Fly Fishing for Muskie: Technique and Gear


Read on for our how to fly fishing for muskie gear tips and advice. The muskellunge musky' or muskie' is certainly the big game of North American freshwaters. This pike-like behemoth has been an elusive prey for even the keenest of anglers. It is not called the fish of 10,000 casts' without reason. 




Stalking the cool, clear waters of Michigan, Wisconsin and as far south as Chattanooga, these big predators are bold enough to take on even rats and ducks. They tend to lurk at the margins of their habitat amongst weeds and rocky outcrops which offer cover for rest. These beasts can grow in excess of two feet and weigh over 17kg and are agile and intelligent. Musky hunting', therefore, is not for the faint-hearted angler. Before you get on the water, it's essential to have the right equipment, strategy and fortitude to successfully take this fish on.      

Muskie angling techniques  

Before your line hits the water you need to have studied your target and taken time to know its behaviour and the waters it frequents. Time of day, season and even moon phase will impact the behaviour of this big fish. Diarize sightings those ones that got away to build your own profile of the muskie that will aid a successful catch.      

Even if you get a bite on this elusive prey, your critical step will be organizing the right equipment to ensure that your big fish does not get away. You definitively need fly-fishing for muskie gear. Preparation is key as is sourcing the right lure, rod, reel a line for the job. More about gear is below. Fly fishing Muskie?  

The technique is everything for successful muskie angling and so it is no surprise that there are a number of variant techniques, each yielding their own benefits for the keen angler. Proponents of fly fishing for muskie enjoy the thrill of wrangling with these game fish using gargantuan flies. Fly fishing is a good technique for muskie as the large flies do outperform conventional gear - no surprise given the muskie's wide range of prey. Much of muskie fly fishing will be like a wrestling match or tug-of-war and is reliant on raw physical strength rather than reel skills.      

Getting tooled up - 4 key fly fishing for muskie gear components  

1. Rods for musky fishing -musky fishing is extremely physical with much of the combat taking place through the rod. It needs to be strong as a musky can snap it. The best muskie rods will be hardy big-fish rods. Look for a rod in the 10 to 12-weight class and remember it needs to be good for casting the muskie to fly effectively. You need to be fit to take these rods on so practice with it before your big trip so you don't get exhausted.      

2. Reels for musky fishing, most expert musky fly fishers do not place emphasis on the reel as so much of the action is dependent on the rod. You need simply needs to be robust, reliable an appropriate for the size of your rod.      

3. The best line for musky fishing is a sinking line, which will help get your large muskie flies down to the water. To tangle with these large fish your line needs to be strong. Braided, heavy lines work well for fly fishing muskie. Also, use a steel or heavy fluorocarbon leader to connect your line to the lure as the sharp teeth of a muskie can simply bite through.       

4. Muskie fishing lures These large lures are key to enticing and engaging your muskie and lure design will make or break your musky fly-fishing experience. Use a specialist retailer or perhaps experiment with a custom tie. You will need your fly to made of materials which make launch and retrieval easy despite the size. Bucktail is a good material to look out for. Lure color also adds benefit. Choose more natural patterns and colors in  clear water and oranges whites and blacks to be distinctive when angling in muddier waters.


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