Hot water debate (the other side) – Giant Musky Pics – Picking just ONE Rod....

Hot water debate (the other side) – Giant Musky Pics – Picking just ONE Rod....

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Musky Frenzy

The Hot Water Debate

Musky Biology

We've talked about hot water musky fishing plenty in the past, but after listening to fisheries biologist Jordan Weeks discuss the topic on the Musky 360 podcast, we had to reach out and ask him to do a writeup for y'all.

He has a different perspective on the topic, and we want our readers to have as much info as possible. Like we've said in the past, we're not here to tell you what to do – we're here to share what we've learned so you can make up your own mind.

Here's what Jordan had to say on the topic:

"80 degrees, or maybe it’s not? There’s more to this question than simply the reading on your sonar unit. To really understand what’s going on, several factors should be considered.

"The common narrative is that water over 80 degrees doesn’t hold much oxygen. In limnological theory that is true, warm water has less capacity to hold dissolved oxygen (DO)…but is that a reality where you fish?

"Muskellunge need a minimum 5-6 ppm (mg/L) of oxygen, below that they become stressed. Data I looked at from several Wisconsin lakes showed DO levels well above that threshold, even at 83 degrees! Some lakes showed the highest DO levels occurred in the warmer surface waters. Some stratified lakes showed that there was less DO at the thermocline where water is much cooler! Looking at this type of data for your favorite water can be helpful. Consult your local citizen scientist or water quality biologist."

Jordan and other fisheries folks use meters to measure both water temps and dissolved oxygen at the same time.

YSI Water Meter

"Stressed fish don’t feed – fish hatchery personnel will tell you this. In lakes that stratify, cool water lies below warm surface water. This occurs on many lakes across the muskie range. A temperature profile can help determine if the lake stratifies. Be careful fishing these lakes, especially if you fish deep. Muskellunge inhabiting deeper cool water can be stressed by removing them from their preferred environment and subjecting them to warm surface water. A rapid change of more than 5-10 degrees can be deadly to fish. I suspect this is how most mortality occurs. Muskellunge inhabiting warmer surface waters are tempered to the ambient environment and should be less stressed if DO is adequate."

As they discussed on the podcast, it's kind of like a goldfish dying of temperature shock when you pour them from their bag into a new fish tank.

"Rivers seem to be the place folks turn to when water gets hot. Uniform temperature and high dissolved oxygen are listed as reasons. This almost always holds true. If water temperature alone stressed fish in rivers we would see massive fish kills each year when water gets hot.

"Plants give off oxygen…except when they don’t. Vegetation can boost DO when the sun is shining, however, at night plants stop producing oxygen and begin to take up oxygen in a process called biological oxygen demand (BOD). Highest BOD occurs just before sunrise. Early morning can be the time when low DO occurs in areas of vegetation and high amount of organic matter (muck bays). Remember algae is a plant and rocky areas tend to have much lower BOD."

The biggest problem is the limited amount of science available on this topic. That said, there's a lot of assumptions being made by anglers, as Jordan lays out here:

"Is your sonar temperature gauge accurate? My guess is that most units are calibrated once (if at all) at the factory, then never again. I own multiple brands. Each brand gives me a different temperature. Which is correct? Based on what I see on social media there is a world of difference between 79 and 80 degrees. What if our sonars are lying to us?

"What if different stocks (strains) handle hot water differently? What if we see floating muskies in the hottest part of the summer because that’s when they tend to float? What if 80 degrees IS the time to stop? What if other factors influence delayed mortality and what if muskies are tougher than we give them credit for? Current available research doesn’t do a good job of answering these questions. Hopefully future work does! One thing I know for sure is that it’s not as simple as a single water temperature reading."

Just some food for thought!

No one's trying to discount the anecdotal experience of guides and anglers who are on the water everyday – we just wanted to share another perspective.

The more you know.... the better you can make informed decisions!

Here's your sign....

Musky fishing can be a grind – plain and simple.

