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Fall Musky Progressions "Part 2"

By Dennis Radloff - November 1, 2004
Well folks here we go... the last "hurrah" of the season. Only 30 days left before our musky season closes here in Wisconsin. For the most part things have been a little different this year in regard to the pattern back in September due to "summer" like conditions, so the patter discussed in the Part 1 segment didn't exactly thrive until water temperatures began to drop in early October.

Once the water temperatures began dropping on a consistent basis in early October the fish that had been suspended all summer began returning to those deep weed edges and to the top of main lake structure. Around mid month the lakes in our area had turned over and it seemed we would be heading into a classic "post turn-over" pattern but tings have warmed up significantly and now water temperatures have been back on the rise from 50 to 56 degrees. While I have noticed the locations have not changed much during the "up and down" temperature swings, the activity levels have been very sporadic from day to day.

I'm going to "believe" that from here on out we should be looking at a consistent cooling trend and complete the progression that I will follow for the next 30 days. I am going outline what is working right now and the progressions to come.

With water temperatures still in the mid 50's fish are fairly active and very much up for the task of chasing baits. Some of the main staples over the past 2 weeks have been Suick Super 10's, Bulldawgs, Jakes, Slammers and Depthraiders. I have been targeting good main lake structure adjacent to deep open water with any remaining green weed growth. Fish will either key in on these locations and wait to ambush prey, or they will cruise on and off of these spots on the prowl for prey. Keep in mind that not only are these fish beefing up for the winter, but the females are in need of extra nourishment for the developing eggs they are growing for next springs spawn.

As water temperatures drop through the 40's you will notice less action from fish on these lures mentioned above, or should I say you might not get any action at all casting these baits. When I stop seeing fish casting these lures it's generally a safe bet that they have dropped down to deeper breaks, which can be safely deducted by the presence of large hooks on your locater at the base of the break. When you begin to see this I believe one of the best presentations is vertical. My three main go to vertical presentations are Fuzzy Duzzit, Bulldawg, and Tiger Tube. All three of these lures present themselves on vertical presentation well. The Fuzzy Duzzit gives off great flash and vibration while the other two are a little more subtle. I work all three the same way, let them drop to the bottom, crank them up a foot from the bottom and then begin pumping them up and down.

I use suckers everyday from the end of September all the way through the end of the season. If you go into the Article Archives you can see past articles on more specifics on sucker presentation and rigging techniques. I rig all my suckers on "lift-off" style rigs and progressively increase the size of them as the water temperatures drop.

While casting lures at more active fish I will run one sucker off the casting side of the boat just a few feet down as an option for follow up fish to convert at boat side on the shallow sucker. This one gets a good number of fish for us when they are chasing baits to the boat. Then I will run one back behind the boat under a slip bobber about half the way down depending on how deep of water I'm fishing.

When I begin running the vertical presentation then all the suckers are dropped down a foot off the bottom.

When it gets to the point that it's too cold to cast and everything is freezing up then I just pull suckers along the break line, sometimes pulling one out each side behind a planner board to cover more water.

30 days left, I hope each of you get the big one this November. Stay warm, be safe, and good luck.

Author Dennis Radloff
Dennis Radloff
Dennis Radloff is the owner and operator of Sterling Guide Service which specializes in Walleye and Musky Fishing. Dennis has helped run and coordinate many of the Youth Tournaments. He is also a PMTT angler, Dave's Turf & Marine/Princecraft Pro Staff, and a Mepp's Field Staffer.
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