Lake St Clair Musky Casting  
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lake st clair musky fishing
Musky Hunter Magazine,
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Authority," covers muskies
and musky fishing in every
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found, as well as Canada.  
Lake St Clair Musky Fishing
By Captain Steve Kunnath
Casting - Lake St Clair Style
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record size lake st clair muskie
musky casting gear
Lake St Clair Musky Fishing
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Musky Hunter Magazine - your complete guide to fishing for muskie in North America

A guide to the basic musky fishing strategies and casting techniques of
fishing for Lake St Clair muskie
I am always asked by people about why I love fishing for Lake St Clair musky so much. Its not an easy
question to answer, but after explaining  it always seems to leave them very excited and intrigued. And
experiencing it for themselves can get anyone addicted to this madness of fishing for Lake St Clair musky as
well. Its just something about casting for a toothy predatory fish that is 40-50” or bigger and being able to
see its dark menacing shape  appear 3ft behind your lure and have it strike just under the surface right next
to the boat. Musky fisherman use lures the size of fish that most people catch! There are many species of
game fish to target in Lake St Clair but nothing in freshwater compares to fishing for these wolves of the
water. Its great to be able to have a world class fishery full of musky like Lake St Clair right here in the
Lake St Clair’s Musky Paradise
Lake St Clair’s musky fishery is now regarded as one of the worlds premiere places to pursue and chase
North America's most voracious fresh water predator. The Lake St Clair system which contains
Lake St Clair,
St Clair River
, and Detroit River has more musky per square mile than anywhere else in the world. One
estimate reported that there are more than 50,000 muskie over 30” in Lake St Clair alone.
There are a number of factors that exist on Lake St Clair that are the ingredients to a world class musky
fishery. The lake covers 420 square miles, has an  average depth  of only 10 feet, receives a constant flow
of cold clean water from Lake Huron, vast shallow flats that are the perfect spawning grounds, and  71 miles
of 20-50ft deep fast flowing current in the St Clair River and Detroit River that are full of musky. These are
just a few of the great things that Lake St Clair has that create some of the best musky habit in the world.
Also many years ago it was normal for the lake water to be a muddy color. Now after the accidental
introduction of the zebra mussel the water is at times almost gin clear making it very easy for musky to see
and be more efficient at feeding on their prey. But the biggest factor that keeps St Clair as a world class
Lake St Clair Musky Casting
Ninety percent of Lake St Clair’s musky fishing is done by trolling. One of the most common methods is
using planner boards and trolling large plugs behind the boat covering many miles while sitting and waiting
for a musky to strike the plug. This is a productive method, but in my opinion there is nothing more boring
than sitting in a boat waiting for something to happen! Casting for musky is quickly gaining popularity on
Lake St Clair. Many fishermen that have experienced catching a musky by casting agree it is a much more
up close and personally rewarding way of landing a trophy fish of a life time. I have many customers that
have trolled for years and have landed many Lake St Clair musky and had a lot of fun. But after hooking
into a 45” musky on a medium action bait casting rod right at the side of the boat, the trolling just isn’t as
appealing to them anymore. Consider that while casting, 50% of your musky will follow your buck tail spinner
right to the side of the boat only 1 yard from where you are standing and make a ferocious strike only a few
inches below the surface as you watch. Seeing a monster musky do this can create some of the most
exciting adrenaline rushes you can experience in fresh water fishing! Just the sight of a musky following the
lure up to the boat can leave even the most seasoned fisherman breathless and shaking. Think about
seeing it strike and peel line off your real and jump 3 times like a tarpon as you fight it with casting rod in
hand. And no Lake St Clair musky casting article would be complete without bringing up local musky fishing
legend, guide and Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Famer Muskie Bob Brunner. Bob has been fishing for musky
on Lake St Clair for over 78 years and he is still guiding. Robert Brunner is undoubtedly the person most
responsible to getting people started into casting for musky on Lake St Clair. His many books on Lake St
Clair musky fishing provide priceless information on how to effectively go after musky with a casting rod.
