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  • Writer's pictureSteven Paul

Tennessee Musky Fishing Report 2023

Updated: Jan 1

Tennessee Musky December Musky Fishing Report. December is truly a month of wild fluctuation in Tennessee. Tennessee Musky Lakes and rivers are in a swing state of warm afternoons and cold nights making for a mixed bag of presentations and opportunities. While warm days may call for casting colder mornings and the extended chill of some days may call for trolling. Simply put versatility is the key to success during the start of the long Tennessee Musky Fishing Winter.

Melton Hill Fishing Report | Tennessee Musky Fishing Report

Tennessee Musky Fishing January 2023

With warm conditions things are already off to a fast start for Tennessee musky fishing in 2023.

After a severe winter system moved through the region temps are unusually warm. These unique conditions have Tennessee muskies moving shallow. These shallow musky movements make for some dynamic casting scenarios.

Top Producing Casting Presentations :

Livingston Lures Titan - Color : Brain Damage

This dive and rise lure is easy to use and triggers strikes from negative and neutral Tennessee musky.

Joe Bucher Magnum Shallow Raider : Perch

This large flat sided minnow bait has a massive vibration and pulse at lower speed making it a winter staple.

Livingston Lures Pounder : Walleye

This jointed deep running crank bait checks all the boxes for as an effective winter musky fishing presentation. It runs deep but not too deep and has a fantastic action even at slower speeds.

Tennessee Musky Fishing

Top Trolling Presentations : Tennessee Musky Fishing January 2023

Joe Bucher Depth Raider :

This classic still gets it done and excels in the winter along breaks lines and structure.

Super Natural Headlock :

This monster trolling presentation has a massive action and wander that seems to make musky magic happen more often than not.


Tennessee Musky Fishing Report February 2023

Big Tennessee Musky
Tennessee Musky Fishingn

Winter musky fishing in Tennessee becomes a powder keg just waiting to explode as we get further into our short cold water season. Tennessee muskies start feeding aggressively as their biological cycle edges closer to the spawn. These February feeding windows are narrow, location specific and brief however they tend to deliver some of the largest and heaviest muskies into my net each year. Lunar cycles play heavily in the winter if water levels are somewhat stable making these bite windows a smidge more predictable.

Top Producing Casting Presentations for February :

Livingston Lures Titan - Color : Black

This dive and rise lure is easy to use and triggers strikes from negative and neutral Tennessee musky. Using the heavy weighting or even both weights drives the Titan deep with a extended pause or slow fall.

Medusa Mid Weight - Perch

Big rubber and cold water go hand and hand. This mid weighting allows for slower presentations and more hang time near structure and cover.

Top Trolling Presentations for February Muskies

When bite windows slam shut trolling becomes a great winter option in the pursuit of suspended and open water Tennessee muskies. These "off bite" muskies tend to prefer slammer presentations at slower speeds.

'Super Shad Rap, Cisco Kid, JBO Baby Depth Raiders and even certain configurations of blades can be effective while perusing these sluggish open water muskies outside of prime feeding windows.

Tennessee Musky Fishing Report March 2023

With unpredictable weather March Musky Fishing in Tennessee can get rather complex. A keen eye needs to be paid on water temps as the musky spawn could take place at any moment shutting down any potential for a strike. As muskies move into mid-depth and shallow areas in March tactics and techniques need to be tailored in a manner that allows us to cover large areas of water while casting with small presentations.

Top casting lures

Color - Grape Flame

Titan Junior - This six inch dive and rise lure is made for targeting muskies in and around shallow cover. Working the Titan junior with small taps and jerks gives this down sized presentation a highly erratic action.

Slammer Fatty Minnow

Color - Steve Paul Tiger

This downsized round belly minnow bait is the ticket for ticking and clicking off of rocks and bouncing weed tops and timber. The running depth on the fatty minnow is a bit deeper than expected which can be useful when targeting cover near break lines.

Top Trolling Presentations

While trolling during this time frame is not my preferred tactic it can be useful during cold fronts and drawl downs allowing us to cover large areas in an efficient manner.

Super Shad Rap - This classic minnow bait can be used to cover the higher portion of the water column in a rather effective manner at a range of speeds.

Mann's 25 Stretch - This super deep runner can be used to dredge the bottom during cold fronts and seems to illicit a response from muskies that are simply negative or neutral.

Tennessee Musky Fishing Report April 2023

April is the turning point for southern muskies. As surface temperatures begin to push past the mid fifties shallow patterns begin to take shape. It should be noted that any increase in surface temperature can quickly be negated the slightest cold fronts. As fronts pass through during the early spring it demands constant alteration to our presentations and structural choices.

Cold mornings coupled with warm afternoons call for constant alterations for any serious musky game plan.

Top Casting Presentations :

Livingston Lures Titan Junior : Color Hot Steve Paul Tiger

The Titan Junior allows for serious contouring of shallow zones but also can transition quickly to effective open water. Short taps and pops make the Titan Junior move in highly erratic ways. Long sweeps create extended hang time in some rather appealing ways.

Slammer 5" : Color Steve Paul Tiger

This down sized crank bait is simple. Throw it and turn the handle. It's small sized coupled with a wide fat wobble makes it highly effective during the early season.

Top Trolling Presentations:

Mepps Giant Killer : Color White

This classic willow blade in-line spinner is perfect for short line slow trolling passes.

