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Created by Scott McKee Oct 31, 2018 at 1:09pm. Last updated by Scott McKee Oct 31, 2018.

Thank you, Jay!

This site is sponsored by NMA Member Jay Nannen.

Thought I'd start a thread for newer members or musky anglers such as Joe. A place to start and answer the questions new anglers may have. 

Joe, in regards to what lures work best you may want to check our annual Catch and Release reports. They are under the Release Reports Tab at the top of the page. There are many ways to catch a muskie here (and anywhere), but the lures listed in our annual release reports are the ones which our members have found to be most productive for the Niagara. The reports go back 25 years. 

It is always easier to learn how to approach the Niagara by fishing at least once with an experienced angler. You should at least be able to learn the basics. Eventually you'll decide what type of fishing you enjoy most (casting, jigging, or trolling) and what works best for you. Don't expect to start catching big muskies, or any muskies, right away. There is a learning curve and catching muskies on the Niagara isn't any easier here than the Cassadaga. So if you go out with someone don't be too disappointed if you don't catch a muskie first time out. You'll learn more every time out which will eventually improve your ability to catch. But be aware, muskie fishing will humble the most experienced of us. The key to successful musky fishing is, and always has been, time on the water.

I'm not sure when I will be going out next, but I'll let you know if I need a partner. On he Niagara, you may want to have both a NY and Canadian license, as half the river, and some of its best fishing, is on the Ontario side.

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Joe do you catch muskies in the Lewiston Reservoir?
I havent but i have had a few good sized ones follow my bass jigs right to me on the rocks. Ive also talked to a few locals who see them eat baitfish in the morning and evening with the smallmouth. Im hoping i can get lucky tonight. Ill be there around 5 and fish till dark. I really wish you could put a boat or kayak in there haha
maybe top water baits from shore

Finally got a chance to sit down and go over the maps of the Upper river. I was blown away by how much data was taken and recorded for that file. I will be making some adjustments to my lures in the near future. Needless to say i would very much like to get to the sweet side of strawberry island haha. Is that area accessible by kayak or are the waters to rough?

I have no experience in the river with a kayak but I can offer where my imagination takes me... first the current anywhere away from the shoreline is inconceivably strong and unpredictable from a man powered vessel. You'd likely be spinning in circles while being dragged downstream and have difficulty setting up on any structure. To make things worse I'd imagine that a snag would result in a certainly lost bait, or maybe even turn the nose of your kayak into a diving lip like on a crankbait. The majority of us use 80lb as a minimum, sometimes wrapping like around boat cleat, and drive far upstream of a snag to get it out. Which can happen dozens of times throughout a day. I've seen people out there in kayak's but not fishing. I would think actually hooking up to a river beast would put you, your gear, and the fish at risk. Not trying to be negative at all, the thought of what you're suggesting is thrilling for sure

Joe Klaczyk said:

Finally got a chance to sit down and go over the maps of the Upper river. I was blown away by how much data was taken and recorded for that file. I will be making some adjustments to my lures in the near future. Needless to say i would very much like to get to the sweet side of strawberry island haha. Is that area accessible by kayak or are the waters to rough?


There's a kayak launch at the Town of Tonawanda marina at the foot of Sheridan Drive. Problem with launching there is that you would have to cross the river channel to access Motor and Strawberry Islands. Okay early mornings, but lots of boat traffic, some big boats with big wakes, in the afternoon and weekends.

There's also a canoe launch at the southern tip of Grand Island. I believe it's part of Beaver Island State Park. I do know that kayakers launch there. It's directly across from Motor Island and gives you immediate access to the shallows between Grand Island, Motor Island and Strawberry Island.

That area is full of weeds and fish (not just muskies).

That being said, I have no experience fishing from a kayak and don't know anyone who targets muskies from them. I think it would be a challenging task.

Joe I roll trolled for muskies once from a 16 foot canoe, when  I was just getting started into musky fishing.  I was trolling a deep diving ernie bait and I hooked fought and landed a low 30' s musky. the first problem with a kayak would be storage of a musky sized landing net. It can be done with a little ingenuity.  Tony's suggestion of launching out of South tip of GI  is a good one.

Every year (last Saturday in July) a "Paddles Up" event happens that's a paddle trip around the southern tip of Grand Island.  There used to be a paddling tour from Grand Island into the lagoon at Strawberry before the main event. I don't know if that still happens. It was an early Saturday morning before all the weekend traffic wakes up. Try this link. It looks like BN Waterkeeper is sponsoring it this year so a phone call might be in order.

Okay lets talk leaders. Ive been using 80lb fluorocarbon with a crimped barrel swivel and snap. Just curious was the opinions were on wire vs heavy line. What are you guys using?
I use single strand stainless steel wire for all my musky leaders. I don't want to kick the hornet's nest, but I have personally witnessed fluorocarbon leaders fail.
I'll be somewhat of a devils advocate and say fluoro does have its place in musky fishing. That being said it's not casting and definitely not with 80lb. When casting the lure often works far slower, far more erratically and often leads to the leader lining up at a bad angle to be shredded or the lure just engulfed like you often see with soft plastics. I've been bitten off once on a phantom softail glide bait and my boat partner was bitten off while jigging a tube. Both times with 150lb stealth fluoro. I've got pictures of baits just down a fishes throat with my steel leader sitting against those razors since and I'm thankful every time that I made the change. I will not cast with a fluro, leader 174lb single strand steel only for me and I see no disadvantages to that decision. Now for trolling I will at times use a fluorocarbon leader. I found that while trolling a multi rod spread on lakes like chautauqua or st. Clair with lots of action I had far more instances of fish rolling in the leader than I ever have fish putting the bait down there throat to the leader. In fact I've never had a trolling fish take the bait deep enough to get to my leader. So often while trolling I will use 150-200lb fluoro but I still wouldn't trust less than that. Now anytime bottom contact comes into play as it often does working structure on the river I'm right back to steel again. Often the angle of those deep diving baits allows the leader to contact structure as well as the bait and fluoro is just a bad idea in those conditions because you just cant see from up above how bad that piece of structure you intentionally bounced off of just damaged your leader.
Thanks John. I prefer casting for muskies over trolling (have yet to try jigging but I'd probably like it) so i think ill be trying out some steel soon. The only reason i havent was because i heard it ruins a lot of action for baits.

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