5 Pike Fishing Tips For Beginners

5 Pike Fishing Tips For Beginners

By Shane Dayton

There is a lot of advice floating around out there about fishing for northern pike, and while some of it may be really good, a lot of the advice is aimed at experienced anglers, semi-pro anglers, or it’s rehashed information that may or may not be any different than advice you would get when starting to go after any type of fish for the first time.
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Muskie Fishing in Various Seasons

Muskie Fishing in Various Seasons

By Karina Popa

The muskie, also known as Muskellunge, is a variety of fish located in the northern part of North America, mostly in the region of the Great Lakes. It can be also seen in rivers like the Allegheny and Ohio, as also in the southern part of the Tennessee River Valley.

It may weight over sixty pound, and it inherits some of its personality from the northern pike, such as a flat head on an extended body. Because of its elusive nature, the hunting of this fish is getting popular.

The best bait for hunting this variety of fish is local fish. The muskie is known to be not very particular of its food, and would eat anything, including snakes, frogs or muskrats, as long as they fit into its mouth.

Spring time

The muskie prefers to spawn in waters with a temperature in the region of fifty degrees. They get attracted to water at that temperature and spawn at areas with shallow waters where they get pulled into.

During the spring, the water is warm in shallow areas of the lake, and it also contains an abundance of food like minnows. The muskie survives on the food available in shallow waters until the mid-depth areas get warmed.

As most varieties of feed are recently hatched, the anglers follow suit and aim the muskies using tiny, slow-moving baits.

Summer

As the temperature rises to reach sixty degrees or beyond, the vegetation at water depths of ten to twenty feet starts growing and releasing oxygen.

The phenomenon attracts many verities of fish, including the muskie, which gets prompted to come out of its usual feed area to new areas offering fresh vegetation.

The muskie is more active when the water warms up, and so should the fishermen. It would help the angler to use slow-moving feed until the temperature of the water reaches a level of sixty-five to seventy degrees.

Once the muskie starts moving away from shallow waters, they can start using feeds of larger size. As the temperature rises to seventy-five to eighty degrees, the muskie becomes a bit lazy.

Under such conditions, the angler would do well to go fishing during the early morning hours or later in early evening hours, when the level of light is low.

Fall

The muskie becomes active once again as the water starts cooling down near the end of the summer. This fish would continue living in its summer homes till the vegetation is finished, when the fish would start moving back to shallow waters like it did during the spring.

Though the movement of the species representing his food remains unchanged, the anglers would do well to use big baits, as the feed would have grown during the entire season, and it is bigger than what it was during the spring.

The anglers keep hunting for the muskie even after the temperature has dropped to below forty degrees, because during this part of year, the fish feeds to gain wait for the winter.

The anglers are known to employ their largest bait for such temperatures in order to reproduce the naturally available feed of the muskie.

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Pike Fishing Tips You Must Know About

Pike Fishing Tips You Must Know About

By Lindsey Jenkins

Pike fishing tips focus on the fish itself, the fisherman, and the environment as well as other factors.

An interesting behavior of pike fish is their playful attitude towards baits and lures. Pike fish are known to play around the bait upon first bite. They tend to be choosy over food as well despite being heavy feeders.

So it is recommended to bring as much varying types of bait as possible. This ensures that different choices of fish lure are offered every time until fish are completely satisfied.

Baits, lures, and plugs can be a combination of the following: spoons of different varieties, minnows, flukes, and shad tails. The latter three may be live or may be made of plastic. Commercial products such as Mepps spinners, Shad Raps, and Husky Jerks to name a few may also be used.

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In relation to the playfulness of this kind of fish, the fisherman must have patience when catching them. When it bites on bait and swims away with it, struggling against the reel immediately is not recommended.

It is best to be patient and give the fish a little time to play. It will be back after fiddling with the bait.

Aside from the fish and the fisherman, the environment and other factors are included in the list of fishing tips anyone can make use of. In terms of timing, the best time to catch it is in the early morning, early evening, and when the day is generally cloudy before rain pours or a storm hits.

Another addition to a number of valuable fishing tips includes knowing where these types of fishes dwell. Pike fishes are often located on waters where weeds abound.

The weeds function as a habitat, provide protection from prey, and are also a feeding ground. Smaller fish are food for this type of species of fish are also found in weedy parts of the waters.

Pike fishing tips for seasonal changes follow one rule: the warmer the season is; the more active fishes become. At which time, the aggressive behavior of these species makes them easier to catch.

During fall and winter when temperature begins to cool down, greater patience is required as fishing during this time of the year is less productive than summer and spring are.

