There are a lot of prime muskie waters in North America, with many being located in northwest Ontario. Practically every resort owner sings the praises of his own body of water, and naturally, they all contain “world record” fish. Aside from all the bull, where are the best waters, and who can an angler trust?
I have fished northwest Ontario for well over 20 years and have caught numerous trophy muskies in these prime waters. I haven’t fished all the best lakes, but I have a pretty good understanding of activity in these waters.
This lake of 68,000 acres offers a visiting muskie angler practically every fishing scenario he could possibly encounter at a lake. Muskies can be found deep in the clear west arm, or often in the darker waters of the eastern section of the lake. This dark-stained water extends from roughly Stanton Island down into Osbourne and Niven bays.
Eagle Lake has been somewhat reborn in recent years. In time past, knowledgeable muskie hunters avoided Eagle Lake. They claimed over-pressured fish would only follow the lure and never hit. This was the rule. Getting a solid strike was the exception.
I modestly claim some of the credit for the recent upsurge in muskie catches on Eagle Lake. I bought Andy Myer’s Lodge a few years ago and soon began catching big muskies out of Eagle Lake on a regular basis. In fact, nine fish over 40 pounds were caught and released during the falls of 1994 – 1996. Also, my clients and I clients caught numerous 30 pounders throughout the year.
I favor reefs, flats, and islands near spawning grounds, or extensive food shelves during the muskie opener, which starts in mid-June and extends through July. A multi-dimensional island weeded island clusters or rocks and slots extending from one of these areas is about as good as it gets. Productive lures are minnow lures or twitch baits. Examples are the Slammer and Crane Bait or Jake, particularly in perch or walleye patterns, along with bucktails and top waters.
Weeds can still be productive through much of August. However, mid-lake tabletop reefs, main lake islands, and shelf points (major points near deep water) come on strong later in the season, especially for larger muskies. Crankbaits, along with large, soft rubber lures should be added to your arsenal during this time.
As the first cool nights occur in late August, muskies start leaving the weeds. Rock walls and bluff banks close to these bays will be hot. Once you get into mid-September, the weed bite will generally be over except for isolated action around a few still green areas of vegetation. Most of the musky activity will be rock related from mid-September on, with narrows, walls, points, and reefs being key structures. Don’t be afraid to try reefs that top off 12 to 20 feet down.
Once the water temperature falls into the 50’s during fall, anglers should toss a crankbait, such as a DepthRaider or Trophy Diver. Another angler works a large, soft rubber lure, like a Bull Dawg or Big Joe, while I work a big, lively sucker on a quick-strike rig.