3 Surefire Strategies for Canadian Muskies

When fishing your favourite Ontario water consider these three surefire strategies to boat your personal best musky.

Fishing across Ontario filming The Musky Hunter Television Show, I meet lots of musky anglers at boat launches, on the water, and at sport shows during the winter. During the season, we always talk about what’s happening with the muskies that day. Obviously, nobody wants to give away their secrets for that particular day, but I’ll often get asked my opinion regarding what to do, and I want to give an honest answer. Although musky fishing can be different on any water and may vary from day to day, there are three strategies that I frequently recommend and implement myself when fishing the waters of Ontario Canada, particularly in the warm-weather months. Follow this simple approach and you will be holding a giant musky for a quick photograph, before releasing it back into the water in no time!

1. Small Island Savvy

islands in the lake

Small islands have a lot of variety, such as the rock point extending off the side.

Everyone is trying to locate muskies, as that’s half the battle. I often focus on fishing smaller islands, particularly if there is a cluster of small islands, all adjacent to deeper water. These small islands are natural stopping points and feeding areas for muskies. They are like mini drive-through restaurants. The great thing about these smaller islands is that you can put your trolling motor down and circle the island in less than 30 minutes. Also, these small islands often have a variety of cover, so one side might have a rocky point and the other side may have a patch of weeds. Not only are you fishing the whole island, but you are also paying close attention to where the muskies are coming from. If they start showing up on the island points, fish more of those. If they are in the weeds duplicate that. However, because the islands are so small, sometimes it just makes sense to keep the muskies honest and circle the entire thing. If the water is stained cast right to the bank. If the water is clear, keep your boat in deeper water as you circle the island and make sure your cast lands over the shallow weeds or rocks, but it’s equally important to cover the deeper water off the edge of the island.

2. Fish Blades

musky fishing

This big musky was caught on a bucktail at boat side on a figure 8. Bucktails or blades are the highest percentage lure to use whenever fishing in Ontario.

I probably have 350 musky lures in my boat at any one time. So, if you think you have a lot of lures, you can always have more! Although I have lots of lures in my boat, when fishing Ontario, probably 80 percent of the muskies that are caught in my boat every year are caught on bucktails or “blades.” I am partial to the Musky Frenzy IC9s because they have both a Colorado and Indiana blade, attached to the lure shaft with a one-piece clevice. This gives the lure a unique sound and vibration. You can fish blades over shallow weeds or rocks, and fish them fast or slow. I’ll often bulge the lure right below the surface when casting over shallow cover, and then as soon as the lure clears the cover, I slow it down to run deeper. In summer, fast is generally the best speed, although experiment with speeds to see how the muskies react. Of course, finish every cast with a figure 8 pattern of the lure at boat side, as you might catch 1/3 of your muskies at the boat! Everyone wants to know what colour blade to fish. I use four primary colours black/silver, black/black, gold/brown, and orange/black. These four colours with have you covered in most waters.

3. Capitalize on the Evenings

musky fishing

Evenings are prime time for Ontarion musky fishing.

Musky radio-tracking studies have shown that muskies are most active in the evening. Further, the sun, heat, and humidity of a summer day tend to make the evening fishing better. So, rather than burn out fishing all day, focus on the evenings. Any time after dinner can be good. However, when the sun hits the treeline be ready. That last hour of light is simply magical! If you get a musky to follow during the day, or in the early evening, be sure and return to that spot right at dark. Put on the orange/black bucktail, fish it slow and be ready. I have lots of photos of friends with big muskies caught on the last spot of the evening. Yes, the bugs might be biting, but a big musky strike will make you ignore them.


As the sun hits the treeline, be sure and return to a spot where you sighted a big musky.

This season when fishing your favourite Ontario water, consider these three surefire strategies to boat your personal best musky. For more information on top musky fishing resorts throughout Ontario check out www.gofishinontario.com or www.sunsetcountry.com

About Jim Saric

Jim owns Jim Saric Outdoors, Inc., which is dedicated to elevating the sport of musky fishing to new levels by educating anglers through print, web, and television. He is the publisher, editor and owner of Musky Hunter Magazine and the Executive Producer of The Musky Hunter television series. Jim has over twenty-five years experience fishing lakes, rivers, and reservoirs from Minnesota to New York and all across Canada. He has boated more than 100 muskies exceeding 50 inches in length, the largest weighing 53 pounds.

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