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“7” Degrees Of Muskie Location cont. stant warming trend, I feel they will strongly utilize large tapering points. However, that same fish which resides here will act very differently during cold front periods. experience a drop of five degrees in their environment and they will have all but vanished. This negative influence will cause the predator to relocate to the most dramatic edges the structure will exhibit. They will make it a habit during these periods to become very vertically oriented. They will escape the cooling trends by simply dropping down in the water column, exerting almost no energy in this effort. Unlike the energy necessary to navigate a larger tapering area to accomplish the same goal. If nature has done anything, it has instinctively conditioned these fish to conserve energy whenever required. This is in some cases evident when the pursuit of muskie becomes an obvious one sided event, painfully witnessed by the absolute absence of muskie. Been there, seen that, to many times. Apron and saddle fish will generally vacate these areas during cold front periods, generally because of the smaller and somewhat shallower water extremes associated with the more productive saddles and aprons. Look for these inhabitants to seek deeper water sanctuaries until things improve or until they have simply adjusted to the conditions and the physiological need to feed demands they do. Simply put, if these are your only options for fishing under severe conditions, expect to demonstrate patience and persistence in your endeavor to succeed. Saddles and aprons are without question among the muskies most preferred locations for muskie activity during warm or improving trends. These are also areas where in the past we have connected with large societies under such conditions, providing the structures are adequate enough to support such larger populations. Weedbeds are easily located, but seldom fished properly. These areas are a structural element commonly found throughout the muskies natural range and during the 67-77 degree period are incredibly paramount. They can be comprised of any number of aquatic plant types including but not limited to cabbage, milfoil, coontail, pickle weed and so on. And, in the more fertile systems such weedbeds will often be comprised of two or more plant types in a single location. Look for transition of weed types as the spot on the spot.They are also one of the few structure elements that will actually house muskies throughout the entire peak summer season. By that I am referring to the ability to hold complete societies from week to week. Knowledge and proper approaches to such areas will greatly improve your hour to fish ratio. The canopy effect produced by healthy aquatic plant life will cool the waters when necessary. The presence of healthy growing vegetation will provide valuable oxygen through the process of photosynthesis. When cover is required of the predator, little offers more value than a healthy weedbed and in fact, nothing will house a more complete and diverse population of potential forage offerings. These are all key considerations regarding your selection of this type of structure. Weedbeds in lakes such as Wabagoon will collectively hold up to 80 percent of the total muskie population and can be productive three to four times as long as other prime structures, opposed to those found on Lake of the Woods which may only house 40-50 percent of the muskie population during limited periods. While fishing Wabagoon back in the mid-seventies I stumbled on some idiosyncrasies of which I found most interesting and still apply to my approach today. During the periods of 67-77 degree water temps, history has indicated it can be very difficult to entice fish activity in clear water systems under bright sunny conditions. I started to seek darker water systems to overcome this apparent problem. Knowing I couldn’t easily change the weather conditions to those I preferred, I decided to adapt, by temporarily changing locations. In doing so I realized the darker the water, the quicker it warmed. As well as warming quicker it also promoted development of vegetation much earlier and quicker. So in fact, if I were to arrive at my chosen clearwater system and was faced with bight conditions, I would trailer to a darker lake. In this case from Eagle to Wabagoon. What was most interesting was the fact in the case of the Goon, the calmer the water, the brighter the conditions, the better it was. The sediment so profound in Wabagoon would stir up very easily under wind conditions and would adversely settle under calm periods, actually enhancing my results. The point is, wether you are moving around a very large system such as Lake Of The Woods, or moving from lake to lake in northern Wisconsin, you can circumvent existing conditions to

some degree by relocating. 77: Peaking out. Summer peak is defined by the pinnacle in water temperature for the season. We find 77 degrees to be a temperature one might hope to expect in mid-summer across northern regions of the muskie habitat. Some years, like last for instance, many waters never attained this surface temperature. However at 77 degrees muskies will feed more frequently than any other time of year, possibly as often as every eight hours. Combine a stretch of stable weather during this period and one can expect multiple daily catches and numerous follows likely on the right body of water. Of you are fortunate enough to experience this anomaly, suffice it to day, fishing can be as good as it gets! On the contrary, during unstable weather expect the muskie to more finicky than at any other period of the season.They will make very dramatic moves during this peak period based on changes in their environment. Periods of cold fronts will force the muskie to adhere to harder breaking areas more consistently than they would during more favorable conditions. Again, history will tell us they like it warm. If the water temperatures reach or exceed say 77 degrees and rapidly fall back into the high sixties, obviously due to a severe cold front, LARGER FEMALE muskies will simply escape by going vertical and drop below the negative influences until things improve, at which time she will again make another vertical move, ascending to her preferred comfort zone. This will hold true throughout the muskies natural range. 67: 67 and falling. On the back side of 67 degrees is when the fall transition generally begins. However, many anglers will have fished through this period without ever recognizing it’s change and/or it’s significance. Fish are now more likely to be primarily found on vertical sections of structure. Where easy access to deep water is generally available. Sharp vertical points leading into inside turns are fish magnets. The cool nights have begun. Day to day fluctuations in water temps will dictate absolute depths fish will use. Warm days fish may still be found shallow. Cooling temps, fish again tend to drop down. However, always keep in mind, mid-day peak warmth during a cooling trend may quickly reverse this process and again bring fish shallow. It’s important to recognize that during this early fall period, frontal systems move through quicker as the region looses it’s stronghold on summers more favorable weather patterns. On natural lakes in the midwest or throughout Canada, one will often find the more productive anglers tuned into the process of identifying and following roaming forage during this key period. Between now and the 57 degree benchmark, baitfish such as crappie, cisco, tulibe and others will start to congregate and in the course of their normal daily activities and will often come into contact with prime muskie structural elements as they ping pong through the system. It’s during this period that the predator will begin to show signs of reserving their energy supplies by dramatically reducing their daily movements and closely adhering to the art of ambush. It’s not until the next compression period , that being between 57-47 degrees that transition will truly begin, and once again they will again begin to use their limited energy surpluses as they make their way to their winter haunts. 57: 57 and falling. 57 degrees purely signifies the entry to fall. Also coinciding with the turnover period. Muskies have again begun to travel away from their summer home ranges. This marks the period when much of the available vegetation begins to die. Fish will again set up in transition areas. Sharp vertical points, shorelines and walls become prime candidates. This is the time multiple forages species begin to stage off breaklines. Although casting these areas can be effective, trolling now becomes a prime consideration. Active fish will primarily be at the mid-depth levels at 8-15, although days following turnover they can be at any depth. However, during warming trends fish again may move shallow. This is the period when conservation of energy falls into second place as they endure the relocation process. That being said, fish this period much like you would the spring period of the same temperatures. Forage is on the move, selecting their primary comfort zones and the predator is dictated to follow. Any warming patterns such as those defined as indian summers can and have produced some of my larg