Catching Musky
Casting for musky has often been referred to as the fish of 10,000 casts. At times it can seem that way and
can be down right frustrating if your fishing in the wrong areas and improper techniques. If it was really that
hard and took that long none of us would be doing it and I would definitely be out of a job.  
It's all a matter of being in the right place and doing the right things at the right time. There is a reason that
10% of the fisherman seem to get 90% of the musky. They simply have put in the time and effort and really
stuck with it and learned the tricks that will get them fish again and again.
Sure everyone has heard about the Lake St Clair smallmouth bass fisherman that gets into musky every
now and then while tossing tubes. But going out and targeting musky on purpose and being successful on
a repeat basis without driving yourself nuts is a whole different ball game. Many people fish Lake St Clair
for many years never to even see a musky let alone get one in the net. They are simply just doing the
wrong things in the wrong places.  Many years ago when I first started casting for muskie it took me 2 years
to get a fish over 40” into the net. After that I repeated the same steps and things started to fall into place
as I learned more and more. Now it is rare that I go out and don’t get into some type of musky activity every
time. For the rest of this page I will share a few things that can really help anyone get started towards
catching more Lake St Clair musky. I could go on and on and fill pages and pages but here are a few of the
basic high lights and things to get started. There are some more very important details but those I have to
reserve for my customers.
The most important factor to Lake St Clair musky fishing is being in the right place. Casting for musky is a
numbers game. It’s all about putting your lure in front of as many musky in a day as possible to increase
your odds. I used to try to cover as many areas and as much water as I could in a day like we would for
smallmouth bass. We occasionally got fish this way but it was mostly luck. And as the saying goes, “I would
rather be lucky than good any day.” However for most of us life does not work that way. I quickly learned
that some spots have no musky at all while others have huge numbers in a small area.  So the trick is
finding key spots that hold high concentrations of musky which will greatly increase your odds and work
these areas very hard over and over. I might spend 1-2 hours on a key spot and come back to it a few
times in one day. Some of them might be as large as the entire mouth of a major channel, or even as small
as a 20ft long rock pile isolated by itself miles from shore. Most fishermen find these key locations that hold
musky by trial and error which can take an entire season or two, or even longer!
One of the most important factors that can save you a ton of time is that no matter where you are, you
have to fish key structure. On Lake St Clair more often than not that means weed beds. No weeds = no
muskie (generally). And just any weed bed wont do. There are some major weed beds that look great and
should hold many fish that I have never caught anything in.  Look for areas that have good weeds that are
close to drop offs, sand bars, peninsulas and points etc. And having some current can be a good thing as
One good way to locate key areas even before heading out is a GOOD map. With a maps you can study
all the key details and weed beds etc before ever hitting the lake. With a good map an experienced musky
fisherman could theoretically pick out some great spots without ever having been on the lake before and
be successful. Each spring I study maps looking for new areas.   Investing in a good GPS/Sonar-
Chartplotter is also an excellent idea. I use a Humminbird 786c2 with a digicard for Lake St Clair mapping
software. The 786c2 is the best system I have used. I have all my spots marked and with the chartplotter I
can easily view every detail on the lake and find the exact spot I need. One great advantage is that anytime
I have a strike, a follow up, or land a musky I quickly mark it on the GPS and I can easily go right back to
that exact spot every time. Otherwise on the big water of Lake St Clair that musky hot spot you just found
could become a needle in a haystack!
One clue to a good area is the presence of other predatory fish. Many areas that I fish on Lake St Clair
that hold good numbers of musky also have 4-6lb smallmouth bass and pike over 30”present. If you find a
spot that has fish like this, most likely there will be musky nearby for the same reasons those fish are there!
