The musky fishing has been picking up lately here in the Twin Cities but It’s been a tough year that has been rewarding to those that think outside the box. Techniques and locations from past years have only been mildly effective and normal milk runs haven’t been producing. Even on a day to day basis it has been crucial to move around and try new things. This is due in large part to the fact that fish are not always holding to structure. With the many hard rains this spring and summer the water levels have risen on most of the lakes and seeminly driven the baitfish and muskies out of the weeds and into open water at some times.
For me, June is usually about finding the best weed beds and working them methodically to lure muskies out of them. This has been true for some stretches this year but at times the muskies have not been relating to weeds at all. The best way to find muskies out in the open is to find their food. I like to see large balls of bait high in the water on my sonar or imager. This is all I need for the confidence to cast an area.
Muskies like to push their food up to or near the surface to feed. This makes bucktails and topwaters a viable option. I have been using large double bladed bucktails like double cowgirls and JR’s as well as Kramer Bros. 8’s and 10’s. I’ve also been using some of Big Mama Lure’s prop style topwaters in these situations. Recently, we have started to get a pretty decent Bulldawg bite as well.
One thing to remember if you do fish out in the open is that you don’t always get as many follows as you would when you are fishing a good weed bite. Fish that are laying in the weeds are often in ambush mode and are programmed to follow baits even when they aren’t jazzed up enough to eat them. Open water fish usually just kill baits. I will usually bounce back and forth from a weed spot to open water just to make sure I’m not missing anything on the more classic weed spots. Every day has been different out there and where they were biting yesterday isn’t always where they are biting today.