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TMF89

Best Lake For Numbers?

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Alright guys, as many of you may know (from my obscene amount of "newbie angler has a question" posts last year, lol), I just recently got into fishing muskies hardcore in the last year or so. However besides live bait, I have yet to boat a fish, or even get a follow. Granted, I haven't been getting out nearly as much as I should be. One thing for me is that I need confidence to do something, so for my first lakes to learn, I'd prefer lakes that have quantity over quality. At least then I'll know what to look for when fishing lakes with bigger ski's.

So I'm just wondering what lakes in the state you experts think are best for quantities of fish SEEN (I don't mind follows, although I'd like to get a few in the boat too, lol), not the quality of fish seen. Also, the easier the lake is to learn, the better, since pretty much all my musky knowledge is armchair, and I don't have much real-world experience.

If you guys could pick one or two lakes for the entire state, one or two for just the metro, and any tips/advice you have on said lakes, I'd REALLY appreciate it. I think new guys besides myself could really benefit from a "how to boost your confidence" thread like this one, so I'm really looking forward to your replies. Thanks guys!

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I don't know if anyone is going to announce about lakes with high numbers of muskies publicly on the board.

But the best advice I can give you is pick one lake and really try to learn it. The lake I fish perplexed me for two years and then last summer something just clicked and I boated several nice fish on a pattern over a month and a half. I think it's really more about taking the time to figure out a lake than just finding a lake with large numbers of fish.

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In general, the lakes that are 2,500 acres or less are "number" lakes IMO. However, the bigger lakes can be "number" lakes when figuring out a specific pattern and area. The smaller lakes are just easier to learn as there is a lot less water to fish and cuts the learning curve down.

I don't fish the metro much, but a few lakes that are no secret would be Minnetonka, White Bear, Forest, Waconia, and Bald Eagle (in no particular order). All have big fish and numbers. Hiring a guide for a day can cut the learning curve down tremendously.

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Great advice in kustmoboy's post. Pick one lake and stick with it for a while. Eliminate water and focus on sections of the lake untill your confindence grows. Then apply it to other lakes or rivers once things start making sense. Everyone here will probably tell you the same thing; the first couple are the toughest.

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Look at the number of fish stocked in the lake and then look at how many acreas are in the lake!! Some lakes get a huge amount of fish for how small they are. And if you want quality fish look for those lakes that got stocked a ton in the mid to late 80's cuz the avergage fish there will be a good number that you might like!!!

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Another source of information is the Minnesota DNR. I'm not totally sure they still do this, so take it with a grain of salt. Lakes they use as brood stock lakes typically get stocked with 50% more fish. Last I read, they only use Lake Rebecca (electric motor only) for stocking purposes, but keep a couple other lakes at the ready in case something goes wrong at Rebecca (like a bigger version of the die-off they had two years ago). Plantagenet is one of those lakes, I think Big may be one as well. Little Wolf? I forget for sure. Really, if you want numbers, go to Wisconsin, they stock for numbers, Minnesota stocks for size/trophy potential smile

The other option is to go to lakes (or rivers!) with natural reproduction as those aren't limited to 1/1.5 per littoral acre, but what mother nature provides.

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If you can get away from that livebait under a bobber thing you will find more people willing to share as well. JMHO

There are a lot of small lakes

in western Wisconsin, with good numbers of smaller Muskies, or try a shoepack strain lake in MN. They aren't as big (20 lbs is a big fish) but they are very aggressive and they can at times, be much easier to catch.

"Ace"

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Thanks, I should make that clear. I don't plan on using live bait on any new lakes I fish this year. I have a couple local lakes that I fish live bait on (with quick-strike rigs, and the fights & out of water time is kept to a minimum), and I'll stick to those lakes.

Since I'm trying new lakes, obviously I want to keep moving, and you can't go very fast with a bobber, lol. Where is the Shoepack Strain? I haven't heard of it before.

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If you want numbers of ski's.....try lake Shopeck. I believe its in the Boundry Waters. A guy told me they were up there for 2 days and caught over thirty five muskies, but not one of them was over 33".

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It's not a huge secret that lakes like Bald Eagle, WBL, Alex, Sham, Indy, Harriet, Calhoun all have good populations of 'skies. I don't think any of the metro lakes are low on numbers and there are big fish to be had in all of them, your WHERE isn't so important as WHEN most of the time.