I often talk to walleye and bass fisherman at the boat launches. Most Lake St Clair walleye fisherman
detest musky which often interfere with their fishing and they are more than happy to give up info about
One of the most productive and famous areas on
Michigans Lake St Clair for casting to musky is Anchor
Bay. Some of the largest fish I have seen in the lake have been in the Anchor Bay area. I fish the bay
often, however I think many musky fishermen overlook that the rest of the lake has some excellent musky
spots as well. There are some exceptionally good areas that I fish that are along weed beds etc even 5-8
miles out from shore in the main lake that have very little fishing pressure or are virtually unknown to most
musky fisherman. I would say that a majority of the musky casting on Lake St Clair is done in Anchor Bay.
Although I am finding out more and more that there are great areas in other regions of the lake as well as
the St Clair and Detroit Rivers that produce great fish that rarely if ever see a musky lure. I think the most
underutilized productive musky area just might be the St Clair River and along the shipping channel in the
The overall best resource you can use to find good musky spots and to learn how to effectively catch more
fish by far is hiring a guide! In one eight hour day you can be shown many prime locations all over the lake
and be taught new techniques that could really increase your musky skills. I often hear “oh but they cost so
much,” but when you really look at it you could be saving a great deal of money, and most importantly you
will save TIME by hiring a Lake St Clair musky guide or charter captain! The cost of a guide is nothing
when you think of the time spent searching for new spots or trying to learn the lake when you could be
productively fishing instead. Now throw in the price of $$ gas! At the same time a good guide will not only
be getting you into fish but teaching you everything he knows. I love it when I have customers out and I
take them to one of my better spots and I get the reaction of , “ This is it? I have passed by here a 100
times and never thought of stopping to fish this weed bed.”
When to fish for musky on Lake St Clair
I am often asked about when is the best time to go fishing for musky on Lake St Clair. I fish for muskie from
when the season opens on the first Saturday in June until late October when I put the boat away. I catch
muskie the entire season, but my most productive months are June through early October. After the first
part of October the catch rate goes down, however late October through November is the time when the
largest fish are usually caught.
As for times of the day the musky is a rare species in that it can be caught anytime during the day or night.
Unlike smallmouth bass where it is usually best in the early morning or late evening, a musky can be
caught 24hrs a day. You are just as likely to catch one at 1am as 1pm. I prefer fishing for them during
daylight hours for obvious reasons but when it’s calm at night it can be pretty exciting using top water lures
and listen for the huge crash on the surface. I usually fish with clients for musky on Lake St Clair from  9am
until about 5pm. Its sure beats getting out at 5am for smallmouth bass and it offers the best light conditions
for seeing the musky follow the lures up to the side of the boat. You can loose a lot of muskie by not being
able to see the follow ups. After looking through my log books and records of musky catches if I had to pick
one hour of the day to fish for musky it would be 2pm. When I first started casting for musky on Lake St
Clair I asked Muskie Bob Brunner, when is the best time to go, and his reply was, “When ever you can.” I
have to agree with him and say that there really is never a bad time to fish for musky!
Lake St Clair Musky Fishing Gear
When it comes to gear for musky fishing there are thousands of rods, reels, lines, and lures to choose
from, and it can be pretty confusing. In the last few years I have learned to keep it simple and have
narrowed it down to some personal preferences that I have learned from experience that work best. The
most important thing when going after musky is that you need to buy good quality gear. A big musky will
tear apart a cheap low quality fishing reel and saving a few bucks on fishing line can cost you a trophy fish.
Don’t cut corners $$ when it comes to gear.

With musky fishing by far the most popular fishing rods are bait casters. They sell everything from 6ft rods
to 9ft rods with light to extra heavy actions. There is a rod out there that has a purpose and design for
anything a musky fisherman can do, but how many of us can afford or use that many rods. If you want an
all around great rod that can perform most of everything you will be doing with musky on Lake St Clair I
recommend a 7’6” medium or medium-heavy action rod with a line rating of 20-40lb test and a lure weight
of around 1-4oz. My personal preference and the rod I use on my guide service and for myself is the
Diamondback Royal bait casting rod. It’s an exceptional multi purpose rod and
Diamondback Musky Rods
are quickly gaining a reputation as the best rods on the market.
