by Sadie Marcheldon
Eagle Lake, at seventy miles long, is a diverse and exciting body of water. When it comes to hunting for monster Muskies, Eagle Lake is an angler’s paradise.
Muskie season opens the third week of June on the lake. While the fish are often up in shallow waters at this time, as the season moves on towards summer and the waters get warmer, deeper weed beds, rocky reefs, sand flats and island points are all excellent Muskie grounds.
Later in the season, deeper underwater structure in the main lake provides great fishing.
Eagle Lake at Sunrise. Photo by Sadie Marcheldon
The Search Begins
Eagle is a big lake and can be hard to fish for the first time, or even the first few times. The best way to get familiar with the lake is to talk to locals, lodge owners, or even others fishing out on the water. Most people are willing and able to share information. Many lodges will have guides available and it might be a good idea to invest in a few guided days, especially if you want to score a big fish.
It’s not unheard of for lodge owners to lend out the cards for their depth finders that have all the weigh points mapped where they’ve been successful fishing before. Muskie spots may seem top secret, but most lodge owners really want their guests to have a great, successful time fishing.
Maps of the lake with marked points are also available at local stores in the area and can be helpful in finding reefs and rocky points to start.
In the earlier summer months, deeper weed beds off even deeper areas are a great place to start, though these spots might not be as effective in later summer months.
Casting or trolling off the points of islands or casting at shallow reefs often produces exciting results.
Most maps will have these spots marked, but there are usually floating beacons or raised beacons on the lake, indicating a reef. Deeper, unmarked reefs can be found by trial and error and a good depth finder or a good map.
Later into the summer, search for the underwater structure deeper in the main lake.
The Lure Of Choice
Muskie hunting can be a bit of a trial-and-error experiment when it comes to lures. As the summer moves on, it’s likely best to upgrade to bigger baits. A variety of sizes ranging from eight inches all the way up to large sizes, like twelve inches, can all work depending on the day.
While some anglers prefer to use baits that mimic the colour of perch or walleye and find great success with these, other anglers prefer brightly coloured plugs, including flashier bucktails, spinner baits or vibrant Bull Dawgs.
Casting bucktails, spinner baits, jerkbaits, or even plastic baits like Bull Dawgs or large plastic plugs like Grandma Lures, over reefs, sand flats or off the points in the first half of summer, can produce some exciting results. Later in summer, casting or trolling deeper structure or deeper points is probably going to be the location of choice.
Casting And Trolling
Some anglers love to cast for the fish, while others find better luck trolling large plugs or Bull Dogs behind the boat.
In summer, some people say speeding up the troll is more effective. When casting, a Muskie might follow the lure right to the boat before they strike.
Practice the figure eight technique to induce a fish to strike at the boat, but don’t be surprised if a monster fish just comes to take a look up at the boat and swims just as quickly away.
Muskies are said to be ‘the fish of ten thousand casts’ and may require some tireless fishing and extreme patience. Don’t give up and you’ll be rewarded!
Upgrade Your Equipment
As with all things fishing, the best thing to do is come prepared. When it comes to Muskies, that entails upping your game, equipment-wise.
Many anglers use heavy rods, and some even use saltwater equipment, with rods ranging from over six and a half feet all the way up to eight feet. Heavier reels and heavier test all the way up to one hundred pounds with upgraded leaders and snap swivels aren’t out of the question.
Remember, Muskies at Eagle often range in the 50”-55” range and are commonly caught in the 40- to 50-pound range, and can weigh in north of that.
It might take a bit of effort to get the hang of Muskie fishing, dial in the right equipment, or find the ‘right’ spots. Eagle Lake isn’t a small body of water and offers endless possibilities, so it might take some time to learn the terrain and get a feel for technique and what lures work best.
Even if you don’t catch anything at all, remember that fishing is good for you. Eagle Lake is truly a beautiful escape into the unspoiled Canadian wilderness.
Eagle Lake at sunset. Photo by Sadie Marcheldon
Sadie Marcheldon is a contributor to FishingTech.com, helping anglers find the best fish finders, trolling motors, and fishing pedal kayaks. Sadie’s love of the outdoors came from a rural Saskatchewan upbringing and fond memories of fishing on handmade poles and digging clams.
Sadie works with Monsterfish Lodge on Eagle.