How the Muskie Spawn Works

Muskie Fishing During the Spawn

Muskie­ can be quite moody, so catching them can be kind of like getting the attention of your oblivious beloved on the playground. In order to get their attention and keep it, you're going to need a healthy dose of patience and some key tools.

Again, you'll need to check with your local DNR about live bait regulations, but if you're going for artificial, try these:

  • Spinnerbaits with thumping blades
  • Wide-wobbling spoons -- recommended colors are black or red and white
  • Minnow plugs

One of the best ways to catch a muskie is to go for the famous figure-8 move. Look out over the water, imagine you're holding a pencil, and draw an 8 right there on the water.

  1. Cast the lure.
  2. Bring the lure back toward you. At this point, look a foot behind and below the lure.
  3. When you create the top of the 8 -- that first curve -- remember that slow and easy wins the race. Any sudden burst of excitement on your part can send the muskie away. Just don't go so slow that you stop the lure altogether, or the muskie will get bored and you will increase your frustration level ten-fold.
  4. Continue to make the figure 8 over and over again. Rinse and repeat.

When a tasty treat does swim by, a muskie can strike out at speeds of more than 30 miles per hour (48.28 kilometers per hour) [source: Jones]. Make sure that you're situated in such a way that you don't lose your b­alance. If you're lucky enough to land a huge muskie, the last thing you want is to end up in the water. So grab your poles -- and maybe some flowers and chocolates -- to lure that monster muskie out during the spawn.

For lots more information on muskie spawn, other types of fish and related topics, hook yourself onto the links below.

­Related HowStuffWorks Articles


  • ­Bucher, Joe. "Pre-Season Muskies & Pike: Understanding Spawning Behavior." The Sportsman's Guide. (accessed 11/18/08)
  • Cain, Chad. "Early Spring Muskies." Chad Cain's Muskie Guide Service. (accessed 11/17/08)
  • Christian, David. "Muskies and the Figure 8." Big Game Tackle. 04/04/08. (Accessed 11/18/08)
  • Freshwater Fishing Canada. "Northern Pike and Muskellunge: What's the Difference?" (accessed 11/17/08)
  • Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame & Museum. "Museum Information." (Accessed 11/18/08)
  • Hartman, Travis. "The Muskellunge." Fondriest Environmental Monitoring Products. 08/2001. (accessed 11/17/08)
  • IMBd. "Trivia for Blood Hook." (Accessed 11/18/08)
  • Jones, Laura. "Muskie mania is a craze worth catching!" Ohio DNR. Spring 2003. (Accessed 11/18/08)
  • Muskie411. "Muskellunge." (accessed 11/17/08)
  • Minnesota DNR. "Muskellunge biology and identification." (Accessed 11/17/08)
  • Missouri Department of Conservation. "Muskie in Missouri: Habitat." (accessed 11/17/08)
  • Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. "Melton Hill Reservoir Muskies." 09/08/08. (accessed 11/17/08)
  • Saric, Jim. "Early Season Transition Muskie." Fishing Facts. (accessed 11/17/08)
  • Smith, Jim. "Basic Muskie Fishing." Muskies Inc. (accessed 11/17/08)