How to Get Out of a Summer Muskie Drought: Part 3 of 6: Fishing the Open Water

This is part three of a quick six-pack of fishing solutions that often work for myself and others. Part two touched on fishing muskie in windy conditions. Check out the links to the other five fishing solutions at the end of each segment at the bottom of this article.


Fishing the “open water” -- or basically, the middle of the lake (in many cases) -- for suspended summer muskies can be very effective. Like fishing after dark and fishing in big waves, there is little direct pressure (see a recurring theme here?) on these fish. Muskies will generally be living in the top 1/3 of the water column now (smaller pie to slice).

While these fish can be spread out – and in the case of larger waters, there’s a lot of area to search – in many cases, they’re not so spread out. Their only structure, really, is their food. Finding roaming, not-hungry esox does no good. Hungry fish will be by food. Open water forage very often groups up; more often than not, in fact. So find the forage fish.

This can be done with electronics and your eyes. Often, birds like gulls, loons and cormorants will give away the presence of forage fish. And often, groups of forage show up on electronics. Concentrate, if possible, on the edges of bunched-up forage, because that’s where predators will concentrate.

Look for food and then fish around it. Trolling is very effective for this, and overall, most effective. But predators will bunch up in these areas – the majority of predators may be in a pretty small percentage of space. So, once fish are found, casting can be very effective, too. When trolling, it’s a big oversight to just continue on down the lake after a fish hits. Rather, mark the spot and concentrate in that area for some time, as often there will be several fish to be had.

Part 1: Summer Muskie Drought: Night Fishing

Part 2: Summer Muskie Drought: Windy Conditions

Part 4: Summer Muskie Drought: Topwater Presentations

Part 5: Summer Muskie Drought: Speed Trolling

Part 6: Summer Muskie Drought: Fishing Lures  


Note: If you have questions or comments on this or other articles of mine you may have read, contact me through the website The Next Bite.