Tips to help you shake off the winter rust for muskie opener
Alyssa Lloyd
By Alyssa Lloyd

Alyssa is a photojournalist and angler based out of Kenora, Ontario.

Last Updated: February 24, 2021


Unlike walleye season, muskie takes a bit more preparation. This isn't the season of 12lbs test line–this is the season of 100lbs test line, 80lbs flouro or heavy gaged wire leaders and even heavier baits. All gear, lures, and anglers need to be in working conditions.

Some folks take is as far as lifting weights and doing stretches leading up to season opener, and we aren't saying you shouldn't take it that far. It's actually not a bad idea. 

Below are a few reminders as muskie season ramps up. If you're feeling confident about these key components, take a look at this article: 10 Ways to Lose a Muskie


No matter what species, season or body of water, checking the fishing regulations should be at the top of your list, especially lake exceptions

Muskie opener in Sunset Country is the third Saturday in June each year. Exceptions vary depending on where you are fishing, for instance, 54" is required to keep on Lake of the Woods, and on Lac Seul, there is no possession limit whatsoever for muskie. 

Read and understand the regulations before you head out on the water. 


This can't be stressed enough. You can do everything right and still lose a fish from underperforming hooks. Hook files can be found at your local tackle shop or ordered directly online. Be sure you have one in your kit before June 15th, because after a winter of sitting in storage, your hooks will need a face lift.

Muskie rarely hit when you are prepared, make sure your hooks are sharp and doing their job so you don't miss out on a fish of a lifetime. 


Most muskie anglers do not need to be reminded about how to handle fish properly and ethically. However, it's a good idea to share that message with others you're spending time on the water with. 

Below is a video filmed at Crawford's Camp, it's a great example of ethical fishing handling. 

Here's a check-off list: 

  • Unhook the fish in the net in the water
  • Leave the unhooked muskie in the net while you gather and get your camera ready 
  • Once you're ready for photos, lift the fish appropriately, supporting its weight horizontally 
  • While you pose hold your breath so you're conscious of the fishes need to breathe 
  • Release the fish into the water holding their tail until they are ready to swim away 


A net large enough to hold a short adult and long nose pliers to help with release without maiming hands or the fish. Don't forget, cutters preferably with long handles that will snip muskie hooks with little to no trouble. If you or your boat partner get hooked, you'll be glad you brought them.

Cutters also help with unfortunate hook placements that can't be removed from fish until the barbs have been cut. These sorts of incidents happen, but having the proper tools to deal with them when they do, makes a world of a difference. For yourself and the fish.


If you need any help planning a muskie trip of your own, head over to our Accommodation Finder where you can search accommodations that offer muskie fishing, guides, boats, and so much more. We wish you an incredible season full of muskie here in Sunset Country!