Seasonal Muskie Movements on Leech Lake
Mar 18th, 2002 by OutdoorsFIRST
Modified Mar 18th, 2002 at 12:00 AM
SpringThe Spawn, every member of the fish family has one thing in mind at this time of the year. Caution is thrown to the wind, food, safety and comfort are not important till this urge is satisfied. Go to the Minnesota DNR web site and request information they have gathered on spawning fish in Leech Lake. They will provide areas they have identified as spawning grounds. The DNR nets muskies and milks the eggs and sperm from the fish. The Leech Lake strain is used to stock many lakes.Muskies like most game fish will chill out for a time after the rigors of spawning. The males will become active first, with the females following suit a week or so later. Fish will set up in areas close to the spawning grounds. Look for emerging weeds, points and depth changes. I personally go to areas that are holding walleyes and perch near the spawning areas. The entire food chain will be operation at these prime spots. Schools of shiners will draw the larger game fish and the muskies won’t be far behind. Use baits that match the hatch, natural colors work well in the clear Spring water. I start out with large sized baits. I am targeting big fish that haven’t seen a bait in six months. If I don’t attract fish or have slow, lazy follows, I will downsize accordingly. A good choice if you have to downsize is a jig and creature type bait. Small Bull Dawgs, or other plastics baits also work well. One of my go to baits is a walleye or perch pattern six inch Reef Hawg.SummerMost guides and muskie anglers on Leech don’t really get into chasing these fish till the 4th of July. They think the fish don’t move till the water warms. Fact of the matter is, they do, you just have to find them, they are eating. Much depends on the type of weather we have in early Spring. Normal weather patterns will put the fish on typical muskie habitat as the water warms usually the first week in July. The large weed beds are the targets of most anglers throughout the Summer. These large lush cabbage weed beds are located in Portage, Sucker, and the Grand Vu flats area near the Walker Narrows in the Big Lake. Buy a good map of Leech and you will easily locate the weed beds. I highly recommend a new map of Leech put out by the “Reel Bottom” map company. The map is so detailed that you have to purchase two maps. Map is very detailed and reveals several spots that only a handful of seasoned anglers previously discovered. Map has several GPS locations marking several types of structures.The numerous rock reefs in the Pelican Island area also hold fish as the water warms. Schools of forage fish start using these reefs and the muskies are always near. Summer months and warm water allows the angler to open up his arsenal. All of your favorite baits will catch fish at this time. Don’ t forget top water baits, they really shine as the water warms. Low light hours or windy days are the best conditions to fish the rocks. Other rock areas are Submarine Island and the annex, and Mokey Reef. The Big Rock reef also holds good numbers of fish. In the late Summer fish will migrate to the bulrushes that are in most of the big bays of Leech Lake. Start looking for perch to show up in the rushes around the last week of August. When the perch and other forage fish show up, so with the muskies.FallWhen the night temps dip down and the leaves start their annual change of color it’s time for the muskie hunter to really get serious. It’s trophy time as the fish begin putting on weight for the long winter inactivity. The females start producing their eggs and have a real urge to eat. I concentrate on the same rock reefs mentioned earlier. Also wind blown shorelines and points. If the weeds are still green they will still hold good numbers of fish. We can start to search for fish on the steep break lines. Use your electronics to search for forage, cisco’s will start their migrations to the spawning areas. They like shoreline sand humps. I found several spawning areas by going out after dark and searching with a bright Q-beam spotlight. Locating these areas is like finding a pot of gold. The large fish that have spent the year in the depths will follow the cisco’s and you have a chance at a fish of a lifetime. I do a lot of trolling at this time of the year. I like to cover water and various depths searching for these giants. Favorite baits are 10 inch Jakes, and Believers. Depthraiders and Ernies, and the new deep diving Slammers. There are several large crank baits available and I want to buy a Wishmaster. You can ‘t use too big a bait at this time of the year. I usually fish till ice forms at the boat launches.Good luck, Murph!