According to Utah Fishing Information, tiger muskellunge are predatory fish that are a cross between muskellunge and northern pike. They have gray to green vertical stripes on their pale, torpedo-shaped bodies and can reach over 50 inches long and weigh over 30 lbs. Often raised in hatcheries for release in Midwest waters, tiger muskellunge are usually easier to catch than pure muskellunge. They also tend to bite more readily than muskellunge, although it still takes many casts, and they put up a good fight when you hook them.
Items you will need
- High quality reel
- 5-foot graphite rod
- 20- to 40-lb. test line
- Steel leader
- Brightly colored lures
- Stick baits
- Jerk baits
Use a good quality reel to fish for tiger muskellunge. Use a light graphite rod about 5 feet long that won't wear you out as quickly as a heavier rod. Fit 20- to 40-lb. monofilament test line with a steel leader up to 18 inches long to prevent the tiger muskellunge's sharp teeth from cutting the line.
Fish with bait that resembles the usual diet of tiger muskellunge. They usually eat fish such as minnows, carp, suckers and yellow perch, sometimes adding small muskrats, ducklings and mice to the menu. Good bait that looks like prey includes 4- to 6-inch long lures in neon colors, jerk baits, stick baits, spinner baits or jointed crank-baits.
Find a fishing spot tiger muskellunge are likely to frequent. This includes in beds of weeds, on sharp drop-offs and beneath fallen trees. Look for an area that contains a lot of logs, large-mouth bass or an open hole located in the midst of heavy vegetation.
Arrive at your fishing hole by the time tiger muskellunge are known to bite, which is usually the first hour and a half after the sun rises and the last hour before it sets. They tend to bite more in the spring and autumn months when water temperature is about 70 F.
Drift or troll in a boat at a speed less than 10 miles per hour, or cast and retrieve to catch tiger muskellunge. When using spinners, allow the bait to sink before you begin to retrieve. To retrieve crank-baits, reel as fast as you can. As you come close to the end of retrieval, make a figure-eight motion with the tip of your rod to entice tiger muskellunge to hit your bait. Give a firm jerk to set the hook, and bring the fish to the side of the boat quickly, removing it from the water with a net.
Tips & Warnings
- Be sure the tiger muskellunge is of legal size if you're going to keep it.
- Follow the laws and regulations for the area you're fishing.
- Remove hooks from tiger muskellunge with a jaw spreader or wire cutters to avoid the sharp teeth.
- Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources: Muskellunge
- Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission: Muskellunge and Tiger Muskellunge Management and Fishing in Pennsylvania
- Utah Fishing Information: Tiger Muskellunge (aka Tiger Musky)
- Utah Outdoors: Facts About Tiger Musky Fishing in Utah
- The Baltimore Sun: Big, Battling Tiger Muskies Becoming Potomac Fixtures
- Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images