From now until the lakes ice over, the musky anglers will be on the musky lakes in our area looking for quality fish, and sometimes in good numbers (considering the challenge of putting numbers of them up in one day the rest of the open water season).
We have several lakes that can offer musky anglers their best shot of getting a fish over 50 inches. Big Detroit and Pelican typically get most of the musky angling pressure, but Sallie, Beers, and Many Point will also give up quality fish this fall. A few lakes that have some quality musky, but not in great numbers, include Melissa, Fish, and Prairie. Musky have also been caught in both the Pine lakes, but numbers are very low in those lakes.
This is the start of the big sucker bite for big musky. Most anglers troll very slowly along the outside edges of the weeds with the suckers on strip-on rigs below big bobbers.
Suckers from 12 to 16 inches are most commonly used, but some anglers will use suckers up to 18 or 20 inches long for this presentation. Another strategy becoming more popular is looking for the big fish with side imaging, spot locking just upwind from the fish, and casting the bobber rig so it sits in front of their face.
Casting and burning baits over weed tops is still productive this time of the season, and can also be used in combination with pulling the sucker rig when multiple people are fishing in the boat.
Casting shallow and deep off the break edge can trigger a bite or bring fish to the suckers trolled on the weed edge. When anchored or spot locked, casting and burning baits past the bobbers can fire up a fish to bite on the sucker as well.
Trolling big crankbaits can also be productive at this time of the season, and can be a good way to cover water and look for fish. Trolling speeds can be surprisingly fast even with the cooler water. It is not uncommon for veteran trollers to even troll up to 5 mph! Casting can be tiring, so switching to a crank bait trolling or a sucker under a bobber trolling technique can be a welcome break.
If you have not fished for musky and want a chance to try it out, now is a good time of the year to get yourself hooked on catching these monster predators.
There are several musky guides in the area, and they book up fast now. If you can’t hook up with a musky guide, make sure you connect with a friend or relative that has some experience and can help increase your learning curve.
If you want to try the big sucker bite, the local bait shops will help you with rigging yourself up and providing you with the big suckers you will need. Youtube has videos that can also help instruct you as you prepare for your musky adventure. The best teacher is your own experience. The more you go and try, the better you will get and the more you will learn about what works for you. Lots of time left to go chase the big girls.
Remember to clean, drain, and dry after every trip.
(Laabs owns Brad Laabs Guide Service in Detroit Lakes)