Post Spawn Muskies
By Tim Mead April 7, 2007

Post Spawn Musky
Post Spawn Musky


Mike Doyle, a good buddy and a Spanish Professor at The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, asked, "Tim, will you take me muskie fishing?"   We were finishing up our breakfast.   "Sure," I answered. "But we might not catch any."

It was our first day in muskie country, north of Fort Francis, Ontario. Mike had never caught a muskie.   Craig, my son, had regaled Mike of tales of monster fish and Mike was primed.   Craig told Mike the best lure was a 7-inch, broken back Rapala.  

A drain
A postspawn incoming water musky
The muskie spawn was just ending.   While many find muskies in the post-spawn period hard to catch, there are some ways to tilt the odds in your favor.

In natural lakes, muskies spawn in shallow bays when the water temperatures are in the mid-50s.   In Ontario, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan -- all prime muskie locations -- the opening of the muskie season is usually delayed to protect spawning.   After the spawning is completed, muskies relocate to areas near spawning bays.   Rocky shorelines adjacent to bays have been the best post-spawn muskie spots for me.   Bill Shumaker, a long-time fishing buddy, claims the most productive places are "deep with a number of rocky ledges, some dropping off quickly and others creating narrow shelves."

A couple of years ago Bill and I fished such a spot.   Bill killed the engine and the boat drifted forward.   While Bill fiddled with his gear (if you ever get a chance to fish with Bill -- an excellent angler and a good friend -- you will learn that fiddling with his gear is a favorite activity), I heaved a bucktail toward the bank.   A huge log moved off the rocks, intercepted my lure and headed for deep water.   She was a 25-pound fish and all we could handle.   Rocks which form shelves or ledges are best.

Saddles between islands or between an island and a point are also great post-spawn muskie attractors.   A saddle is the ridge between two high spots on the lake floor.   Muskies hang around saddles, picking off perch or suckers.   Perch and suckers are prime muskie forage.

Incoming creeks also attract post-spawn muskies.   Gordy and I, while fishing together, have taken several muskies off incoming creeks.   If Gordy tells where, Iíll have to refer his case to a friend name Guido from New Jersey.  

Another prespawn musky
Another prespawn musky
The drop off at the end of the shoal created by the stream is a prime spot.   A number of years ago Larry Leamy and I approached a creek tumbling out of the forest (not a spot Iíve showed Gordy).   Just as Larry lifted his Thunderstick from the water, a monster muskie swirled at the lure.   While we raised the fish several more times, it was only several days later, fishing with his brother Harry, that Larry caught it.

Islands or humps are also great post-spawn muskie locations.   My favorite spots are islands or humps where the lake narrows.   Though current may not be readily noticeable, there usually is current in those places. At one of those spots which Craig and I christened "Muskie Island," Mike caught a 29-pound muskie on a broken-back Rapala.

He was so excited in describing his catch back at the lodge, jabbering in English and Spanish, the crew named him "Carlos, the Muskie Hunter."



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           Last updated on March 10, 2018