For those that do not like using bait casting rods/reels you can still do great with a spinning reel. In the
past spinning reels were thought of as inadequate for musky since they were not designed for large fish
and had weak drag systems. In recent years the salt water fishing community has changed that and you
can find them as strong as the bait casters. Use a spinning rod with the same specifications I listed above
and you can’t go wrong. A bait caster is more versatile but I have gotten many musky on big spinning
outfits on Lake St Clair.

Like I listed earlier, bait casting reels are the most popular and versatile set up to target muskie with. The
main thing you want is a reel with a good drag system. Even an average 40” musky can give a drag system
a good beating and if your drag fails, you are in big trouble! Musky don’t make very long distance runs
when fighting (usually), but when they run it’s very FAST and powerful and they will tear a cheap real up!
The Abu Garcia line of bait casting reels seem to be the most popular among musky casters and the
model I use myself is the Ambassadeur Record series. You can spend a lot more for a reel but this reel is
one of my favorites! When buying a reel some specifications you want to keep in mind are a 5.3:1 gear
ratio or less. The low gear ratios really help out when cranking in large/giant buck tails etc. I also like
having reels that can offer a line capacity of about 200+ yards of 14lb line.
If you are going to use a spinning real my personal choice for the price is the Shimano Slade 6000F. It’s
more than adequate for musky and can handle fish as big as a tarpon! It’s a work horse of a reel and I
have had many customers who didn’t want to use a bait caster land some nice musky on this outfit with no
problems at all.

Musky Fishing Line
When fishing for musky on Lake St Clair another important item you don’t want to cut corners on is the
fishing line. It’s the only thing connecting you to the lure that is holding that trophy musky. In the last 10
years the technology with fishing line has changed a great deal. Years ago I mainly used 20lb Trilene for
musky. It served its purpose, I caught many fish on it, and I was happy with its performance, and then came
along the new high tech braided fishing lines. Braided lines have many advantages for fishing for Lake St
Clair’s Musky and many other species. Braided line has almost zero stretch which greatly increases your
hook setting ability and you will connect with many more boney hard jawed musky. Many fisherman now
refer to monofilament as rubber band line. Braided line also has a much smaller line diameter so it casts
very easy  and takes up much less space on your reel. I used Power Pro braided line for a few years but I
recently switched over to Cortland’s new Master Braid fishing line. The Master Braid seems to be much
rounder, lasts a heck of a lot longer, and does not loose its color as quickly as the Power Pro line. I prefer
to use 50lb test which is rated as the same diameter as 12lb monofilament. 50lb test seems to be perfect
for musky. Some people prefer to have 80lb braided line but in my opinion that is a bit overkill, but it might
come in handy while fighting a musky if the line gets wrapped around a boat motor or a dock piling etc.
While I am writing about the fishing line I will mention a little bit about leaders that are used to connect the
lure to the line. Musky have many razor sharp teeth that can slice right through most fishing lines. In most
situations it is crucial to use a leader as a bite guard. Steel leaders used to be the best but I now only use
a 12” fluorocarbon leader. They are extremely clear, abrasion resistant, very flexible, and last much longer
than any steel leader. And the amount of large bass and walleye that I hook while casting for musky has
greatly increased due to having a clear almost invisible leader.
Lures for Lake St Clair Muskie
When you become a musky fisherman one adverse consequence is that many of us get obsessed with
buying muskie lures. There are literally thousands of muskie baits and lures on the market and it can be
down right addictive with thinking you have to have one of each of them. Musky lures are not cheap either!
I have known a few friends who have spent close to $50 a lure for certain custom hand made musky jerk
baits. That is pretty extreme, but on average most of your good musky lures will be between $12 and $20 a
lure. This might seem like a lot but you are buying BIG lures for BIG fish. This isn’t bass fishing!
