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Updated on October 14, 2014

Muskellunge - Muskies

The muskellunge (also known as musky or muskie) is the largest member of the pike family. Muskies have a long cylindrical body and a mouth full of fang-like teeth.

These efficient predators lurk among aquatic plants, submerged logs or other cover, waiting to ambush prey. Muskies eat perch, suckers, catfish, minnows, sunfishes and other fish.

Large individuals are known to consume a variety of animals, including, amphibians, waterfowl and rodents.

Because of its large size and fighting qualities, the muskellunge is one of North America's most renowned game fish.

This trophy fish ranges from the St. Lawrence River and the Great Lakes basin, to areas of Canada in the north and west.

The muskellunge is the official state fish of Wisconsin. A musky over 100 pounds was once caught in the state by a commercial fishermen's net.

muskie fish
muskie fish

How Large Do Musky Get?

The average muskellunge is 28-48 inches in length, weighing 5-25 pounds, although trophy fish have been reported to reach 100 pounds and exceed 5 feet in length.

photo courtesy: Missouri Dept. of Conservation

Musky Fishing Techniques - The Figure 8

Perhaps the most famous musky technique is the "figure-8." One school of thought is that it is essential to make a figure-8 pattern with your lure just before swinging it into your boat. Musky and other game fish will follow your bait right up to the boat or shoreline without striking. This is a common trait of muskellunge. Occasionally the erratic movement, swift turn, and circle of the figure 8 technique will incite the fish to bite.

Tiger Musky

A hybrid fish called tiger musky occurs when eggs from a female musky fertilized by a male northern pike. Tiger muskies share some physical characteristics with each parent. Most individuals are sterile but grow to exceptional sizes.

wisconsin muskie fishing
wisconsin muskie fishing

Best Lures for Catching Musky

worms - Soft plastic worms were among the first modern freshwater fishing lures. Since the early versions, literally thousands of variations have been produced. rigs include Texas, Carolina, floating, wacky.

jerk baits - These popular soft plastics are rigged on an offset shank hook or jig head.

jigs - These come in hundreds of styles including classic marabou crappie jigs, bucktails, feather jigs, soft bodied grubs, shad bodies, tubes, etc. Muskies like BIG jigs.

jig and pig - This lure consists of a combination of a simple jig with a natural pork rind.

spinner bait - This is another combination lure, which pairs a jig with a spinner blade.

buzz bait - This bait is similar to a spinner bait. It combines a jig type hook with a large, noisy propeller.

poppers - Thus family of lures share a hard body with cupped or wedge shaped mouth.

stick baits - These lures include torpedo to pencil shapes with tapered ends. Some variations have propellers or skirted tails.

crankbaits - These lures come in an array of shapes and sizes. Most float at rest and dive when retrieved although some models sink. Most share common characteristics such as a hard lip, multiple treble hooks. Musky tend to go for deep diving crankbaits. They eagerly destroy cheap versions, so its best to choose quality over price.

rattle traps - These hard bodied diving lures oscillate when retrieved. Most contain metal balls inside which rattle when moved

spoons - These come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Spoons wobble or spin as they pass thru water. Depending on the type, spoons may be cast, trolled or jigged. Spoons have been a top musky lure for over 100 years.

frogs, mice - These soft bodied lures are among the most weedless of all rigs. The hooks are well concealed and they float on the surface, allowing anglers to cast into heavy vegetation where muskies lurk.

tube - These lures feature a hollow tube which has tentacles on the rear. They are available in sizes from about an inch up to several inches in length. Larger versions are used for catching musky, usually being rigged on an offset shank hook similar to worm rigs.

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    • Twmarsh profile image

      Twmarsh 7 years ago

      Great "Musky" info. Good stuff, five stars!