For years, we at Simply Fishing have had the pleasure to attempt to educate viewers and attendees of our various seminars as to the specifics of the sport of muskie fishing. The information we propose to introduce is grounded in science and experience. We believe in the value of reserving unnecessary comments or conclusions until our experience has demonstrated the true and relative nature of our findings. And provide a learning experience grounded on a sound foundation of these experiences. Educating anglers solely by the written word is an art, rather than a science and is in fact one one of the toughest challenges an educator will face. You, the reader, cannot see all the necessary elements with which we attempt to base our strategies to apply a persistently productive game plan in the pursuit of the muskie. It is for this reason we appreciate the continued achievements of the writers and editors of Musky Hunter and their efforts to promote a strong understanding of the sport. It is in this context that we desire to make this process as simple and easy to understand as possible. To provide a baseline of information with which one can easily apply to their very next muskie pursuit. Keep in mind, in this sport there are no real tricks, there are only variations of well thought out techniques from which everyone can benefit from understanding. Managing water temperature and discerning its effect on the prey/predator relationship will become one of your most valuable assets in your arsenal of knowledge. Truth be known, no one will ever figure this fish out entirely. I do think however, many of us are guilty of not even trying. We discover a pattern or two that will work from time to time or a few spots that seem to produce the occasional fish. But how often do we take the time to examine our situation and in turn ask ourselves, why? Why did it work? Why were the fish there? Because knowing and understanding will make you a better, more productive angler. Next time, make it a point to ask yourself why a fish might use an “old faithful” spot during your annual trip in July. Knowing might explain why the fish are not there when nature throws you a curve ball or two or your boss changes your July fishing trip to September. In this spirit of simplicity, we’ve conjured up an easy to remember system which we refer to as “7 degrees of muskie location” or simply “the rule of 7’s.” In this process we address the variable stages “7” Degrees of Muskie Location ‘s Kyle Brickson Bob Mehsikomer
of water temperature and how these changes affect muskie movement. Most importantly, where we expect to locate fish within specific temperature ranges. Understanding the affect water temperature has on predicting muskie locations is arguably the most critical dynamic of successful muskie fishing. After all, if your not fishing where the muskies are, you won’t catch them. These observations are based on a combination of many years of fishing experience, biological fact, and results of tracking studies. This is a guideline in attempting to learn the “why’s” of the sport. By no means an exact science but a solid baseline from which to start searching for these nomadic fish. Each water temperature benchmark in the “rule of 7’s” signifies an identifiable and significant change in this fish’s behavior. These rules apply primarily to the northern regions of the muskies range. However, with slight modifications of extreme periods, all can benefit from applying these guidelines. The observations are based on surface temperatures, realizing that during certain circumstances, surface temperatures are indeed relative to only a few inches of the water column. (ie, severe fronts) Therefore, be prepared to apply some common sense in this approach to fishing. Looking back at past issues of “Musky Hunter” you will find evidence of my studies relating to periods of consumption based on water temperatures. Many anglers have written me regarding their success based on their knowledge of this theory since the publishing of my observations. We are about to take them, and you, to the next level. A full and comprehensive understanding of water temperature based understanding of the effects these temperature ranges have on the muskie, and their environment throughout the open water season. But most importantly, an easy to remember system for forecasting fish location. To apply all season, under varying conditions. 47 Degrees and rising: At 47 degrees we experience the first of two compression periods. Understand during compression periods, changes relating to EVERYTHING will occur very quickly. Muskies are generally in the spawning cycle during this period. They are for he most part utilizing very shallow water, absorbing the warmest water available in the system. Areas offering the most direct sunlight such as those in the northern or better yet northwest sections generally receive the most direct sunlight and will warm fastest. They are also influenced by the stacking of warmer water due to southerly winds and are somewhat protected from the effects of harsh cold fronts often associated with this period. In most cases the female muskies will simply roam favorable areas in preparation for delivery, often escorted my as many as two to five males. Under the right conditions the male will engage the female by bumping, nudging and in some cases even biting the ripe female. This ritual entices the female to drop here eggs which are then fertilized by accompanying males. The ritual is random at best, which is exactly why nature has hard wired the males to work in concert, to achieve satisfactory recruitment. In most states and provinces this occurs during a closed season and anglers are prohibited from fishing for muskie. In the rare circumstance where fishing might be legal. One should be aware of the negative implications of pursuing these fish during the spawning process where the fishery is at all dependent on natural reproduction. After all she is carrying some 250,000 eggs, which in most cases will seldom yield 1% survival in the wild. 57 Degrees: Often associated with open season. Muskies will still be shallow and in most cases not far from their spawning locations. This is a prime time to seek them out the the system’s first emergent weed growth. Prime areas are shoreline associated weedlines both inside and out. And shallow rock piles and rock weed combinations. All are prime territories for recovering females. They create a sanctuary for everything during this period. Other smaller forage species are staging in the these areas in preparation for their reproductive cycles. Combined with crayfish, the muskies have a virtual smorgas board of forage to chose from. However, beware that things soon change drastically. Shorty after exceeding the 57 degree “7” Degrees Of Muskie Location cont.