It was the opening of Musky season. The day was bright and sunny, yet a little on the
cool side. Taking into consideration water temperatures and weather conditions, I decided
our plan of attack for the day was to look for the Muskies around deeper water near the
mouths of spawning bays. Several good spots and hours later without so much as a follow
called for reassessment of the situation.
After some thought I
headed into one of the shallow back bays, and dug out some top-water lures. My partner
looked at me as if I was crazy. He remarked "It's too early for topwater lures."
It only took a few casts to prove him wrong. My Creeper had just cleared the end of an
old partially sunken log when a nice Musky exploded on it. By the end of the day we had
boated 3 nice Muskies and had action from several others. Switching to topwater lures on
that spring day really paid off.
There are many Musky anglers who, because of old myths and beliefs, mistakenly reserve
the use of topwater lures for the summer period. Topwater presentations however can be
very deadly in the spring. Whenever Muskies are in shallow water they may respond to a
Weather conditions, water temperatures, and the type of lake are all important factors
to consider when deciding where to use a topwater presentation.
As the water warms Muskies will eventually become more oriented toward deeper water,
but this is not necessarily so in the spring. Shallow spring Muskies are actually
activated by warming air temperatures and solar heat. Careful choice of lakes and a
watchful eye of water temperatures will provide you with active Muskies in the shallows
throughout the spring and into the summer transition period.
Daily weather conditions will determine just how active shallow Muskies will be. It can
also move deep water Muskies into the shallows. Deep cold natural lakes tend to warm much
slower than shallow dark water flowages. Consequently, these deep natural lakes will often
hold more Muskies in the shallows much later in the season than most flowages. In many
deep lakes Muskies may stay near shallow spawning areas for quite some time after
Usually the north and northeast sides of bays receive more warm sunlight exposure. This
faster warming water produces good weed growth and abundant forage. Muskies will gravitate
to such spots. These bays will be prime topwater spots for early season Muskies.
As water temperature readings move upwards into the high 60's to low 70's look for
Muskies to move out of these bays, and head towards deeper waters. Once this movement
towards deeper water occurs, active Muskies may be shallow less often. Conditions, such as
morning and evening low light periods and stormy overcast days will be best.
Never overlook the possibility of active Muskies being shallow at night in the spring.
Look for these night movements to occur earlier on smaller lakes and dark water flowages
since they warm faster than deeper natural lakes. Heavy fishing pressure, and a lot of hot
spring air temperatures will promote an unusual spring night bite.
SPECIALIZED SPRING SURFACE BAITS
Topwater fishing is undoubtedly one of the most exciting ways to fish for spring
Muskies. There are many lures on the market designed especially for topwater fishing
Muskies. Water temperatures will be the number one factor determining surface lure type