(UNDATED) – As water temperatures cool down, muskie fishing will heat up this fall.
Muskies will actively feed to prepare themselves for the cold winter months ahead. Anglers should focus on fishing shallow areas where bait fish will also congregate.
Muskies are some of the largest fish in Indiana, and anglers usually release the muskies they catch, prizing them more for their trophy size and challenge to catch rather than their edibility. Although growth of older male muskies is slow, and few ever reach 44 inches, females typically reach 36 inches at age 7 and 44 inches at age 12. Under the right conditions, female muskies can grow longer than 50 inches, weigh more than 40 pounds, and live more than 20 years. The Indiana state record was caught in 2002 at James Lake (Kosciusko County) and weighed 42 pounds, 8 ounces.
Fishing with large crankbaits, jerkbaits, and swimbaits can hook anglers the fish of a lifetime, as muskies in Indiana can reach 50+ inches in length.
As leaves change color and start to fall, it’s also a great time to hit the streams for smallmouth bass fishing. Crisp nights and low water levels concentrate fish in deep, clear water.
Big bass usually can be found in the upstream portion of pools or in slack water behind boulders or logs. Anglers should remember these big fish are wary, and a stealthy approach is necessary. Using light fishing line or fluorocarbon is recommended with clear water. Fishing isolated cover may produce the largest fish. Prey fish are abundant, and some species will be schooling as they migrate to winter locations. Try matching lures to available prey color and size. Some good choices in lures are soft plastic crayfish and minnow baits. Fall evenings can elicit an exciting top water bite.
Use the DNR Where to Fish map to find great fishing locations. Some sites also have stream water level gauges to help anglers prepare.