One thing I have learned is to keep it simple. When out casting for musky on Lake St Clair you really don’t
need a huge arsenal of musky lures. Even if you could afford a few hundred lures, do you really have the
time to use all of them in a day on the water, or even in a week? Being in the right location at the right time
is much more important than having the perfect lure. And once you are in the right location having the right
lure will increase your chances even more!

Bucktail Spinners
The most productive bait you can use on Lake St Clair for fishing for musky is the buck tail spinner. I will
switch through a number of baits during the day with customers but I will almost always have at least one
person using a buck tail at all times. It’s just something about that big vibrating blade making noise and
flashing that makes a musky attack. I catch more musky on bucktails then anything else. You can buzz
them fast over weed beds, or fish them slow and deep. One of my favorite’s is the Brunner Runner Bucktail
hand made by Lake St Clair’s own Muskie Bob Brunner.  You can purchase his bucktails at his website.

After musky bucktails the next thing in my box I grab for are crank baits. Most of what I have are made by
Rapala. Rapala’s super shad raps are one of my favorite and I always have a good supply of these. When
the water is cloudy etc and visibility is low it is always good to have a few X-raps. The X raps are like a rattle
trap and they make a ton of noise under water. Another Rapala that is over looked because of its small
size is the J-13. These smaller lures catch a ton of musky and also are great for lots of pike, larger bass,
and walleye. When throwing J-13s you never know what big fish you will hook into. The best part is that
they are small and kids can cast them all day and still get BIG fish. Never underestimate musky lure
because of its size. I have had many muskie hit 2” bass lures.

Surface Lures
Top water and surface baits are not the most productive lures to use, but they are the most exciting. I can’t
even describe what it is like to witness a giant musky make a strike on the surface while reeling in surface
bait. Just think about what a bass does to a popper on the surface. Now think about a 30lb musky hitting
the surface at 30mph! My personal favorite top water bait is the Bucher Top Raider. I love using these on
very calm days or just before dark. It’s a great lure to use at night also. Just listen for the giant splash and
hold on tight. A mistake that many people make with top water baits, and also with bucktails, is that they
think they are only for shallow water. In the wed beds I mentioned earlier that I fish that are 5-8 miles from
shore I regularly get musky coming to the surface for top water baits and bucktails in water 15-20ft deep. I
have even had musky hit surface baits in 40ft of water in the North Channel. Musky will hear these baits
and come looking!

Musky Jigging
And the last type of lure I will talk about will be jigs for Lake St Clair, St Clair River and Detroit River musky.
Musky jigging
is becoming very popular on the Detroit River and St Clair River There are a number of jigs
that work well but with my experience the most productive jig I have used is the Storm Wild Eye Swim Shad.
Its 9” long, its hooks ride up (no snagging the bottom), and it has the best action out of any jig I have seen!
Another great jig is the Lil Hustler Super Swim Jig with uncle josh’s muskie strips as a tail. And there is also
the Bondy Bait. The Bondy Bait  was developed by Jon Bondy for musky jigging on the Detroit River and
has been getting a lot of attention and are worth trying. I only use jigs in the channels of the St Clair River,
the Lake St Clair shipping channel, and the Detroit River for musky. These areas have a steady current
and average 25-40ft deep. The musky usually hold close to structure on the bottom and jigging for them in
my opinion is the best way to pursue the St Clair and Detroit River musky. Jigging for musky can be
productive under most conditions but for me it really pays off when nothing else is working. Especially when
cold fronts hit.
Turning a follow up - into a strike
As I mentioned before that many musky will follow a lure right to the side of the boat and there is a trick
that can help turn that follow into a strike. The best way that I know is to do a circle with your rod tip and
the lure. As you see a musky appear behind your lure DO NOT STOP reeling but keep a quick steady
retrieve until your leader hits your rod tip and start moving the rod tip in the largest circle that you can.  
Most of the time, this will induce a very ferocious strike right in front of you. If a musky swims off quickly
cast out 15 feet again and start your retrieve. Its probably still close by and I have had muskie follow back
3 times before finally making a strike. Usually by that time your adrenaline is pumping and everyone in the
boat is yelling.
