a factor

Many weather patterns can contribute to muskie action. Clear days, overcast, stormy, snowy, foggy days, all can play a part, however none of these issues can't be overcome by switching lures, colors, and depths for the most part. One of the primary questions that all muskie fishermen want to know is how to handle the cold fronts.

After a front has come through - it seems as though all fish have gone on strike. It's a simple pattern to follow really, insects and flies aren't as active, baitfish aren't as high in the water column, and muskies are usually harder to locate for most fishermen. Unfortunately for most of these muskie fishermen, they aren't finding the muskies because they're still looking in the same places they fish before fronts push through. Muskies will generally move to one or two locations after a front. Thick slop shallow weed cover or suspended in open water. The first spot to try if your lake has it - is the heavy slop weed cover. Thick patches of shallow cabbage or coontail beds or any thick weed cover spots. If your lake doesn't have these thick weed options, try open water. To get to the fish in the thick slop, try using baits that you can control in and around the presented avenues through the weeds. Suicks, Bobbies, and Burts work well here but a spinnerbait can work just as well. To get to the fish in suspended open water find structure such as a weed hump or rocks and take a few casts outward from there. Use deep divers and plastics and cast long. Covering a large amount of water and multiple depths is the key to finding these fish. Once you see some action - concentrate on that depth and mix up the lures until you find what's working.