Fly fishing for musky on a big lake can be very intimidating. The musky part already stops most people….then you add fly rods and a huge windy open body of water....sounds fun, right?!
Here in the upper Midwest we are blessed with an abundance of rivers AND lakes (especially the huge flowages and lakes!) full of big musky. Most of them have awesome access and tons of information on the internet about good musky spots! And yet, when it comes to fly fishing, lakes intimidate the hell out of folks.
We thought we'd put together a few helpful pointers to make your next big water experience a bit better!
Beyond having a boat capable of handling some of this big water, what else can you do to help stack the odds in your favor for catching a musky on the fly?
1. Play the wind - on lakes, the wind truly is your friend. Learn to love her and work with her. Find the areas being beaten down by the wind…and also the calm areas out of the wind. Yes, that is contradictory, you thank the musky. When it comes to casting and boat position, try to cast across or downwind and position your boat and drifts appropriately so you’re not dragging your flies back alongside the boat. Also, check out drift socks!
2. Take advantage of the lack of movement - rivers give a pretty clear idea of where fish might be but they also pose challenges for really working a spot thoroughly. Lakes are the opposite! Use that to your advantage and work structure from multiple angles…switching up your flies, lines, speeds, etc. Make sure to come back to a spot later if you moved a fish earlier!
3. Adjust your gear accordingly! Put an emphasis on flies that run a little bit deeper, throw off a bit more flash, and/or have some sort of sound. This can give more confidence when working a vast body of water. As for gear, size up and switch up. I mainly use a 12wt paired with a variety of lines. Intermediate, sink 4/5, and a sink 8/10 are usually the three I have in the boat for lake fishing (whereas I might only have one rod with intermediate line and a spare spool of sinking line on the river).
Hope this helps a bit. As always, reach out or call the shop with questions. Good luck and enjoy yourselves out there on your next lake adventure!