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Jason (The Fisher)

It seems every muskie know it all around now pushes fishing the proper moon phases as the "fail safe way" to boat a giant fish. With that reality in mind I know up front that this article will cut against the deep feelings of many a muskie "specialists" teachings, but for crying out loud can we please add a dose of measured thought and common sense to the "moon phase" debate we carry on in the muskie fraternity? My experience concerning moon phases and the pursuit of muskies has been-

1. The weather pattern is 100 times more important than the moon phase. By that I mean--give me stable weather patterns that have the fish on a consistent pattern as opposed to a favorable moon phase any day of the week. After all, who gives a rip if it is a favorable moon phase if the most wicked cold front of the year has just passed and dropped water temps by 10 degrees?

2. So many guys fish by the moon phase concerning muskie that it puts 10 guys on the water now during a good moon phase to every 1 on a "non favorable" moon phase. That means a bunch more guys competing for ,at best, a very limited number of big fish in a watershed. You almost have to get in a bread line to fish a major spot during a prime moon phase on a major Minnesota , Wisconsin, or sometimes even Canadian, muskie fishery now days. If there is any doubt about that try to set up on Blueberry Island or Gohere Bay on Lake of the Woods during a peak moon phase ! Yours is just the next lure in a line of 50 they may see in the day.

3. I have gone totally contrarian in response to this "moon phase phenomenon". I avoid the major moon phases UNLESS I find underfished or little known waters. Give me a stable weather pattern in a bad moon and it will outfish cold front or bad weather patterns in a good moon. HOWEVER--if one can find a stable weather pattern in a good moon on an underfished (read few boats there but you!) fishery then my experience has been Katy bar the door--it is trophy time if you know the waters you are on!

4. Like all things, the moon phase is a percentage "upper" but ONLY if not out performed by other variables (such as fishing pressure due to more boats on the favorable moon, cold fronts, water levels, seasonal predispositions of the target species).

The moon charts/phases are like any other tool in pursuit of muskie---they are a TOOL, NOT the Holy Grail of esox pursuit that will make up for weakness in fishing skills/ability , mastery of lure presentation, use of adequate equipment for the fish, or the ability to interpret the system in which the fish lives.

5. It is MUCH MORE IMPORTANT to perfect our basic fishing skills and knowledge of the species and their system that will enable an angler to consistently put more fish in the boat. In that case it really matters very little whether we are on good or bad weather patterns, good or bad moon phases, good or less than desired water levels. There is no "magic potion". Just a great deal of mental computing that let's you put high percentage lures in high percentage places a high percent of the time that makes esox angling more successful.

Well that's my 2 cents worth--know it probably cuts against the grain of much teaching in the esox world today but it seems to me that common sense is more important than the latest fad. I agree that your most important fishing resource lies in the 6 inches of gray matter between your ears.

Good Fishing To All,

The Fisher

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