The muskellunge is the largest member of the pike family, a highly prized sportfish
and a true trophy. This elusive fish is seldom abundant, and in lakes one adult
fish per acre is considered a good fishery. Known as the fish of 10,000 casts,
muskellunge in New Jersey do not stick by that standard and are routinely caught
with less effort. They are growing to true trophy proportions (50+ inches) that
rival many of the best waters in the country. Muskellunge are generally a shallow-water
fish, preferring areas of weeds, logs, and other cover in both lake and stream
environments. However, the hot temperatures of mid-summer usually force the larger
fish into deeper water where there may be less cover.
most productive muskie waters have been the Delaware River, Greenwood Lake, Monksville
Reservoir and Echo Lake Reservoir. However, more recently established fisheries
Hopatcong, Mercer Lake and Mountain Lake are coming on strong. Areas near
structure and cover are ideal habitat for muskies. Shallow weedy areas of lakes
warm up first in the spring and are a good bet for early season. Weed beds are
consistent areas throughout the summer. Other productive areas are rocky points,
ledges, outcroppings, and fallen and standing timber. Fish deeper water and drop-offs
associated with these structures in mid-summer as the fish move to cooler water.
These same areas are also productive during the fall.
can be caught throughout the year, even through the ice - in fact, the current
state record was caught just that way. Fishing is relatively consistent from
late spring to mid-fall, with September and October considered two of the best
months. The majority of muskie fishing takes place during daylight hours, with
the afternoon considered the most productive time of day. However, night fishing
can also be productive.
Typical muskellunge fishing techniques involve casting or trolling a variety of
large lures in and around available cover and structures. One key to muskie fishing
is the retrieve. Although there is no hard and fast rule, the veteran muskie angler
frequently employs a fast retrieve. Similarly, in trolling, so called "speed
trolling" can be productive. Frequently muskies follow the lure to the boat
but don't strike. One productive method to entice a strike is to swirl the lure
around in the water in a figure eight along side the boat at the end of the retrieve.
most popular types of lures are bucktails, crankbaits and jerkbaits. Some favorites
are the Harasser, Grandma and the Reef Hawg respectively. Trolling bucktail spinners
just below the surface along the top of submerged vegetation, a short distance
beyond the prop wash, is an effective method for covering large areas and triggering
aggressive fish. Deep trolling the cooler waters near points and drop-offs in
late summer and early fall is also productive.
22 Muskies Inc.
Chapter Muskies Inc.
Focus on Fishing: Muskellunge
Muskellunge Distribution Map
Muskellunge Stocking Summary, 2012 (pdf, 11kb)
Muskellunge Stocking Summary, 2011 (pdf, 11kb)
Muskellunge Stocking Summary, 2010 (pdf, 14kb)
Muskellunge Stocking Summary, 2009 (pdf, 12kb)
Muskellunge Stocking Summary, 2008 (pdf, 10kb)
Muskellunge Fact Sheet (pdf, 17kb)
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