Early Season Muskie Locations
Jun 19th, 2007 by OutdoorsFIRST
Modified Jun 19th, 2007 at 12:00 AM
Mike’s Extreme Guide Servicehttp://[email protected] waters: Pewaukee LakeEarly Season Locations to me in Southeastern Wisconsin is spawning areas. I look to find post spawn muskies just outside of the actual spawning areas and in them. The first weeds that are outside of known spawning areas are key areas. This also applies to rivers or current areas where muskies move up into in spring and then come back out. Muskies will move around the weeds for food and cover. The weeds will hold everything they need at this time. Bluegills are on the way in to spawn, bass will be coming in soon with the gills, crappies just got done, and minnows are everywhere. This is the perfect place for the tired muskies to hang out and rest up while all the food is close. While we are on the weed subject I want to also point out that certain weeds are better than others. Cabbage is the best in my opinion. Green weeds are second even if they are just milfoil. Rocks and gravel mixed in with green weeds is huge. North shore areas seem to get a jump start with green weeds over Southern shorelines but every lake is not the same. Key in on spawning areas on any lake and work out from there. Most muskies will not head out to deeper water without hanging around the food and cover for a while. Take advantage of this early Season Location while you can just like I have been for years.Josh [email protected]: (612) 508-2759Waters guided: Lake Vermillion, Lake Mille Lacs and the Minneapolis/St. Paul Metro area lakesIf the early season water temperatures are less than 60 degrees, my focusis usually on finding and fishing the warmest pockets of water I can find. Here’s a laundry list of some of my favorite early season locations that tend to hold the warmest water: A. Shallow Bays with a dark bottom (If in Canada fish the “blue” water bays on the map) B. North end bays (warm up faster) C. Creek or Stream Outlets D. Coontail or any weed breaking the surface (cabbage toppers are great as well) E. Dead Brown weeds don’t necessarily bother me (On a cold spring the dead brown weeds will hold heat and also hold fish despite what you may read elsewhere) F. Any structural elements (such as logs or rocks) adjacent to spawning sites G. Wood Can be good too (especially during cold springs in which weed growth is behind) H. On Canadian Shield Lakes I like rock walls way in the back of a shallow bay. Some Other Notes from Josh: A. If the water is 60 degrees or warmer, the night bite can be good on opening day. B. I generally fishing depths between 0 and15 ft in general during the early season. C. Don’t rule out the open water. Several of the lakes I guide on offer a good open water bite with the fish stacking high in the water column. D. Nice fresh green weed growth (especially cabbage) should always be investigated. Norm Wild Jr.Wild’s Musky Guide Servicewww.wildmusky.com In northern Wisconsin, with so many lakes to chose from, lake choice isnearly as important as location in the first couple weeks of the season. Insome years, especially if it has been a cool spring, lake choice can make orbreak your outings. The first thing I look for is darker water. Theselakes will warm up faster and kick start the whole ecosystem. The secondthing I want in the spring is some moving water, so I am usually off to oneof the many “chains” that I fish in Oneida county. These chains or flowages are less affected by cold fronts and maintain water temperature better than a natural lake. The last factors, probably the least important, are depth and size of the lakes. I prefer a smaller shallower lake early in the season, again resulting in warmer water. As everyone knows, weeds are a sure bet in the spring. Even in the earliest stages of the game however, I am still hitting the edges first, and I always start out on the deep edge. I am a firm believer that the bigger female fish spawn and nearly immediately move to their summer haunts, therefore, I am immediately checking the deeper edges. This has resulted in a higher average size for my boat in the early season, as opposed to catching the smaller males that will hang around the spawning areas. Another area I really like is the upcurrent end of neckdowns, such as the channel between two lakes on a chain or a thouroughfare. If these neckdowns have weeds or timber they are almost automatic. Points leading out of spawning areas are another must fish early on, and once again combine this structure with any weeds timber or rock and we will be taking pictures soon.Howie Meyerhttp://www.sevenislandsguideservice.comWaters Fished: Lakes surrounding the Presque Isle, WI. Area.I like to against the grain early in the season and point the boat right out into the middle of the big clear lakes of northern Vilas county.Its been my opinion and experience that many of the largest fish in the system will be out there at ANY given time.I dont downsize my