Fall musky madness in Sunset Country

Earlier this week I had a friend from south of the border send me a text message saying that he was out on Lake of the Woods and that the musky fishing was insane. He told me that it was his favourite place in the World. The message made my day and got me wondering why I don’t do more musky fishing.

Thanks to social media, I can tell the musky fishing across the Sunset Country Region is hot right now. Some of my friends have been posting pictures and some of the lodges that remain open to cater to late season anglers have been posting pictures. Everybody loves to see a photo of a trophy musky.

When I was younger and doing a lot of guiding at resorts around Lake of the Woods, I used to do quite a bit of musky fishing. As I got older I caught the bass tournament bug and most of my time on the water was consumed by that, constantly looking for new areas and techniques to catch the biggest bass.

A few of my fishing friends do a better job of mixing it up, putting more time into bass earlier in the season when the tournaments are going on and then focusing on musky fishing in the fall, once the bass tournaments are over. These are the guys that I try to jump in the boat with this time of year. They know what’s going on and how to put a couple of fish in the boat day after day.

They great thing about fall musky fishing is that these big fish will bite right up until our water freezes. They also show up in predictable locations where they can find easy meals. Whitefish and cisco, two of the top forage options for musky in our region, spawn in the fall along windswept rocky shorelines or areas with some current nearby. These are the areas where you are going to find musky in October and November.

When it comes to the best techniques for catching these big predators, these have been well-documented over the years but they continue to change as more technology becomes available to anglers. When I was a kid, I used to read every single tidbit I could about musky fishing and in the fall the most common technique was trolling with large crankbaits. It is still a productive technique today, allowing you to cover a lot of water.

With the technology that has come along in recent years like highly detailed mapping, forward facing sonar and Spot-Lock, anglers can now cast baits on the sweet spots like the top of a reef, the tip of a point or on a saddle between two reefs. They can see fish in relation to cover or when they follow your baits and we have the ability to park the boat on a high percentage spot, even in current or strong wind. It’s a lot easier than it used to be to catch a musky.

If you are new to musky fishing, there is a ton of great information available online. YouTube offers information for anglers of all skill levels. You could also ask the people working in the local tackle shop for recommendations on the best baits to try.

Musky are known as the fish of 10,000 casts and many of them are but now is the time of year when you can make contact with multiple fish in a day and some of the biggest fish you’ll see throughout the year. We’re running out of days on this season but if you’re looking for one last adventure, go catch a musky.

Late fall is prime time to hook up with a trophy musky on waters across Sunset Country.