Sometimes it feels like you need some serious divine intervention to put a 'skie in the boat. Other times, it feels destined to happen. Here's a few of those times:

Not gonna lie, I'd feel pretty dang confident slinging my bucktail under this fishy-lookin' cloud formation. (via Tristan Marten)

Musky Cloud

When you're cruisin' down the road on the way to the lake and you see this cloud, you know the muskies are going to be extra-snappy.... (via Tony Horsman)

Muskies in the Sky

When good ole Mother Natural reminds you to figure 8 after every cast, you better hop to it! (via Jeremy Glessing)

Figure 8 Cloud

And that's not the only time she's caught someone being lazy with their eights. 😉

Looks like Tom Johnson saw the exact same "signal from above". Hopefully they both had their GoPros ready for the impending boatside strikes!

Boatside Cloud Formation

If you've got any cool musky cloud shots, send 'em our way! We'd love to see them.

Buzzin' Up Muskies

Just got done watching the once-per-year musky fishin' TV show from AnglingBuzz.

This one had MN stick Jeremy Smith as a guest host. You can click here to watch:

AnglingBuzz Musky Show

One thing that stuck out was Jeremy's answer to this question:

"If you could only pick ONE musky rod, what would it be?"

His pick was a 9' medium-heavy power, fast action stick.

That might come as a surprise to some of you, as I'd guess most would pick something a little stouter.

St Croix Musky Rod

He likes the 9 foot length for throwing baits a long distance, fighting fish and boatside maneuvers. He likes the medium-heavy power for throwing smaller baits (double 8's, jerkbaits, twitch baits, etc.) and also for trolling.

Basically, he understands this might not be as good for hucking pounders, but it's going to be better for smaller presentations, which he prefers anyway.

Throughout the show, he talks about the power of smaller bucktails and hard baits and how you don't need to tear your rotator cuff throwin' massive baits to catch big muskies.

If you were stuck with just ONE rod for the rest of your musky fishin' career, what would YOU pick?

Reply to this email and let us know!

Boatside Smackdown

It's been a good long while since we've highlighted some savage boatside strikes, so here's a few of our favorites from the past few weeks:

1. You've gotta love it when the lake is flat calm, an aggressive musky smacks your bait on the eight.... and the GoPro's turned on. Great clip from Ryan Ellis!

Figure 8 Musky

Here's another boatside bucktail burner from SG Angling on Stonewall Jackson in West Virginia:

Bucktail Figure 8

Last but definitely not least, check out this suuuuper hot musky that drilled Joe Andersen's bucktail on the second turn.

(If the GIF is too big to load, click here to watch)

Lake of the Woods Muskies

BTW – Joe's brother Jeff Andersen recently posted a video with some figure eightin' tips – it's worth a watch. 👍


– US/CAN border shutdown extended until Aug. 21 (link)

– Jim Saric’s Summer Speed Tips (link)

– Northern WI river float fishing w/ Angling Anarchy (video)

– Northern WI Musky Fishing w/ Burnin’ Eights (video)

– Following Loons & Peak Periods w/ Gord Pyzer (link)

– 2020 ICAST Best In Show Products (link)

– Trolling muskies follows on underwater camera (video)

– Bob Benson on hot temps on Vermilion (video)

– 24-hour life of a mayfly w/ Nat Geo (video)

lake labssupernatural big baits


Huge congrats to Josh Severtson on cracking his new personal best musky fishin' up in northern MN. This midday bruiser ate a Bull Dawg and was just a hair short of double nickel status!

Northern MN Musky

Jordan St. Louis smashed this 52 inch Lake of the Woods monster castin'-and-burnin' an 8/9 Stagger bucktail. Not bad for his FIRST musky!

Lake of the Woods Musky


Here's another first-ever musky – big congrats to Sheri Murtaugh on popping this 49 inch brute, one of two fish on the day!

Cave Run Lake Musky

Wanna be featured on Musky Insider? Send in your recent trophy musky photos by replying to this email. You might just see your pic in next week's newsletter. 🤙

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