Follow muskies according to water temperature

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Muskie fishing is influenced by many factors. Water temperature is one of the most crucial factors.

In this article, we explore the correlation between water temperature and the depth at which muskellunge can be found.

We will also detail the behavior of muskellunge in different temperature ranges and provide fishing tips for each thermal zone.

Water temperature (°F/°C)Approximate depth (feet)Behavior
Below 40°F (4.4°C)More than 20Less active
Between 41°F-50°F (5°C-10°C)15 à 20Slightly active
Between 51°F-60°F (10.5°C-15.5°C)10 à 15More active
Between 61°F-68°F (16°C-20°C)5 à 10Very active
Between 69°F-73°F (20.5°C-22.5°C)5 à 10Very active
Above 74°F (23.3°C)More than 20Less active

Water temperature below 40°F (4.4°C):

Muskellunge are less active in cold waters, moving slowly and feeding less.

They prefer deeper waters, possibly beyond 20 feet, to find warmer zones.

For fishing in these conditions, the use of larger, slow-moving lures such as jerkbaits or live baits like large minnows is recommended.

Water temperature between 41°F (5°C) and 50°F (10°C):

In this temperature range, muskellunge become slightly more active but remain quiet compared to warmer temperatures.

They can migrate to slightly shallower areas, around 15 to 20 feet below the surface.

Lures resembling wounded fish or slow-moving fish, such as jerkbaits or larger crankbaits, are effective.

Water temperature between 51°F (10.5°C) and 60°F (15.5°C):

Muskellunge are more active and begin to move in search of food in this temperature range.

They can be found in medium to slightly shallower depths, around 10 to 15 feet.

Big lures like crankbaits or jerkbaits, especially near structures, are recommended.

Water temperature between 61°F (16°C) and 68°F (20°C):

Fishing becomes exciting as muskellunge are very active, moving around more in search of food.

They tend to move to shallower areas, possibly around 5 to 10 feet below the surface.

The use of larger lures such as Spinnerbaits or Bucktails is recommended.

Depth chart for muskie fishing according to water temperature.

Water temperature between 69°F (20.5°C) and 73°F (22.5°C):

Muskellunge are very active, often on the move in search of food.

They continue to frequent shallower areas, probably around 5 to 10 feet below the surface.

Large lures such as surface baits, bucktails or jerkbaits can be effective.

Water temperature above 74°F (23.3°C):

They become less active and move more slowly, seeking out cooler areas.

They seek cooler, deeper water, potentially beyond 20 feet.

Larger, more attractive lures such as Bucktails or surface baits are recommended, retrieved at a slower pace with occasional breaks.

Happy fishing!

Water temperature plays a crucial role in locating muskellunge at different depths. With the information provided in this guide, you'll be better equipped to stalking the majestic muskellunge in all thermal conditions.

By the way, if you're looking for a place to fish for muskie, check out our interactive map!


  • Fishing 101

    Fishing enthusiast who loves to explore and learn. I like to try out new tricks and share what I discover with other anglers. On, you'll find my tips, techniques and anything else that can make our passion even more exciting.

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