Can't point you toward just one certain lake, wouldn't want to spend all my time on just one, but a search of old posts, fishing reports, or Muskies Inc records will give you some leads on where to start early, where to look in summer, and where to fish in the fall.

Anytime I fish a new lake I usually study a map and find the 2 or 3 biggest flats, or break the lake into smaller sections. Look for inside/outside turns, breaks/contours, inside/outside edge, etc. Pick an area that allows you to cover the most good looking spots possible and fish hard. Watch what other boats are doing. Using your GPS to mark follows and fish is crucial.

Fish new areas deep and shallow and inbetween instead of running all over just fishing the deep edge. With some luck, at some point in your day you'll have some action and be able to narrow it down. Having fished well up to that point, you can go back and find similar spots.

More important than anything is meeting other people who are fishing the same lakes. Two of the major tips I got last year were from casual conversations with buddies who don't even fish all that much, and I've got a few other friends who put crazy hours in on the water that I talk to constantly. Not hard to meet people to fish with at MI meetings!

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I will also say that talking to people at the boat launch can be helpful. Alot of times I will talk to the bass and walleye guys and hear about accidental muskies and they are willing to share more information about where and how they caught them than muskie fishermen.

Also, you can be friendly to other muskie fisherman on the lake. I have been known to chat with people fishing muskies and have shared information. One night we moved a number of fish on topraider style baits. Another boat came by use working around an island and we traded info. We saw them at the boat launch and after talking to us landed a 42 incher on a topraider on a different spot.

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I too have the bug, and am looking at getting my first ski this year. Well I did catch a 22" ski on a crank fishing for walleye, does that count?

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Shoepack Lake is in Voyageur's National Park on the Kabetogama Peninsula. The only way to access the lake is by hiking a little over 2 miles in to Little Shoepack and then portaging again to Shoepack itself. The muskies don't grow very big due to their genetic isolation in the lake, although they grow fast. The lake doesn't see a whole lot of pressure and the muskies are the only predators in it. Not too long ago there was a story about Shoepack in the Minnesota Conservation Volunteer, it should be available at the DNR's HSOforum if you're interested.

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If you want numbers I hate to say it but go to WI. Bone and Deer right across the boarder have a very high population/acre. If a guy put a gun to my head saying we had to have a 2 fish day that's where I'd go.

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Bone doesn't have those numbers any more. Not after the last two winters.

It's still got numbers. Sure the population is only half what it used to be, but that's still a lot of fish. It's about the only lake I can say that I always see a fish on. There's been days when I've seen 5 fish before I could even make my first cast...

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Im kind of surprised about all the talk of Wisconsin lakes. There are good fish in Wisconson but there is no way I would make the drive there if I live in the cities!! Minnesota lakes have numbers and size and the drive time would be the same if not shorter!!

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Right on BL13, why put more miles on your trailer when we have what you are looking for. I'm not sure we have numbers lakes, each lake has numbers and size structure. I'd start out with the closest muskie lake to where you live and learn it from the start of the season to the end. Better than trying 10 different lakes you never get a pattern on any of them, sure you might hit it right on certain days only to go back and wonder what happened. Then venture out to new close waters. Last year opening day I boated a 52.5 and a 45 and saw maybe 12 more skies, the next day same weather and fishing those same spots and we saw zero. So the first day was a numbers day and the 2nd day was a kick back to the realities and frustrations of fishing these beasts.

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Guys, how far are this wisconsin lakes from the cities, roughly? Are they pretty easy to figure out/fish?

Bone is probably a little over an hour and a half from St. Paul. Deer is less than an hour I would imagine. Bone is really simple to figure out, there's points, weeds, and big piles of rocks the DNR is kind enough to mark for you. Deer is a little tougher as it has less structure but the water is clearer. Deer also has a higher % of fish over 40 to go after.

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Quote:
I'd start out with the closest muskie lake to where you live and learn it from the start of the season to the end. Better than trying 10 different lakes you never get a pattern on any of them,

smile i love rivers for just this reason. on the croix if i travel and fish 10 miles of river i basicly just fished ten different lakes. and a few days later if the level changes a few or more inches i can fish that same stretch again and fish ten completly different lakes than i did before. never bored. never boring. always different. that's why it's so quiet on the muskie front i guess. people give up because it's so hard to get used to fishing new stuff all the time in the same spots. me? i love it. smile and the mississippi, from downtown mpls through pool 2 down to 4? lol, no contest, the best muskie waters around IMHO. wink

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