Night Fishing for Musky: Full Guide

by Tim Mueller

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Night musky fishing is a very special kind of fishing that happens under the moonlight, so it’s a bit different from what you might be used to during the day.

But how do you fish for Musky at night when it’s dark and you can’t see as well?

In this guide, I’m going to answer exactly that by talking about what makes it unique, why it’s fun, and how you can do it successfully.

Whether you’re a pro fisher looking for a new challenge, or a beginner who’s just getting started, this guide will help you learn everything you need to know about night fishing for Musky.

So, let’s get it going!

Understanding Musky Behaviour at Night

The first thing you need to know about night fishing for Musky is how these fish behave when it’s dark.

Musky, like many other fish, change their behavior based on things like water temperature, how much light there is, and what kind of food is available.

At night, the water gets cooler, it’s darker, and different types of fish become active which affects how Musky behave, including how active they are, what they eat, and where they like to hang out.

On that note, one thing to consider is that there’s usually less human activity at night. The quiet and calm of the night can make Musky more active.

Now that we know a bit about Musky at night, let’s look at some helpful tips for night fishing for Musky.

Tips for Night Musky Fishing

Night fishing for Musky is a unique experience that requires a different set of strategies compared to daytime fishing.

Here are some tips that can help you make the most of your night fishing adventure.

  1. Target Specific Areas: Musky tend to frequent certain areas such as weedy zones, drop-offs, humps, and shallow bays. Pay special attention to these areas when you’re out on the water at night.
  2. Use Noisy or Vibrating Lures: In the darkness, Musky rely more on their sense of hearing and feeling vibrations in the water to locate prey. Lures that make noise or vibrate, like poppers, crankbaits, and bucktails, can be very effective.
  3. Fish Near the Bottom: Musky often feed near the bottom of the water body at night. No matter what bait you’re using, try to keep it close to the bottom to attract Musky.
  4. Experiment with Different Colors: While some anglers prefer simple color choices for their lures, don’t be afraid to experiment. You might find that certain colors work better in your specific fishing location.
  5. Be Patient and Persistent: Night fishing for Musky can be challenging, but don’t get discouraged if you don’t get a bite right away. Be patient, keep trying different strategies, and stay positive. Your persistence will pay off.

Remember, every fishing trip is a learning experience.

Take note of what works and what doesn’t, and use that knowledge to improve your strategies for your next night fishing adventure.

Preparations Before Night Fishing For Musky

Here are some of the things I always do before I head out on the water:

Check the Weather and Moon Phase

Before I even think about packing my gear, I always take a moment to check the weather as it’s a factor can greatly influence Musky behaviours.

I do this because musky tend to be more active during stable weather conditions and rapid changes in weather, such as a sudden drop in temperature or an approaching storm, can make them less active.

Some anglers believe that Musky are more active during certain moon phases too.

For instance, during a new moon when the night sky is darkest, Musky tend to move around less intensely, but for longer periods. This means they might not dart around as quickly or as much, but they stay active for a longer span of time.

Regardless of the moon phase, whether it’s a new moon or a full moon, the times of the day when the moon is just rising or setting are often when Musky are most likely to bite. This holds true no matter what the moon looks like in the sky.

Prepare the Right Gear

Over the years, I’ve found that certain equipment can make a big difference for catching musky at night.

Firstly, a good headlamp is a must-have. I mean, I believe it’s important to have a reliable source of light when you’re fishing in the dark. I particularly prefer a headlamp that I can dim to avoid disturbing the fish. Not only does it help me see what I’m doing, but it can also help me spot any movement in the water.

Next, I always pack a variety of lures. At night, Musky rely more on their sense of hearing and feeling vibrations in the water to locate prey. So, I find that lures that make noise or vibrate, like poppers, crankbaits, and bucktails, can be very effective.

Long-nose pliers are another essential tool for Musky fishing. They’re useful for handling the fish and removing hooks, especially if the fish is deeply hooked. I usually carry a standard length 8-inch pliers, and a much longer one for those hard-to-reach hooks.

Plan Your Fishing Spots

Musky have certain areas they prefer, and knowing these spots can significantly increase my chances of a successful catch.

Weedy areas are often my first stop when I’m targeting Musky at night. During the day, Musky tend to stay near the edges of weed beds, but as the sun sets, they often move closer or even right into the weeds. I’ve found that if I can cast my lure just off these weeds, I’m likely to get a bite sooner or later.

Drop-offs are another favorite spot of mine as these are areas where the water depth changes rapidly, and they often attract a variety of fish, including Musky. I usually cast my lure near the edge of the drop-off and let it sink, mimicking a wounded fish that’s an easy meal for a hungry Musky.

Safety Preparations

Over the years, I’ve developed a few habits that help ensure I stay safe while out on the water.

Firstly, I always let someone know where I’m going and when I plan to return. This way, if anything unexpected happens, someone knows where to look for me. I usually share my fishing location, the time I plan to start fishing, and the time I expect to be back.

Secondly, I always pack a first aid kit. Even minor injuries can become serious if not treated promptly, especially when you’re out on the water at night. My first aid kit includes bandages, antiseptic wipes, tweezers, and a snake bite kit, among other things.

Thirdly, I always carry a life jacket when I’m fishing from a boat, even knowing I’m a strong swimmer. Accidents can happen, and a life jacket is a simple precaution that can save your life.

And, I always bring a fully charged phone with me. Not only can it be used to call for help in case of an emergency, but it can also be used to check the weather, navigate, and even take photos of any Musky I catch.

Boat Preparation

ight fishing presents its own unique challenges, and a well-prepared boat can make the experience much smoother and safer.

