Why the world’s top muskie anglers use small baits in the early season

Image Via: Gord Pyzer

Muskie minis

Small lures are tops on opening day—but not for the reason you think

Many muskie anglers think smaller bucktails or body baits excel early in the season because the fish are lethargic and prefer a smaller meal, having just spawned. Still others believe smaller lures are best because they match the slighter forage at that time of the year. Neither is correct—early-season muskies are typically famished and there’s plenty of large forage fish in most lakes and rivers.

Credit: Gord Pyzer Small lures are tops on opening day
Credit: Gord Pyzer
Small lures are tops on opening day

So why do savvy muskie hunters pick smaller lures early in the season? It’s because the big toothy critters frequent shallow, knee- to waist-deep water, where you can manipulate a six- to eight-inch lure much more efficiently. And because these fish are hungry, you can retrieve it much more quickly to trigger more strikes.

Gord Pyzer

Gord Pyzer

Fishing Editor Gord Pyzer is widely regarded as Canada's most scientific angler. Known in fishing circles as Doctor Pyzer, he worked for 30 years as a senior manager with Ontario's Ministry of Natural Resources before devoting all his energies to fishing. A member of the Canadian Angler Hall of Fame, the award-winning writer is also an internationally sought out speaker, tournament angler and field editor with In-Fisherman Magazine and Television. As well, he co-hosts the Real Fishing Radio Show with Bob Izumi. Catch Gord on the Outdoor Journal Radio Show live every Saturday morning 8:05AM EST. If you're in southern Ontario, tune your radio to Sportsnet 590 The FAN AM or visit and listen live online.

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