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Eagle River Musky Fishing Night Bite

Moonlit Musky Nights


Featured in Musky Hunter Magazine 2022




As musky anglers, we can all agree that nothing beats the thrill of the adrenaline rush

when a musky stops your bait cold, as it violently strikes and begins thrashing to begin the

daunting battle that ensues. Now imagine, it is the middle of the night and the only thing around

is the local loon that eerily calls in the dark and it is just you and the moon, that mother nature

has provided you with to light the night sky. You are slowly retrieving your bait, as right next to

the boat, out of nowhere, as you can see nothing but the dimly moonlit sky, white water breaks

as the giant musky you have been hunting inhales the bait you are throwing. The giant fish

seemingly breaks the surface and the silence of the night simultaneously. This may be the most

exhilarating and chaotic event in all of sports. It may not always be the best to fish in the dark,

but in some situations, it provides a tactical advantage to do so and that is when you will find me

out on the hunt at night. I fish a heavily trafficked area with pleasure boaters and other anglers so

it can often be advantageous and simply more enjoyable to fish at night as it is much more

peaceful and calmer on the water with limited traffic and often limited wind. It also returns the

ecosystem to more of a sense of normalcy as there are not boats driving over the fish constantly

as they are all day long. In this article I will discuss hunting muskies at night and the challenges

that come along with it, as well as some of the tactics and safety measures that should be used to

produce fruitful trips out on the water in the dark.

Fighting and handling the apex predator of all freshwater fish, the musky, can be

dangerous in and of itself as it involves removing large hooks from a very powerful fish’s mouth

with large, sharp teeth. Now add in the fact that this all must be done in the dark with limited

visibility, and you can end up in a treacherous situation real quick. There are a few key things

you can do and bring with you on the boat to make sure your night ends on a positive note and

the fish you catch swims away safely. First, make sure the boat is clean and everything is picked

up and put away, as everything becomes a tripping and hooking hazard in limited sight

conditions. Second, always make sure your net is extended, locked in place, easily accessible,

and ready to go for when that fish surprises you. This will allow you to be able to pick up the net

and be ready to put the fish in the bag as soon as possible. Have all of your release tools

organized and in a specific location where they are easily accessible so they can be found for

easy use in the time of need. It is also very helpful for the landing and release procedure to have

some form of lighting to assist in the process. This can be lights mounted on the boat and/or

headlamps, just as long as you can light up the fish and bait in the net to unhook the fish and

snap a quick photo before release.

Now that safety has been covered, I will discuss some of the baits and tactics I use to help

me turn each night into a successful trip. Often at night the fish will move into shallower water to

feed but this does not always happen. Keep an eye on the bait fish on your locator and pay

attention to what they are telling you. Just as you would while fishing during the day, follow

them, if they move in shallow, you do the same and if they stay out off the break or weed edge,

you do the same. I often use baits that are bigger or louder at night to get the attention of

muskies. The reasoning behind this is that the sight of the musky becomes more limited in the


darkness and they rely on their lateral line and vibrations more for hunting prey. By using bigger

baits that displace more water or baits that give off more sound or vibration you are appealing to

their lateral line hunting method more so than just their sight. Some examples of these baits for

fishing shallow water at night include, the Fat Bastard (topwater), double #10 blade bucktails of

any company, Figure 8 spinner baits and the Livingston Lures Titan. The large bucktails, spinner

baits modified with larger blades, and the Fat Bastard are all sending off good vibrations, as the

Titan displaces a lot of water and has the EBS (Electronic Bait Sounds) to give added vibrations.

When I fish deeper water in the dark, I will often use larger rubber baits like the Waterwolf

Ratzilla, or deep diving cranks, often jointed, with lots of vibration and rattle such as the

Livingston Lures Pounder.

So, the next time you are out with no one but a loon around in the pitch dark of summer,

just remember to follow some of these tips and tactics to not only be successful but also to stay

safe as they are proven to lead to putting big fish in the boat, which can be lead to a hazardous

situation in the dark. Now you will be ready when the white-water breaks and the chaos ensues.

Practice safe catch and release and always protect the resources!


Eagle River Musky Fishing


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