lure selection,but will work the baits slower and work them over shallower rock bars and open water.If the above noted pattern is not producing I’ll head for one of my “Black-Lagoons”,smaller lakes off the beaten track that contain and have produced big fish in the past.These fish typically dont see a lot of pressure throughout the season.I’ll look for Inletting warm water areas and new weeds.I love tossing minnow type baits worked slowly and reaper tail type jigs on the “lagoons” early in the season.Both of these type of lakes have produced 30# fish for my clients in past seasons so I’m not about to give it up any time soon.HC “Howie Meyer Seven Islands Guide Service Presque Isle Wisconsin.Larry Ramsell Web site: www.larryramsell.com email: [email protected] Central and Northwestern Wisconsin lakes and rivers primarily in the Hayward/Park Falls area. Lake Vermilion in Minnesota.What types of locations are you hitting EARLY in your muskie season, regardless of when YOUR seasonal opener actually occurs? A) For the opener(s) where I fish (Michigan, Wisconsin and Ontario) I first target the spawning areas. Openers are set to begin after muskies have spawned, however in many instances spawning can overlap the opening of the season. If I don’t find them there, then I will move to the first available structure adjacent to the spawning areas and progressively work my way towards the main basin of the lake if necessary. If I’m on a Flowage lake, I will start in the shallow, mucky back bays on the north shores of the lake. On natural, sandy bottom type lakes I target the early weed growth from the break edge towards the shallows. For Canadian shield lakes I look for the darkest water in the system (which warms the quickest) and if present, target down trees along the rocky shoreline. Many of this type of lake is weed free for the most part, so the trees become their areas of choice. Have fun and good luck…Larry Ramsell, Muskie Guide in NW Wisconsin and Lake Vermilion, MinnesotaAl NuttyKinkaid Lake Guide [email protected] matter where you fish, start out your early season trip by looking for the warmest water temperatures you can find…since fish are cold-blooded creatures, they are drawn toward these areas like a magnet, (as are the baitfish they feed on!) This is usually along the northern shores of the lake, for most of our weather patterns have predominantly southwest winds, which pushes the warmer surface waters toward these areas.Shallow bays warm the fastest, (less water volume in them,) and a sunny day over the dark bottoms really absorb the heat from the sun. Look for any submerged cover (stumps, fallen logs, or active weedbeds) as these items provide ambush points from which the muskies can attack their prey.Then consider the water clarity…in relatively clear water (where the muskies are able to feed visually) I favor natural baitfish colored twitch minnows. If the water is more stained, switch to a lure with more color and sound (spinner blades or rattles) but in either case, don’t overspeed your lure…remember that the water temps aren’t that high yet, and this makes the fish less aggressive. Make your bait look like an easily captured target, and you’ll do a lot better than if you burn your lure back to the boat!I also keep in mind there the channel runs in relation to these northern bays, for some of the best early spring areas aren’t very far from the main channel running through the area. If you have a large, extensive flat between the shallow shoreline areas and channel, consider trolling it with shallow running lures, making large, serpentine turns to cover as much of this ‘featureless’ water as you can.Finally, keep a couple of other things in mind. Many times, even in the extreme early season period, you’ll hear (or see) a musky feeding on the surface…topwaters will work during this period, but not if you work them too fast or aggressive…stay alert, and look for any sign of activity around you…it may be but a swirl, or baitfish jumping, or you may hear the fish as it strikes near the surface…take your time, and check it out!!Corey MeyerEmail: [email protected] I fish: Chippewa FlowageFishing the Chippewa Flowage early season for me is from Memorial Day weekend thru about the next two weeks. Regardless of the spring weather we have had I always start to look for fish in the spawning areas first. When I say spawning areas I am looking for small bays and feeder creeks with warmer water than the main lake. Some of the bays are no larger than a standard two car garage and the really good ones will have areas in them with water depths of 8-12 feet deep. These areas are where I will concentrate my angling for opening weekend.For the weeks following opening weekend I will venture out to points and flats immediately adjacent to the spawning areas as well as some main lake bars that have new emergent weeds, but all the time I am still going back and fishing the original spawning areas mentioned in the first paragraph.