Tennessee boasts world-class musky fishing opportunities across the state. Chase down these tackle-busting giants in reservoirs and rivers using the right seasonal patterns and techniques. Muskies require perseverance but deliver unforgettable strikes and fish stories.
Musky fishing is often misunderstood as being set up in the north, but it is actually a "southern fish" to some. Tennessee, located to the east of the Rockies, is more elevated than Kentucky. Despite this, there is a vast amount of untapped musky water in the state. This highlights the importance of perception in both musky fishing and life.
A musky, a large predatory fish native to North America, is a member of the pike family and is known for its slender body and sharp scales. Found in cold lakes and streams, they are aggressive predators that feed on other fish, birds, and small mammals. Muskie are apex predators, controlling prey populations and maintaining ecosystem balance. They are highly sought after by anglers.
The Collins River is ideal for musky fishing during December through March, with falling water temperatures and rising water levels. To maximize success, research water level, weather, and location. Musky fishing tips include slowing down, using current breaks, and focusing on steep banks, log jams, weed beds, and deep bluffs. Muskie will feed actively in even the coldest water and air temperatures, so adjusting your tactics is crucial.
Southern muskie fishing in the summer is challenging due to the lack of closed seasons and ice covered rivers. However, abstaining from fishing is short but crucial for species health. Fall offers excellent action with various lures, including top water and spinnerbaits. Swim baits are available in various sizes and colors for clear and stained river water.
Catching muskie, a species of 10,000 casts, is challenging due to the variety of water conditions and lures available. The mechanics of fishing for blue marlin are more complex, and triggering bites from seemingly disinterested fish depends on experience. Great musky fishermen spend more time on the water targeting muskellunge, gaining valuable knowledge and experience. However, not everyone can improve their skills without time or money.
Musky fishing involves different boatside etiquette, with the best technique being to drop the bait slowly and pop it out of sight. Figure 8s are not a uniform method, but rather continuations of the presentation. The boatside technique offers an advantage in angles, unlike the rest of the retrieve.
The Tennessee muskie, a popular fish, begins its spawning ritual in Southern waters when water temperatures reach mid-50 degrees. Muskie fish, like walleye, white bass, and suckers, travel up to 20 miles to spawn. After recovery, some fish stay in upper reaches of rivers. Muskie males seek female partners in late March until mid-April.
The muskie fish, also known as the ski, musky, or muskellunge, is a mythical and devoted fish among anglers. Cory Allen, a musky fishing savant, teaches the importance of understanding depth and speed in catching muskie. He focuses on predictable routes between deep and shallow water, incorporating knowledge of the topography beneath the surface.
Live bait for muskie fishing is effective, especially in the fall/winter season. However, some argue it's unfair due to gut hooking. To avoid this, muskie anglers use two hooking systems: a quick strike rig, which prevents gut hooking musky, and a circle hook rig for safe hook-ups. Large baits like gizzard shad, bullhead catfish, and suckers are suitable for deep water lakes.
Northern musky anglers are in full musky mode as summer winds down, with musky fishing season closing by the end of November in states like Minnesota and Wisconsin. The Collins River near McMinnville TN offers a long fall season with low temperatures and clear water. September is a great time for musky fishing, with September rains providing better fishing conditions. Musky live bait and weed beds are common in shallow, weedy areas.
Musky and jigging have not always been synonymous, but with the advent of the Bondy bait, musky jigging has become more common. Spinnerbaits, rubber, and inline bucktails can be used in jigging. The H20 Barbarian is a versatile musky jigging bait, while the double dawg is a personal favorite for vertical jigging.
The Collins River in Tennessee, near McMinnville, is known for smallmouth bass and red eye perch fishing. However, the river has seen a shift with the reintroduction of the Musky, a species once extinct. The stocking effort by Tennessee was successful, with the last muskie fingerlings stocked in 2012. The fishery is now healthy, with yearly data proving its health.
Reservoir musky fishing often overlooks the riprap, or dam face, due to its limited surface area between the shoreline and the primary break. This results in muskys being caught by casters, who fish directly over their heads. To move en masse, fish must have surface area.
Local bait stores may not carry the necessary live bait for certain situations, such as bass, catfish, musky, and striper fishing. In the Volunteer state, laws regarding the sale of live minnows have changed, so anglers must catch their own. Small creeks and streams often have the big bait needed for various fishing situations. Casting nets are the best method for catching larger musky bait.
Tackle failure is common in musky fishing, leading to costly losses. To avoid this, use the right fishing line, quality leaders, sharp fish hooks, and proper tie-up. Choose braided line for baitcasters and spinning reels, invest in quality leaders, file hooks for smooth drag, and use strong knots for a successful musky fishing experience.
Pitchin and flippin is a popular technique used by bass anglers to catch big bass. It involves using a flat bottom boat, scullin paddle, and a 7 or 8-weight fly rod. The technique is effective in areas with ten feet or less of bass and can be used during cold winter or moon periods. The best times for sculling are March and April, with night sculling from May through September.
Trolling motors are commonly used for trolling, but they have limitations in speed control and are less effective for slower fishing. Advances in remote control technology offer efficient boat control with auto correction and precise speed control. Trolling motors offer hand-free operation, constant resistance on baits, and can cover breaklines without limitations.
The author advises against using a trailer hook on the main hook, as it may not provide enough stimulation for less committed fish. Instead, they suggest using a swimbait or grub that is complementary in size to the hook, allowing for creativity. The trailer hook should also function as a different stimulus, attracting less committed fish. The author suggests that using a separate bait body in conjunction with the primary bait can provide additional benefits.
Muskie fishing in the northern US begins as ice melts, but in the south, water and air temperatures must be taken seriously. Surface temperatures can reach 85 degrees or higher, leading to "A.C. fever." Conservative anglers should consider taking a break during hot summer months, ensuring fish survival.