Summer is often the toughest time of the year for finding muskies, but anglers can find plenty of muskies if they follow a few basic tactics.
Rising water temperatures are one of the biggest factors that change muskie activity in the summer. Understanding how this change effects the fish is the first step in catching more muskies in the summer heat.
During the early portion of the muskie season, in late spring and early summer, muskies can be found in shallow water, but as water temperatures rise beyond their comfort level, muskies will seek out deeper, cooler water.
In northern climates, where water temperature does not rise into the oppressively hot range, muskies may move into 12 or 15 feet of water to find their ideal temperature range. In southern climates, where water temperatures commonly reach the 80s, they may go much deeper. It is not uncommon for the fish to move to water 20 feet or more in depth.
WHERE TO FISH
In many cases, muskies will be close to the same areas you were catching them in the spring and early summer, just in deeper water.
This could be the ledges along a point, rocky areas, drop offs near the weed line or deep weed lines. Another place to fish is in open water, where muskies may be suspended. Often they will be suspended in the top half of the water column.
The key to finding summer muskies is finding their food sources. Using your electronics to locate concentrations of bait fish will help you locate the muskies.
Anglers should also try night fishing for muskies, during the summer months. This is an often overlooked tactic that can be very productive. Muskies see fairly well in dark conditions and the lower night-time temperatures can increase feeding activity.
One of the best tactics during the summer is to speed things up in an attempt to get muskies to strike. This means fast retrieves. Reel your bait in quickly and cover as much water as possible. Keep moving until you find fish.
Another productive summer tactic is trolling. This helps you cover more water quickly, while keeping your bait moving at a good clip. As with casting, the key to trolling for muskies is to move quickly. Troll at a fast speed of 4 mph or more.
You should also consider fishing surface baits. During the summer months, muskies will often rise to the surface to grab prey.
One of the most effective summer muskie baits is the bucktail spinner. The bucktail moves through the water quickly and is very effective for covering large areas of water in a short time.
Crankbaits and top-water baits are also good choices. Just make sure you choose baits that can move quickly through the water. When trolling, bucktails and crankbaits are the best bets, because they move through the water at fast speed.For night time fishing select a bait that makes a lot of noise. This will help attract muskies to your bait.