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Muskellunge, often simply referred to as muskies, are fast-becoming one of Maine’s premier game fish. With a reputation for being a fierce, hard-running fish, muskellunge offer anglers of all abilities a challenge seldom matched by any other species. Muskellunge are currently most prevalent in rivers in northern and western Maine, but are becoming more widespread following their introduction into several new water systems.

A typical muskellunge will grow to around 30-36 inches in length and weigh in anywhere between five and ten pounds. Larger muskies are not uncommon however, with fish regularly exceeding fifteen pounds in some of Maine’s more popular spots. Their bodies are long and slender with dark vertical bars on a lighter green or brown background whilst their mouths contain a set of sharp teeth an indication of their aggressive, predatory nature. Muskellunge look similar to northern pike, though can be distinguished by their typically lighter appearance and presence of seven or more (as opposed to the northern pike’s five) sensory pores under the jaw.

Muskellunge tend to spend much of their time in deeper waters before turning to the shallower, weedy areas in search of food. It is also strongly believed that the best time to land muskies, particularly trophy-sized, is either early in the morning or last thing in the evening prior to sunset. Muskellunge can be caught throughout the day, though the biggest fish tend to steer clear of the shallower areas throughout much of the day.

Due to the fast-running, aggressive nature of the muskellunge, a strong rod and line are essential for a successful catch. Many anglers prefer to go for a lightweight graphite or fibreglass rod coupled with 20-40 pound line. Even a relatively small muskie will put up a fight, which is why such a strong line is required. Crank or spinner baits are particularly effective for catching muskellunge, and both can be used with either a trolling or casting method. The colour of the lure is also important, and best results will be achieved by matching it with that of a local food source.

Muskellunge attract anglers from around the world to Maine’s rivers, and particularly good spots for the species include Baker Lake and the St John Watershed. The former is a world renowned spot, and it is strongly believed that there are few locations in the world that offer a better muskellunge fishing experience. Whether you are looking for a trophy fish or simply relish the challenge of a big, powerful fighting fish, muskellunge are ideal.

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