Musky Shop North Woods Fishing Report: Late November
Greetings from Minocqua,
We hope everyone had a great fishing season. The open water portion of the fishing season here in the Northwoods of Wisconsin is nearing the end. It really depends on how cold it gets at night and how calm it gets at this point. Most of the smaller lakes will be freezing up in the next couple of days but for those of us who like to fish open water. But until freeze up, our hope is the larger lakes in Oneida, and Vilas county will stay open for a bit. There again, it really depends on wind and weather.
Musky fishing has been pretty good. Our guides and their clients are still doing pretty well. Doug "The Big Ticket” Smith had a client catch a really nice Tiger Musky and lost a really big one at boat side. Al "Frosty” Frost is still guiding and boating fish as well. My brother John and I get out for 3-4 hours most afternoons, we've caught 2 really nice pike, a big Walleye and had one large musky on for a few seconds yesterday. All and all the action have been good.
Typically, late season Musky Fishing is considered extreme as one needs to dress really warm and take many precautions in terms of safety. It's wise to fish with a boat partner in late season as one has a lot of clothing on and movement becomes a bit impaired. An extra pair of hands is a must to aid in being safe, and simply loading and unloading the boat at the landing. Always keep a shovel and ice melt and a tow rope in your truck as steep landings can become quite slick at times. Hand warmers, a Little Buddy heater, a few towels to dry your hands, water and snacks are always too good to have in the boat. Think everything through thoroughly if you are fishing in extreme conditions.
These elements will test you and your equipment. The rewards for braving the harshness of late season fishing can be unbelievable. Days when the water dips below 42 degrees, it literally might be one bite per day if that. Sometimes you might get 2 or 3 bites but typically 1-2 bites are a good day and those bites could very well be the largest fish in the lake.
Some baits to consider for late season Muskies would be as follows. Supernatural Big Baits, Big Fork Reef Digger, Slammer 12” Minnow, Slammer 10” Shad Diver, Grandma 9” Classic, Grandma 13” Classic, BN Custom Magnum Claw, and Bucher Countdown Depth Raider.
You might consider adding a Slammer Fishtail for additional attraction. The baits I have listed above all are pretty large baits and the Slammer Fishtail does not distort the action. However, for the Bucher Countdown Depth Raider, the Slammer Fishtail may be a bit overkill for that bait.
Most of the Muskies being caught have been right on break lines and out over main lake basins chasing baitfish. It might be wise to make a trolling run near a break line/weed edge and if you aren't seeing much for bait or musky activity then move out into adjacent basins and work out over deeper water. There will be Muskies near or around the schools of baitfish and if you can work those areas that will put you in a good spot for getting a Trophy Musky to move and hit your offering. 3 - 3.5mph is a good speed to run. You don't want to go too fast but yet you still want to get your baits to run properly and with good action.
One more thing to consider is to use Planer Boards to get your baits out away from the boat. A really good one for large crankbaits is The Blade, as it can hold up at any speed with any sized lure.
Another good way to catch late season Muskies is to use Musky Suckers. A lot of fishermen use this technique and it works very well. It's nearly impossible to cast in late season thus you are limited to watching your electronics and Muskie sucker all day, but it can be very effective.
Well, that's it for this time around. If you get out for some late season Musky Fishing, have fun and please be careful. We hope you have great fishing and please let us know if we can be of service to you as it would be our pleasure.
Good Fishing and God Bless, Jim Stewart