As with any other form of fishing, fishing tips also consider the tackle. For pike fishes, the recommended tackle measures between 6 to 8 feet.

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Catching Muskies – All About Muskellunges

Catching Muskies – All About Muskellunges

By Alyssa Bentley

Ross with Muskey at Head Lake, OntarioQuick Facts:

  • Muskies can live to be 30 years old
  • Maximum length of a Muskie: 6 feet
  • Maximum Weight of a Muskie: around 70 lbs
  • Trophy Length: over 4 feet
  • Trophy Weight: over 40 lbs
  • Mature females tend to be bigger than males, but mature and grow at a slower rate.

Muskies are a non-schooling predatory fish, who are generally tend to stay out of eyesight of each other.

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They usually lurk near drop-offs from rock or sand bars in the middle of lakes, along weed beds or other vegetation, and in shady waters close to shores that are fringed with overhanging trees. They prefer larger lakes with deep and shallow basins and large beds of aquatic plants.

They have a typical ambush predator design, elongated body, flat head, and caudal fins placed far back on the body.

The stealthy muskie hunts by waiting motionless. When a fish swims by (any fish, including other muskies) they strike, impaling the prey on their large canine teeth, rotating it, and swallowing it headfirst.

Strangely, the size of the fish a muskie eats appears to be related to the ultimate size it can attain. As the fish grows larger, the size of its prey naturally varies more.

Even if plenty of small fish are available, a muskie may not be able to grow large without large fish to eat. Muskrats, ducks, shrews, mice, and frogs also appear in the stomachs of muskies from time to time.

A Varied Diet:

Muskellunges are known to have a varied diet. They will eat other muskies and any fish they see, as well as ducklings, smaller muskrats, shrews, mice, and frogs, and the largest Muskies are known to eat whole adult ducks.

There is one report of a Wisconsin man in 1999 who was dangling his feet in the water (not fishing), when a medium sized muskie lunged and attempted to swallow his toe! He ended up pulling the muskie out of the water and extracting it from his foot.

The foot required 66 stitches and he was eventually allowed to keep the fish, despite the non-legal size and non-legal method of fishing.

It is not recommended to use your toes as bait.

Other Facts about Muskellunges

Muskies and Pike (or “Northerns) look very similar. The foolproof way to tell a muskie from a northern is to count the pores on the underside of the jaw: A muskie has six or more. A northern has five or fewer.

The tiger muskellunge (E. masquinongy x lucius or E. lucius x masquinongy) is a hybrid of the muskie and northern pike. Male hybrids are almost invariably sterile although females are sometimes fertile. Some hybrids are artificially produced and planted for anglers to catch. Tiger muskies tend to be smaller than non-hybrid muskies but grow faster. The body is often quite silvery and largely or entirely without spots but with indistinct longitudinal bands.

Though interbreeding with other pike species can complicate the classification of some individuals, zoologists usually recognize from zero to three subspecies of muskellunge.

  • The Great Lakes (spotted) muskellunge (Esox masquinongy masquinongy) is the most common variety in the Great Lakes basin and surrounding area. The spots on the body form oblique rows.
  • The Chautauqua muskellunge (E. m. ohioensis) is known from the Ohio River system, Chautauqua Lake, Lake Ontario, and the St Lawrence River.
  • The clear or barred muskellunge (E. m. immaculatus) is most common in the inland lakes of Wisconsin, Minnesota, northwestern Ontario and southeastern Manitoba.

Catching the Muskie:

If you want to catch a muskie, you’ll need a heavy bait-casting rod, substantial level-wind reel, 20-35 pound test line, a variety of artificial lures or live bait, and a lot of patience. Allow at least 20 minutes in each location before moving on-the large fish usually aren’t very active.

It takes the average angler 20-80 hours to catch a legal musky!

Muskies are generally not food fish. As predator fish, if the food fish in their region have small amounts of toxic substances in their systems, they will gather in much greater quantities in the muskellunges who feed on them. Before eating a muskellunge, pay attention to the fishing advisories of the lake or the state that you are fishing in.

Threats to the Muskie:

The health and success of the muskellunge relies heavily on the health and availability of aquatic plants in their environment. Minnesota anglers are beginning to notice that some of their favorite “weed beds” seem to be disappearing, thus reducing the spawning sites and hunting grounds of the muskies they like to catch. Measures are being proposed, including greatly reducing the number of docks allowed on a lake shore, thus reducing the human footprint on the lakes.

The Muskie and the Northern Pike are both considered sport and trophy fish in Minnesota, and are thusly valuable to the sport fishing community and the tourism economy, but over-fishing does hurt the population of this solitary fish.

