Muskellunge can be found in Canada and the northeastern U.S. and are especially plentiful in Minnesota. They can be caught by still fishing, trolling, and spin casting in still waters with ample vegetation. These fish can be tough to catch because they are difficult to find.


Region: Northeast, Midwest, South
Habitat: Lake, Pond, River

How to identify Muskellunge

The muskellunge is the largest member of the pike family and is often mistaken for a northern pike. Anglers can tell the two fish apart by looking at the tail, which has a deeper indention on the muskellunge. These fish also have stripes or bars on their body, while pikes have spots. The ventral fins on the muskellunge aren’t below the pectoral fins. Instead, they are located somewhat further back on the abdomen in the middle of the tail and pectoral fins. The muskellunge has a duck-billed mouth full of teeth. Their coloring ranges from light silver to brown with dark stripes.

Where to catch Muskellunge

These fish can be found in the northeast U.S. and Canada. A plentiful population of them can be found in the lakes of Minnesota. They hide in water that is up to 40 feet deep and stick near areas with dense vegetation, rocky shores, and slow-moving waters.

Range: Northeast, Midwest, South
Muskellunge Fishing Map

The following are habitats where you can catch Muskellunge:

How to catch Muskellunge

Some anglers seek out the muskellunge because of how challenging it is to catch. They generally manage to stay out of sight, especially during colder weather. The best time to catch them is in the fall. They are also active from mid to late summer. Because these fish have needle-like teeth, it is best to avoid using hooks with barbs. The best method to use is drifting with large lures and crankbaits. Trolling also works well, as does spin casting and still fishing. Anglers should use a 50-lb test line when fishing for muskellunge to avoid them snapping the line.

The following are effective fishing methods and techniques for catching Muskellunge:

Best Lures, Bait & Tackle to catch Muskellunge

Large lures work best for catching the muskellunge, especially when paired with crankbaits.

The following are fishing lures, bait and tackle that can be used to catch Muskellunge: