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  • Writer's pictureSteven Paul

Post Spawn Tennessee Musky Fishing

Early Spring Tennessee Musky Tactics

As the Dogwoods bud and the Bradford Pears cast thousands of blooms to the wind Southern Muskies take to the shallows. During this early season migration muskies have a singular purpose, the spawn. Muskies generally spawn in shallow muddy, sandy bays that would typically hold vegetation during summer months. Often terms like spawning flats, shallow bays and back waters are bantered around as locations that muskies tend to spawn across the habitat range.  

I would mention as an aside that not all muskies spawn in shallow areas. It has been proven that in some bodies of waters muskies can and will spawn at depths as great as twelve feet. This is a rarity but is piece of muskie trivia worth contemplating. I would note that Tennessee muskies and their Southern musky brethren spawn in areas that are anywhere from one through four feet in depth.  Southern anglers should take heed that actively spawning muskies are not interested in eating and should be left alone for the betterment of local populations. Protecting spawning fish, muskies included is the reason many states have closed season for game and sport fish.

Targeting post spawn southern muskies can be highly productive but is often a highly temperamental endeavor. Daily success if often dictated by weather patterns and their associated temperatures as even the slightest “cool off” can push post spawn muskies deeper or turn them into non eating sluggish beasts. Over the years the prime post spawn southern muskies days tend to be on the warmer side of the spectrum. Hot afternoons with a light breeze seem to be the best of the best as chilly rainy days yet again make post spawn muskies lethargic. Unfortunately, we do not have control of the weather but as anglers we can make adjustments for cooler less than prime days. With this in mind let’s take a look at some alternative tactics for less than prime condition post spawn muskies.

The first option isn’t a muskie lure at all but is a time-tested bass presentation, rubber lizards. Conceptually approach these bass lizard like a tiny Bulldawg or other musky soft plastic. A rip and pause method can be deadly over shallow flats but a lift fall jigging motion should not be over looked. The reason I tend to use bass lizards over say a micro musky plastic is the hang time allowed by the unweighted nature of the bass plastic.  I will rig these lizards with a single large bass hook and will add lead if need to my leader via a rubber core sinker.

Another bass consideration for post spawn muskies are large bass crank-baits. I have had repeated success with the deep diving Livingston Lures Howler when muskies have moved to the outside edges of spawning areas. This deep diver can be used to make repeated bottom contact and float ups to illicit strikes from negative and neutral muskies. Rips, pulls and taps turn deep running bass crank-baits in to erratic presentations.

While it may sound obtuse trolling rattle traps with weight added to the trolling leader or using a Dipsy Diver can be a deadly tactic. I will often troll large four-inch rattle traps in this manner when I need to cover large spawning flats and the adjacent open water areas.  The running depth of your rattle trap is easily controlled using either methodology allowing for low and mid speed trolling speeds.  If you need to cover large areas this a primary consideration, especially if the current conditions are sub prime or headed in that direction.

While post spawn Tennessee muskies seem to recover quickly and will make moves on small and mid-size muskies lures sooner than later a little outside of the box thinking can help you net a true trophy during the early post spawn period. Downsize, slow down and saturate know holding areas is the key for post spawn Tennessee muskies.


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