A Monthly Profile
By: Craig Sandell © 2017
Before we get too deep into this,
remember, the month of May is a truncated fishing month and the month of November is
typically cold weather musky fishing using live bait.
The table shown below is the basis for the graphs that
display a picture of lure production over the seasonal months.
The chart shown below provides a
more detailed perspective on what lures worked well for each of the months
of the season. As you can see, there are some predictable lure patterns in
the chart presentation. One of the interesting patterns, though, is related
to crank baits.
The interesting thing is not the number of
Musky caught on crank baits. What is interesting is that even though
the crank bait catch
quantities for each month are generally low, the productivity of the crank bait was
consistent over 6 of the 7 months of the season. Although trolling is allowed on the Chippewa
Flowage, the crank bait does not get a lot of use because of the relatively
shallow water and the abundance of sub-surface clutter even in the deeper
river channels. This study would seem to
indicate that a crank bait is a good lure choice for almost any time, assuming you are
fishing the type of cover and depth of water most conducive to the crank bait.
Not surprisingly, bucktails and surface baits
account for the majority of the Musky caught over the Musky season. The study shows that
bucktails and surface baits are producers, however, you MUST
keep in mind that these are classic Musky bait categories. The high numbers of Musky caught
on them could be related to the fact that more people are fishing with these types of
lures than with other lure types. The jerk bait also shows some productivity over 6 of the
7 months of the season although September and October have higher catch totals than the
other months for the jerk baits. Once again, this could be related to the fact that not as
many people fish jerk baits as other lure types.
Personally, I didn't get confidence in the
use of the jerk bait until relatively recently. Once I started using the jerk bait, I
found that it produced Musky and was useable in almost any condition of weather and
structure. The live bait catch information is not a surprise either. Late in the season is
live bait time, however, many people swear by the technique of hanging a sucker over the
side, while casting other lure types, throughout the Musky season or what is referred to
as "Suckering Musky".
Well, are bucktails and surface baits the
most productive lures? The catch statistics would appear to tell us that, however, we need
to be sure that we are not "short changing" other lure types.
What is the best approach to lure selection?
When I fish I have 3 rods set up with different line weights, different reels with
different retrieve ratios and different lure types. I try to balance the use of each of
the artificial lure types, depending, of course, on the condition and depth of the water
and the prevailing weather.