Pressured Musky Tips – Truth about Mille Lacs – Different Bucktail Strategies

Pressured Musky Tips – Truth about Mille Lacs – Different Bucktail Strategies

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Thorne Bros

Pressured Muskies

When you're talkin' musky fishing on pressured waters, there's a lot to consider....

The hardest of the hardcore have learned that it's all about attention to detail if you wanna have success on ultra-pressured fisheries, like the metro lakes in the Twin Cities area.

Ryan McMahon, who guides in that neck of the woods, had an awesome seminar earlier this year over at Thorne Bros, discussing how he catches muskies despite the crazy pressure he's faced with in the metro:

Pressured Muskies

Here's a couple quotes from the video:

"On pressured waters, I don’t want to prematurely move a fish off a spot. If I know there’s a big fish sitting on a point or an ambush spot that’s poised and ready to eat, I don’t want to go there midday when there’s no moon events.

"I don’t want to move that fish if it’s going to follow 10 feet behind my bait, see my boat and lazily swim off – I don’t want to educate that fish."

This is something to keep in mind no matter where you fish.... and it's something less experienced anglers don't often practice.

When you've located a 'skie that's not ready to bite, it's definitely important to plan the next few hours leading up to the moon event (rise/set/overhead/underfoot) so you're ready to pounce on the spot when the time is right!

Here's another good piece of info from the seminar:

"The Metro lakes are so busy right around sunset. If you can wait until dark-dark – an hour after sunset – that can be the time to get them. A lot of times, you’ll go when the sun is setting and everybody’s trying to drive back to their docks or the landing. If you can wait another hour into the night, I think you’re going to have a lot better chance of getting those fish to bite."

Definitely something to consider about next time you're thinking about calling it quits early!

If you fish the Twin Cities for muskies, you won't want to miss the class we're hosting next week (April 8th) with Ryan McMahon and Josh Borovsky: Metro Musky Fishing Mastery

Josh and Ryan have an incredible amount of experience on those lakes, and they'll be sharing loads of information that will significantly increase your success rate chasin' metro muskies.


Hope to see you in class!

The Mille Lacs Debacle

Remember when Mille Lacs was arguably the best musky lake on the planet?

Well... if you're looking for a data-based explanation, you NEED to check out this video from Josh Borovsky:

Mille Lacs Musky Populations

He shares some A+ data and graphics that tell the story in plain English.

Spoiler alert: It has a LOT to do with stocking numbers....

Btw, we already touched on the 2021 Mille Lacs Management Plan the DNR announced last week, and it's NOT TOO LATE to share your input – do it today if you can!

Fill out this survey and send your emails to the local Fisheries Supervisor, Tom Heinrich (

Summer Bucktail Tips

Leech Lake Musky

Still a LONG ways away from summer musky fishin' – but it's never too early to start daydreaming, right??

MN guide Isaiah Hahn has some interesting do-the-opposite strategies you might wanna consider this year.

BTW, Isaiah is one of the instructors at the Minnesota Musky School outta Agency Bay Lodge this August, which should be a stellar event!

Here's his first tip:

Muskie Nugget #1: It is all about SPEED!

"Once we enter the heat of the summer, I like to fish fast and the concept of covering as much water as possible is critical. However, remember every other muskie angler out there is probably employing the exact same tactic as well. Not only that, but they are also probably fishing fast and utilizing the most popular muskie bait that exists, the bucktail.

"When I see a lot of angling pressure on the lake, especially on a lot of my favorite “go-to” muskie locations, I do a complete 180. I still utilize a bucktail, but often use a BIG bladed profile bucktail and slow my bucktail retrieval speed way down (aka slow rolling) during those daytime periods.

"Slow rolling bucktails in the middle of the day just over the tops or on the edges of large cabbage weed beds or over the numerous rock reefs and rocks piles on Leech Lake can be the ticket and can trigger those toothy critters into biting."

Okay, so try slow-rollin' during the day.... and here's Isaiah's do-the-opposite strategy for nighttime fishing:

Muskie Nugget #2: It is all about SPEED²!

"When fishing the dog days of summer, you will often see more angling pressure during low-light periods and well into the night. This is for good reason, muskies eat! If you are a muskie angler who is not fishing well into the night, you are missing out. Most muskie anglers have probably heard or have learned the importance of fishing slowly and methodically at night, again probably utilizing big bucktails and slow rolling them.

"Once again, I like to throw a curveball at the muskies, especially when I see lots of angling pressure at night, so I do the exact opposite. At night, I still like employing BIG bladed bucktails, but I like fishing them high and FAST, and I mean fast.

"Tough to say you are actually 'burning' the blades, because they are usually such a big profile that it is quite difficult to do, but fishing them FAST is key. Yes, this method can be a workout to say the least, but it can pay off in a big way. Sometimes even boiling the blades so they bubble the surface of the water can trigger a non-biter to chow.

"Crazy, right? Everything you have learned not to do when fishing at night. All I can say is try it, especially when fishing pressured water because it works!"

Here's a few of Isaiah's favorite bucktails from left-to-right: Thorne Bros Musky Mayhem Heavy 10's, the Musky Mayhem Supermodel, the larger-sized MuskyFrenzy Staggers and Kramer Bros Tickers (and Woodticks).

Musky Bucktails

Special thanks to Isaiah Hahn (You Bet! Guide Service) for the writeup and make sure to check out the MN Musky School this summer – should be an awesome event with guys like Isaiah, Matt Seifert and other Leech Lake musky assassins.

April Foolin' Around

Gotta love April Fools Day! Here's a few of the best fishy posts we saw yesterday on the socials:

Not sure how many fish you're going to catch on the VMC Tirebouchook, but you could definitely use it as a corkscrew bottle opener in pinch! 😂

VMC Hooks

Almost thought this one from Sam Scott (Blue Ridge Musky) was real.... 😉

Musky Eats a Bear

Your wife might love your new pastel colored outboard, but it's going to KILL the resale value of your boat – even in THIS market. 😂


This boat/snowmobile crossover would almost definitely be a best-seller north of the border:



– Thorne Bros Spring Sale, Apr. 10-18 (link)

– Pure Fishing bought Plano (link)

– Sweet musky catch on this week's MHTV show promo (video)

– 2020 MN Musky Fishing Montage w/ Luke Swanson (video)

– Fall musky fishing on the Ottawa River (video)

– WI DNR looking for public input (link)

– Virginia Muskies Inc. Chapter 76 event, May 22 (link)

– Big fall musky catch from Hayward, WI (video)

– Iowa fish hatchery operations are startin’ up (link)

Musky Mayhem TackleAgency Bay LodgeStealth Tackle


Nope, this isn't a 2020 summer fish.... Marc-André Paquette caught this 54 x 26" mega-tanker on the St. Lawrence River this March (2021) while the season was still open 💪

It's always important to handle fish with care, especially during the prespawn period (where musky fishin' is legal). This big gal was carefully released to pass on those A+ genetics! 🧬

St. Lawrence RIver

I can't get over how beautiful the markings are on this Canadian "Leopard" musky from Jade Fogarty#prrrr

Tiger Musky Ice Fishing

Ryan Elizondo's first musky of the year is one of those rag-tailed, box-nosed Rocky Mountain snubbers. Gotta love it! 🔥

Snub Nose Musky

Another beauty tiger – this one from 10k Outdoors on Pool 2 of the Mississippi River while castin' Rapala Husky Jerks for walleyes.

Mississippi River Pool 2 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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