No fish fights harder or has a more ferocious appetite then a Musky, which is the nickname for Muskellunge. These fish can reach great sizes. In 1994, the MNR started stocking Musky in our water system. Now these Musky are in the 20 pound range and still growing.
Even though the stocked Musky are in the 20 pound range and the most common Musky caught, a natural Musky population does exists and these older fish can potentially be over 55 inches and reach weights of 40 pounds.
Many of our guests who are Musky hunters commonly catch monster pike, which is also a hard fighting fish. Pike can also reach great sizes. Northern Pike in our area are very common so you will catch more Pike than Musky. The important thing is you are catching fish and having fun.
Vance's Resort recommends that you follow the Catch and Release guidelines at Musky's Canada to minimize trauma and to ensure a healthy Musky fishery for our children!
Special thanks to Ken Taggart, (Editor) of Musky Canada for great info & suggestions on how to display & hold Musky. For more great resources, check out www.Muskyscanada.ca
When Musky are feeding they are usually in 14' of water or shallower. In the heat of the summer they will go a little deeper to take a break from the sun or may go deep for short periods of time to attack schools of baitfish. How deep you fish depends on if you are trolling or casting.
Casting for Musky: Musky basically hit anything. A lot of anglers like to cast at lines of Wild Rice, Lily Pads, and Bulrushes with big spinner baits, rattle baits, Suicks, Dardevles, Mepps Musky Killers or Weedless Johnson Silver Minnows. If you spend a lot of time casting for bass then you most likely have built up the arm and chest strength to do this for a long period of time so it may be more enjoyable for you than most people. You need to pick the weed lines that face the open lake and are close to drop-offs. A Musky's behavior is not like a Northern Pike. They like the weeds but generally stay away from closed-in areas like the middle of narrows or the back of narrow weedy bays. The Musky like to be on weed lines that face the open lake or along a shore that faces the open lake. If you are fishing the shallows (1' to 5') and see that the bottom of the lake is black; it means there is too much decaying organic material on the bottom, which produces high amounts of nitrates and methane. The Musky prefer a bottom that is sandy or completely covered with weed growth. A more relaxing way of fishing for Musky is trolling.
Trolling for Musky: When you are trolling for Musky it's best to troll along weed beds, over shallow sandy plateaus far from shore (if available) or at the mouth of a river or narrows where fish migrate through. The points leading into bays are also good. Here at Vance's Resort most of the Musky are just off the mouth of the Spanish River Delta and facing the open water of the North Channel. Musky are hunters, not ambushers like Northern Pike. They generally don't stay in one place very long so covering ground and keeping close to spots where feeder-fish will be present or migrating will increase your luck.
The best trolling speed is between 3 and 5 mph. You can troll faster and still hit Musky but if you talk to professional Musky fishing charters they will fish in the 3 to 5 mph range. Trolling fast is not necessary.
You do not have to go out and buy gigantic tuna rods and gigantic lures. You will catch Musky with big lures but will catch many more using the same size lures that you would use for Bass or Walleye. Small to medium size Believers or Swimwizzes, J-11 or J-13 Rapalas as well as 3" to 5" Thundersticks all work well. Spinning lures generally are not good to use when trolling because they will twist your line. Line twisting can be eliminated with extremely high quality steel leaders with barrel swivels but with all the stores filling their shelves with cheap products made over seas it's easier to not using spinners when trolling. There are many people on the Internet that make custom Musky lures (also commonly called Musky Plugs) so if you see something that catches your eye with a far out color then try it.
As far as colours Musky like Perch colour/pattern the very best and secondary colours that work well are Firetiger, Black-&-Silver, Blue-&-Silver, red, Walleye brown and neon orange. Rick Daniels, who is a professional Musky guide on the Kawartha Lakes, spay-paints all of his lures with neon orange paint. He says it's the most consistent color.