First, I always check that my boat is equipped with the necessary safety equipment. This includes life jackets for everyone on board, a throwable flotation device, and a fire extinguisher. I also make sure I have a sound-producing device, like a whistle or horn, as required by law.

Secondly, I ensure my boat’s navigation lights are working properly as these lights are crucial for visibility at night, helping other boaters see my boat and preventing collisions.

Thirdly, I check the condition of my boat. I make sure the engine is running smoothly, the fuel tank is full, and there are no leaks or other potential issues. I also check that my fishing gear is securely stowed and won’t move around while I’m on the water.

Techniques For Night Fishing For Musky

Over the years, I’ve honed a few techniques that have proven successful in my night fishing adventures. Here are some of them:

Using Sound and Vibration

One technique that I’ve found particularly effective when fishing for Musky at night is to use lures that create sound and vibration.

At night, Musky rely heavily on their sense of hearing and lateral line to detect prey and lures that create noise or vibrations in the water can attract Musky from a distance and trigger them to strike.

Fishing in Shallow Waters

Another technique that can be effective for night fishing is to target shallow waters.

During the warmer months, Musky often move into the shallows to feed at night so casting your lure into these shallow areas can often result in a bite.

Using Lighted or Glow-in-the-Dark Lures

Lighted or glow-in-the-dark lures can also be effective for night fishing.

These lures are designed to be visible in low light conditions, making them easier for Musky to spot and I’ve found that these lures can be particularly effective on dark nights when the visibility is low.

Figure-Eight Casting Technique

One casting technique that I’ve found to be particularly effective when fishing for Musky, especially at night, is the figure-eight casting technique.

This technique involves moving your rod tip in a figure-eight pattern as you retrieve your lure, which can trigger a following Musky to strike.

Musky are known to follow lures without striking, often right up to the boat and by using the figure-eight technique, you can often entice a following Musky to strike, even at the boat side.

This technique can be particularly effective at night when Musky are more aggressive and more likely to strike a lure near the surface.

Best Night Fishing For Musky Rod

St. Croix Rods Mojo Musky Casting Rod, MJM


  • Construction: Premium SCIII carbon construction
  • Handles: Custom Winn Split-Grip handle
St. Croix Rods Mojo Musky Casting Rod, black cherry metallic, 7'6"

This rod is made from premium high-modulus SCIII carbon, which gives it unparalleled strength and durability meaning it can handle the powerful strikes of a Musky and withstand the rigors of night fishing.

One of the features I love about this rod is its integrated poly curve (IPC) mandrel technology whicheliminates transitional points in the rod blank, resulting in smoother actions, increased strength, and greater sensitivity.

This can be a game-changer when you’re trying to detect a bite in the dark.

The rod also comes with a custom Winn split-grip handle. This handle is not only comfortable to hold but also ensures a strong grip, even in wet conditions. This can be particularly useful when you’re fishing at night and the conditions can be more challenging.

Lastly, it also features Kigan Master Hand 3D guides with slim, strong aluminum-oxide rings and black frames designed to reduce friction and enhance casting performance, making it easier to cast your lure accurately, even in low light conditions.


  • Premium SCIII carbon construction that offers robustness and longevity, ensuring the rod can withstand the powerful strikes of a Musky.
  • Integrated Poly Curve (IPC) Mandrel Technology provides smoother actions, increased strength, and greater sensitivity, enhancing your ability to detect bites.
  • Custom Winn Split-Grip handle to ensure a firm grip, even in wet conditions, providing you with better control over your rod.
  • Kigan Master hand 3D guides reduce friction and enhance casting performance, allowing for more accurate casts.


  • At 9.0 oz, the rod is somewhat heavy

Other Gear For Night Fishing For Musky

Aside from a good rod, there are several other pieces of gear that I’ve found to be essential for night fishing for Musky.

Here are some of them:

  1. Proper Lures: As I mentioned earlier, the right lure can make a significant difference when fishing for Musky at night. Noisy or vibrating lures, such as poppers, crankbaits, and bucktails, can be particularly effective in the dark.
  2. Good Quality Line: When fishing for Musky, a good quality line is essential. Musky are powerful fish and can easily break a weak line. I usually opt for a high-quality braided line, as it offers a good balance of strength and sensitivity.
  3. Headlamp: A headlamp is a must-have for night fishing. It allows you to see what you’re doing and keep your hands free for casting and reeling. I prefer headlamps with adjustable brightness settings, so I can adapt to the lighting conditions.
  4. Net: A good net is essential for landing a Musky. Musky are large, powerful fish, and trying to land one without a net can be a recipe for disaster. I prefer nets with a large, deep bag and a long handle, as these make it easier to control and land a Musky.
  5. Pliers and Hook Cutters: These tools are essential for removing hooks from a Musky’s mouth. Musky have sharp teeth and strong jaws, and trying to remove a hook without the right tools can result in injury.

Frequently Asked Questions

1) Can musky see at night?

Absolutely, muskies can see at night.

These creatures are highly-visual hunters and their eyes are well-adapted to low light conditions. At night, they tend to scour shallower waters in search of vulnerable prey. This is why night fishing can be such a successful strategy for catching musky.

2) What lures to use at night for musky?

I believe noisy or vibrating lures, such as poppers, crankbaits, and bucktails, are particularly effective in the dark. These lures create disturbances in the water that can attract musky, even when visibility is low.

3) What is the best depth for night musky fishing?

As explained, muskies are known to frequent shallower waters at night, particularly areas near weed beds or drop-offs. These areas offer muskies a great place to hunt for prey, making them prime spots for night fishing.

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Hi, I’m Tim Mueller, a fisherman from Michigan. During all my life I loved fishing and everything that surround this activity. After many months of thinking about it, I’ve decided to create this website to provide the best advice for fishers all around the world.