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Canadian Muskie Success

Jim Saric with one of many muskies caught on a topwater lure right at dark. • Credit: Jim Saric
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Canadian Muskie Success

These simple secrets will help you land big Ontario muskie



Throughout much of North America, the muskie is thought of as the fish of 10,000 casts. There is no question the muskie is the most difficult freshwater fish to catch. However, it is not the fish of 10,000 casts or even 1,000 casts for that matter. Like any other fish, you have to understand its characteristics, preferred habitat and of course the lures to catch them. In Ontario, there are lots of muskie waters with thousands of muskie spots, as well as muskies awaiting your favourite offering. Click Here to check out some of the top muskie waters and lodges across Ontario.

Although many of the Ontario muskie waters may be large and if you are a casual muskie angler it may seem like a tough task to figure out where to start, here's a way to simplify muskie fishing in Ontario and increase your odds of success. Consider two spots and two lures, and you can catch muskies almost anywhere throughout the province.

How to Seek Out Muskie

The two spots to always seek out on any Canadian muskie water are islands and pins. Islands exist in most waters. However, some waters have hundreds of islands, so you can't fish all of them. Try and focus your efforts around clusters of islands, islands just outside of a neck-down portion of the lake, or a series of islands adjacent to a large expanse of open water. From here take a closer look at each individual island. Most islands have weeds on the southern or southeast side, as prevailing winds have deposited soft sediment over time and allowed for weed growth. Likewise, the north and northwest sides frequently have rocky areas from the glaciers as well as the northwest winds.

So, start fishing the smaller islands and focuses on the patches of weeds and rocky points or extensions. Once you start seeing muskies from a particular type of cover along an island or two, chances are you can replicate the same scenario along with nearby islands. The beauty of Canadian muskie fishing is that there is a wealth of spots. It's simply a matter of looking at your map and your surroundings and finding similar-looking islands with either weed or rock, and you'll locate more muskies.

Jim Saric with a musky Jim Saric with a musky around a shallow navigational marker or pin. (Photo credit: Jim Saric)

Pins

Pins are something else to consider. What are pins? These are simply channels or navigational markers. The beauty of fishing pins is that you don't have to understand anything about muskies to locate them. Channel markers are typically red or green, and in some cases yellow and black. They mark shallow water hazards, which could be a submerged reef, a rocky point or even a shallow island extension with weeds. In any case, the shallow water area adjacent to any navigational marker or pin is worth fishing. Like fishing islands just pay attention to the cover associated with each shallow water spot. You can move from one navigational marker to another and fish these pins and on most waters find muskies. It can be that simple.

Types of Lures

When considering lure types to tackle Canadian muskies, keep it simple as well. Just make sure you bring two lures: a bucktail and a topwater. Large in-line spinners such as Cowgirls and large prop-style topwater lures such as Topraiders or side-to-side topwater lures such as a Viper are easy to fish, and they both catch and locate muskies. Try first casting bucktails retrieving them fast around various island cover or around shallow cover associated with pins. Bucktails are the number one lure for catching muskies. If the muskie doesn't strike and follows the boat, you'll need to move the lure in a figure 8 pattern at the boat side to try and catch them, but if you don't, no worries. Return to the spot in the evening preferably right before dark and now cast that topwater lure. Take your time fishing the area, because you know the trophy muskie lives there. You'll be surprised how many muskies bite at dark on topwater lures, even though they followed a bucktail during the day.

When you do catch that muskie, be sure it quickly gets unhooked, take a quick photo and release it back into the water. Canadian muskies can live for 30 years and you want to make sure someone else can enjoy that same great experience.

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