The fall months offer a last best shot at landing the fish of ten-thousand casts. Muskies respond to decreasing day lengths and dropping temperatures by feeding more actively. The bite begins when water temperatures fall into the 60s from their summertime peak. The muskies may remain in their summer haunts for some time, but as winter approaches, look for them to make the move from shallow weed beds to open water.
“When water temperatures drop, muskies start feeding heavily, but the feast won’t last forever” says Garden State muskie hunter Mark Modoski. “Fish as often as possible, and make sure you’re on the water at sunset.”
Modoski believes that many muskies remain in weed beds, even when the weeds are almost all dead, until the water dips down into the 40s. “Target weed beds and weed lines, but also begin to use sonar to find schooling bait in open water near main lake points, underwater structure and drop-offs. Where there is bait in fall, there will be muskies.”
By the time waters drop into the 40s, the muskies will be at their heaviest, but will be getting tougher to catch, advises Modoski. Most fish will have moved out of the shallows, following the bait into open water. Use sonar to find bait and in turn, find muskies. A soft-plastic bait like the Bulldawg will be the best weapon if fish are not too low in the water column. If they are, try jigging through bait schools with a Bondy Bait.