The 411 on Fall Muskie Fishing from Mike Koepp
Fall on Pewaukee Lake means cooler temps and the best time to go Muskie fishing! Pewaukee Lake is, after all, the largest Muskie population in southeastern Wisconsin. Before we share interesting facts about Muskie fishing, here’s the 411 from one of our community’s lead fishermen, Mike Koepp, who gave us some insight into what to expect this season (updated 9/18/2020)!
Question 1: What are your predictions for fall Muskie fishing in 2020?
Since it was a hot summer, a lot of the fish moved out to the deep waters. The cooler weather is bringing the game fish like muskie back into the shallower waters from the deep cool water they were residing in. Once water temperatures reach the lower 70’s the weed bite will start to get much better. The transition from deeper water to shallower green weeds will be the hot bite. This will get better with each day until mid-October when the weeds start to die off and water temperatures reach the low 60’s. Once this happens the deepest greenest weeds will hold the most fish. By late October the “turnover” will begin around 57 degrees and then it’s time for live bait. Be safe on the water and respect others.
Question 2: How should novice and experienced fishermen alike prepare for the upcoming season?
The fall bite is the best casting bite of the season. Get your gear ready by checking your line, rod guides and reels. Make sure your equipment is ready to battle the big fall fish. Muskie fishing is hard on equipment. Most lost fish are due to a faulty line, leaders, snaps or bad hooks. Quality equipment is well worth the investment. Talk to your local shops. Dick Smiths Barn or Smokey’s Muskie Shop has the best info and experience. Most guides, local shops and employees at shops are also very informative and willing to help out in any way they can.
Question 3: What is your #1 bit of advice when it comes to fishing for Muskie?
My best advice is to talk with local shops on or near the waters you like to fish. Make sure your equipment is ready and set up to handle what you’re after. Find out water temperatures and ask what’s the best pattern or baits for that time. Knowing what to use when is half the battle. The other half is up to you when you hook your trophy. What most people don’t understand is water temperatures dictate what works best at that time. My best advice is to cast top water lures when water temperatures are 70 to 65 degrees in fall. Bucktails from 70 to 75 degrees. When the water temps drop to 65 to 60, jerk baits and glide baits shine. With water temps of 55 and under live bait and plastic lures (Bulldog, Medussa or a tube) work best.
Facts About Catching the Elusive Muskie on Pewaukee Lake
Fall on Pewaukee Lake means cooler temps and that Muskie can be found both deep and shallow parts of the lake. Pewaukee Lake is home to the largest Muskie population in southeastern Wisconsin.
The average-sized fish is about 34-inches, but every once in a while someone manages to snag a 50-plusser. They thrive on Pewaukee Lake because there is an abundance of Yellow Perch, Black Crappie and Bluegills to forage, and the DNR propagation program provides an excellent muskellunge product that is stocked annually.
Those who have caught this mysterious fish more than likely have a fish tale to tell about how, where and what to use when trying to boat a Muskie, but most agree on the following tips:
- Open Water. Muskies do roam in open water and will chase schools of bait fish. The best methods for fishing include trolling crank baits, casting jerk baits or jigging large plastics. It also helps to look for areas where there are shoals and drop offs.
- Muskies like weedy areas, but in the fall, try to avoid dying weed beds and areas that lack enough oxygen for fish to live there. Green weeds are key to shallow water fall fishing.
- River/Creek Mouths. Some baitfish, like ciscoes, spawn in creeks in the fall and where there’s food, there’s Muskie.
- Rocky Points. Rocky points can be fish magnets, especially in the fall, and M muskies like to use the rocks as ambush points.
- Baits are a personal choice among anglers, but for fall, many say the bigger the better and to have at least 80-100-pound line. Most of the time, anglers catch and release Muskie, and in fact, it’s the law if the fish is under 40 inches. To make the most of your adventure, have all of your release equipment nearby. You’ll need a landing net and needle-nosed pliers to release the jaw.
Fishing Guides & Boat Launch Spots
It can take hours, days, years, heck, a lifetime to catch a trophy Muskie, so many fishermen rely on the expertise of fishing guide Mike Koepp to increase their chances of catching the big one. Another great local guide is Chad Leton from Hooked up 101 Fishing Academy.
If you want to venture out on your own, public boat launch spots are available along Pewaukee Lake. Bring a friend and come check out Muskie fishing in Pewaukee this fall.