I used to use the popular figure eight that is used for pike fishing but I have found the circle technique to
be much better for big musky. It works so well that while bass fishing once I saw a musky positioned about
10ft under my boat off the mile roads. I grabbed a musky rod with a buck tail and started to do a circle and
that 45incher came up off the bottom and followed the bucktail for 3 laps then hit the lure. The hardest part
about doing all this is to remain calm and thinking straight and try not to freak out when you see a big head
with teeth show up. It is important that at the end of each cast to watch 3’ behind your lure as it
approaches the last part of your retrieve to watch for a follow and always be prepared! Some experienced
musky casters actually do a circle at the end of every single cast.

Don’t give up
One thing that I will pick to mention is that many fisherman give up to soon when casting for musky. It’s not
smallmouth bass fishing. With bass if you are 3hrs into a day and you have not caught anything its
obviously going to be a bad day. With musky you might be 5 hrs into not seeing a single muskie and not
yet know that it might be the best fishing day of your life.
For example I had a customer out the day hurricane Katrina hit. We didn’t even catch a pike or a big bass
and it was 7hrs into an 8hr trip. I took the customer back to a spot in a channel that we had been to 3 times
already, but I knew it held good fish. He was getting pretty frustrated and figured I was wasting his time. I
was about to call it a day as the weather was getting risky and I was going to hit this spot one last time on
the way back in. First cast he had a muskie, 6th cast he had a muskie, and the 10th cast he had a musky.
In all between landing the fish, taking pictures, and releasing them the time elapsed about 35 minutes.
After the third fish it shut right off and we never got another musky and the weather kicked us off the lake.
I believe that at times musky feed in short bursts and these feeding frenzies might last 25 minutes to an
hour and can end like some one shut off a light switch. It might happen once a day, it might happen
multiple times a day, but when it does you better be in the right spot that holds fish!  I have called friends
on a cell phone who were trolling 15 miles south of me and they experienced that action in the same time
frame that far away. Now what would really be scary is to get the number to someone in Minnesota.
Catch and release Lake St Clair’s muskie
I believe that one of the main reasons that we now have such a productive musky fishery in Lake St Clair
is that 90% or more of the musky fisherman practice catch and release. With as many people that are
fishing today and with all the factors in our environment that a musky has to face in its life it is best to let
them go so the same fish can be caught and enjoyed by many anglers and give it the opportunity to
breed more musky. Catch and release is the key to our grandchildren being able to experience the same
or even better fishing than we have now. By the time a musky reaches a trophy size of 45-50” you might
be looking at a fish that has been around for 18-25 years. And the large mature trophy sized females are
the ones that lay the eggs that guarantee future generations for us to fish for. Lake St Clair is an all
natural reproduction musky fishery. There is no stocking. The same blood line that was swimming in the
lake when the first Native Americans showed up thousands of years ago still swims in this lake.
There is no reason to keep a fish to mount it by a taxidermist anymore. All you need is a fair to decent
photo and some basic measurements and you can have a fiberglass reproduction or a custom urethane
carving produced. They look better than a taxidermy mount and will last generations longer. They will not
fade or crack like a taxidermy mount will after a few years. And most of all that giant female musky swims
off to fight another day.
What really gets me is the walleye and bass fisherman that complain about the musky eating all their
game fish and that there are too many musky in the lake and we need to start killing them. All I can say is
musky ,walleye, and smallmouth bass were existing fine in total balance for 50,000 years or more before
Christopher Columbus arrived and we started to mess up the ecological balance!  Just like Aldo Leopold
wrote more than 60 years ago, “Take care of the habitat and let the wildlife take care of themselves.” I
have read a number of studies on the diet of a musky, and game fish like walleye and smallmouth bass
are at the bottom of the musky menu. Do they occasionally eat a bass, sure I see it every year, but
studies show that a muskies diet consists mainly of high calorie soft fined fish, like baby carp, whitefish ,
suckers, shad, herring, juvenile catfish etc and especially sheephead! Muskie will eat anything that is alive
and will fit down their throat but when eating bass or walleye it’s mainly just a meal of opportunity.