So fish carefully, and practice catch-and-release fishing with this fish in order to preserve its continued abundance in all the great lakes.

Alyssa Bentley works for a Website Advertising [http://www.mobilepenguins.com/] company. This article is written for Fishermans Pool.com – a great resource for finding a Chartered Fishing Boat [http://www.fishermanspool.com] where you want to fish.

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Muskie Fishing Tips – Jigging Fall Muskies

Muskie Fishing Tips – Jigging Fall Muskies

By Jack Phillips

Most anglers think big when hunting lunker muskie, but if you want to catch more muskie think smaller baits and tackle. I caught my biggest muskellunge while fishing walleye with a plastic worm in September.

More often than can be considered coincidental people catch a lunge while fishing other species. Most anglers look to heavy tackle, large baits and trolling as the way to catch muskies. Personally I become bored or just tired of trolling all the time.

Now one of my most successful tactics used especially in the fall is used for fishing large walleye and at the same time muskellunge. I use medium size tackle and large walleye baits especially jigs.

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Fishing weed lines, drop offs and shoals as you would for walleyes will also attract as many lunge as walleyes. The first time I realized this I did have some success for large walleyes and had just caught and released a nice 7 pounder that was followed to the boat by a large muskie.

The only change I made was to make sure I was using wire leads and good strong swivels.

Using 6 inch plastics worked just fine and the result was a fun great day of fishing. In all the two of us caught and released 9 walleyes from 5 to 8 pounds plus 5 muskie all in the 15 to 20 pound range.

Although not the lunker; that most anglers look for. But it proved to me that these predators can be caught on lighter tackle and smaller baits.

Conventional thinking tells us that in the fall; the remaining muskellunge, are large, therefore bigger is better. However, my experience is that smaller baits are often the perfect morsel for that elusive lunker.

Equipment And Presentation

When I say smaller baits I am referring to large or oversized walleyes jigs. As mentioned this approach evolved on a body of water with a large population of large walleye.

Now using the idea that big baits means big fish or walleye. I began tossing 5 to 6 inch plastic shad-bodied jigs along weed lines.

I landed a number of big walleye, but to my surprise, the muskie were also going for the same bait. The big plastic jigs became an important part of my muskie fishing arsenal. All large plastics work just fine.

Color seems less important than creating a real flash. Two-toned baits, mainly dark and light combinations, create more flash when drawn through the water. Adding some metal flake also ads that extra flash.

Just experiment and you will find a combination that will work for you and get that strike you want.

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I generally use ball-head or stand-up-head jigs with medium gauge wire hooks. It’s surprising how well a single hook can handle even a large fish. Often you will hook the fish in the gristly flesh in the corner of the mouth.

Jigs also make landing and releasing muskie easier; there are then no large treble hooks flopping around to damage the fish or you. Deeply hooked fish can be released by clipping off the hook with pliers.

Single strand wire leaders seem to work best especially along weed beds. I use a hay-wire-twist to attach the wire to the jig head at one end and a small swivel at the other. Watch for kinks in the wire, but these leaders are more weedless than the standard models because of the snaps and swivels.

I prefer a medium action 6-foot spinning rod and a reel spooled with 12 to 14 pound test monofilament. A medium-heavy bait-casting outfit also does the trick, in both cases make sure the drag is working properly.

Even if you prefer the conventional approach, keep a lighter outfit close at hand for when muskie follow, but don’t hit, or they strike short.

Using lighter tackle and a jig is also a good approach when there are two of you fishing muskie. One angler throws conventional baits, and the other throwing jigs. Then you are always ready to react to follows and misses.

Vary the speed of your retrieve when jigging up muskie. I have had luck in late fall, by using violent rip-jigging motion. It’s tiring, but effective. Experiment and you will find something that works for you.

When battling a muskellunge on light tackle, be careful not to fight it to exhaustion, thereby increasing the chance of delayed death if you plan on catch and release.

Ideally, you should release a fish by simply grasping the single hook with a pair of needle nosed pliers, while it’s in the water at the side of the boat.

Cut off the hook if the fish is hooked deeply. Muskie fisheries are a fragile resource, so do your best to release that muskie no worse for wear. Now next season that muskie will be ready to fight another day and make that day a great day for another angler.

Jack Phillips has been an avid Canadian angler for over 50 years. Fishing Canada [http://www.fishingcanadaonline.info] provides solid advice for walleye, bass, pike, muskie [http://www.fishingcanadaonline.info/muskie-fishing-tips.html], a variety of trout, arctic char bass and more. Idea’s on when and where to go on your next trip to Canada. Ice fishing tips. Delicious fish recipes also!

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