Tips for Early Season Muskie Fishing
By: Dan Johnson
Whether you are fishing the shallows or targeting open water, these tips will help you catch more early season muskie
Dreams of battling behemoth muskies often focus on warm-weather patterns of the summer peak and later. As a result, anglers may miss some fine action in the early season. From ice-out into the postspawn period, productive patterns extend from extreme shallows to open waters out over the abyss.
Where closed seasons protect spawning fish, early season typically begins after the spawn. But in states like Indiana, where stocking sustains populations and open season runs year-round, prespawn fish are fair game. The action can be intense despite the chilly conditions.
Half a decade ago, veteran Hoosier Guide Vince Weirick first shared with me his cold-cranking strategies for muskies cruising shallow flats at water temperatures of 32 to 46 degrees. Fan-casting 4- to 6-inch, neutrally buoyant minnowbaits, Weirick scored impressive catches on 774-acre Webster Lake, and his lead is still worth following for prespawn fish elsewhere.
Sweetened by emerging weedgrowth such as curly-leaf pondweed, 6-foot flats adjacent to breaks leading to deeper water are ideal. Where reservoir water levels limit vegetation, shallow coves and creek arms brushed with tributary inflows offer promise.
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