Releasing musky
I have mentioned a great deal about how to get a musky into the boat, however most people I run into
really don’t know much about what to do once a musky is at boat side and then how to properly release it.
Getting a musky into the net isn’t that hard but what happens after that can be very difficult and harmful to
the musky and sometimes even yourself.
When landing a muskie I prefer to use a cradle net. My first experience with a cradle net was many years
ago while on a guided trip for giant pike and lake trout in Northern Manitoba. My Cree Indian guide had
one and I was extremely impressed. Once home I started using them for musky. The advantages to a
cradle net are that it is very easily rolled up and stored on even the smallest boat, it’s fairly easy to use,
and once a musky is in the cradle its mobility is limited and the musky is much easier to handle. With
normal large traditional musky nets once you have netted a big musky he has plenty of room to thrash,
role around and just plain make a mess out of everything. While this is happening the musky is injuring its
self, it is very difficult to manage, and there are treble hooks flailing all over taking a chance at hooking
into the boat and YOU! I hold the two poles of the cradle together until the musky is done thrashing then I
pull it in the boat and QUICKLY begin removing the hooks. At this time I cut the fishing line so the rod is no
longer an issue.
I use a lip gripper such as the boga grip or Berkley grip on the muskies jaw. If it starts to fight or thrash
again don’t hold it down with the gripper, this can at times break their jaw. Then I get out the extended
long needle nose pliers, a musky sized jaw spreader ( if needed) and start to remover the hooks. Keep
your hands clear of the teeth and moth because a musky’s ½” razor sharp teeth can do a number on your
hands. I have plenty of scars from being careless. If its taking more than 30 seconds to get the hooks out
put the musky back in the water for a few minutes holding the lip gripper and move some water through its
gills. And if the hook is getting to be too much of a pain in the butt just use a pair of small cheap bolt
cutters to cut the hook out. The part of the hook left in the fish will do far less damage then fighting with it
and keeping the fish out of the water to long. Just cut the hook off at the skin.
When fishing alone a cradle net is almost impossible to use. I prefer to get the fish up to the side of the
boat and in one fluid motion I grab the leader(not the fishing line) and while holding the leader I use the lip
gripper to secure the musky. Let it thrash a bit before bringing it into the boat. I would not recommend this
without a bit of experience though.
Take a quick photo and release the fish. I prefer to put the fish over the side and start up the minn kota
motor and put it on setting 2-3. This will get us moving good enough to push lots of water/oxygen through
its gills as I hold it with the lip gripper. Once the fish starts to fight and can remain upright on its own I grab
it by the tail, pull up, point the head down and torpedo it straight to the bottom. There is much colder  
water and much more oxygen 6ft under the surface. Using this technique I have yet to not have a musky
revive and swim off on its own. It is very important to NOT let the musky go until it can swim off on it’s
owns. Another last bit of advise is if you are using a lip gripper there is NO reason to hold a musky up for
a picture by the gill plate. This can severely damage a musky’s gills and you can get cut pretty bad
yourself by the gill plate.
Well I am glad to see that you have read this article this far and hopefully I have given enough basic
details to get any new or even experienced musky fisherman more information that can help them
effectively fish for Lake St Clair’s musky. Check back here often, as my writing here will be added to and
often changed as I am always learning something new everyday about the incredible musky. If you have
never fished for musky on Lake St Clair, what are you waiting for?  If you do, you will never look at bass,
perch, or walleye fishing the same way again! I have fished all over the world in fresh and saltwater and I
have yet to find a fish or place that excites me more than casting for Lake St Clair’s musky. And I value
everyday that I get the chance to evade reality and live a life as a Lake St Clair musky fishing guide and
charter captain.

Captain Steve Kunnath
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