The muskellunge, or musky is the largest member of the pike family. These large predators have a torpedo shaped body with a mouth full of fang-like teeth. A pattern of dark vertical bars on a background ranging from light green to light brown helps to camouflage these fish.
These efficient predators lurk in heavy cover, waiting to ambush prey such as perch, suckers, catfish, minnows, sunfishes and other fish. Large muskies have been known to eat amphibians, waterfowl and rodents.
This highly prized trophy fish ranges from the St. Lawrence River and the Great Lakes basin, to areas of Canada in the north and west. Because of its large size and fighting qualities, the muskellunge is one of North America’s most renowned game fish.
A variety of techniques are effective for catching these popular fish:
– Anglers often employ trolling for catching pike, pickerel and musky. Spoons, plugs or other flashy lures can be very effective at drawing strikes from these fish.
– Jigging can be very effective, especially in cooler months. Anglers use brightly colored metal jigs, working them in erratic patterns to entice strikes.
– Live baits are excellent choices for catching musky. Depending on the size of fish targeted, anglers may use small fish such as suckers or employ large baits such as live freshwater trout, sunfish and other fish.
– Perhaps the most famous technique for catching musky is the “figure-8.” Using this technique, anglers make a figure-8 pattern with their lure just before swinging it into the boat. Musky and other game fish will follow lures right up to the boat or shoreline without striking. Occasionally the erratic movement, swift turn, and circle of the figure 8 technique will incite the fish to bite.