Slammer 7" : Color Steven Paul Tiger

The wide swing of the 7" Slammer shallow crank bait is highly effective near shorelines and over open water during the early season.

May 2023 Tennessee Musky Fishing Report

May is a great month to target Tennessee Muskies in both lake and river systems. This May has been cooler for Tennessee Muskies as temps are low and winds are high. Getting strikes requires a steady hand and perfect lure selection . Conditions by the end of week one are pretty mild but things should warm up substantially by mid month. While blades might feel right think bold hard baits this time of year, Big muskies are on the move and this is prime time if you comprehend the small details that make the difference.

Top Casting Lures Tennessee Muskies 2023

Livingston Lures Titan Junior : Color : KY Crush

This little dive and rise lure is killer around cover and weeds. But don’t overlook it as a trolling option.

Joe Bucher Shallow Raider : Color : Blue Back Shad

This little twitch bait gets it done all year in all conditions.

Steve's Meat Grinder from the Figure 8 Lure Company : Color Ultimate Warrior

This is the spinner bait of my dreams...... No really. This is my signature model from Figure 8 Lure Co. Down and dirty cover and structure grinding is the name of the game for trophy class muskies. Steve's Musky Grinder gets it done.

Top Trolling Lures May 2023

Livingston Lures Titan 8" - Trolling the Titan in the prop wash has been ridiculous this spring. Big swings and turns seems to trigger the most strikes,

Slammer Fat Belly - Color - Steve Paul Tiger

This is the little minnow bait that could. Talk about action on a short line around cover and structure. 30 to 40 feet should do it......hold on.

June 2023 Tennessee Musky Fishing Report

Water Temp become a conservation issue for Tennessee Muskies during June. Please keep in mind that muskies should not be targeted in water temps that are above 79 degrees surface temp. This is due to a lack of dissolved oxygen in the upper water column. With limited numbers of mature muskies conservation is a paramount concern.

Top Casting :

Slammer Fatty Minnow : Color SP Tiger

This round belly crank-bait has a ton of action and roll for shallow applications.

Titan Junior : Color : Reading Rainbow

This down sized dive and rise has it all and gets looks under the toughest conditions.

Top Trolling Lures June 20223

Spanky Baits 10's

Short line trolling blades can be highly effective during summer months.

Joe Bucher Depth Raider

This classic trolling presentation gets it done all year long.

Tennessee Musky Fishing Report July 2023

Water temperatures during July can be harmful to muskies. A lack of oxygen in the first few feet of the water column has been found to cause immediate and delayed mortality in muskies. Please be mindful of water temps and do not target muskies when water temps are near 80 degrees.

Early July is the tail end of my Tennessee musky fishing until early fall. Each year I head north to Wisconsin and Canada in pursuit of muskies. Water temps in Tennessee can fluctuate wildly creating muskie opportunities even in the dead of summer. Big blades and night tactics seem to be the best option to put a trophy class Tennessee Musky in the net during the hotter months. Again, please use conservation minded judgement when targeting muskies during warmer months.


Each year during July and August I venture to Wisconsin and Canada in pursuit of muskies. Air and water temps in Tennessee are not only punishing for anglers but are also unsafe for muskies. This opens up the opportunity to target muskies are trophy pike each summer.

This year I spent a month on Wabigoon Lake in Ontario. The action and size class is unmatched.

Tennessee Musky Fishing September 2023

September Tennessee Musky Fishing Report :

As temperatures start dropping overnight muskies start transitioning edging ever closer to a fall pattern. Bite windows tend to be more truncated during this time making the right lure choice and retrieval a critical factor to musky fishing success. I have had phenomenal results with the per-production Livingston Lures Kraken. While the Kraken might look like a standard tube it's action resulting from its hard from half creates a moment of hang time and pause that makes it stand out from other presentations. This momentary pause has put more than more trophy class muskie in the net this September on some rather less than perfect muskie fishing days.

The Livingston Lures Kraken also put this giant Tennessee walleye in the net after dark.

The key to targeting early fall September Tennessee muskies is all about patterning and persistence. This time of year the old trope of "don't leave fish to find fish" truly comes into play. The focus should be on the right presentation when the bite window finally opens up.

Tennessee Musky Fishing Report October 2023

October is a transitional month for Tennessee Musky Fishing. The effects of Fall are just now noticeable as leaves begin changing in color and overnight air temps drop significantly. This shifting of gear from endless summer to crisps evenings seems to put Tennessee muskies into high gear. Shallow presentations excel in and around shallow cover ans structure. October is the generally the last opportunity for extended shallow water fishing before muskies make moves towards steeper breaks and holding areas.

Top October Tennessee Musky Fishing Presentations :

Livingston Lures Kraken : This hybrid jerk bait has an enticing angle of fall that monster Tennessee muskies can't resist. Simple taps and jerks send this lure propelling up and down in the water column.

Joe Bucher Mag 10's : You can't beat double 10 buck-tails in the Fall and Joe Bucher makes the best with a huge vibration and profile.

Tennessee Musky Fishing Report November 2023

November is an amazing time to peruse Tennessee Muskies. As water temps creep towards the 50's muskies make moves towards the shallows. Numerous tactics work this time of year as many patterns are present. Trolling, casting and jigging are all on the table. November often has tight bite windows so persistence is the key to success.

Top November Presentation

Kraken Livingston Lures :

The Kraken is made to cover the entire water column which is the key during early fall.

Joe Bucher Depth Raider

This classic crank bait is perfect for contouring timber and structure.

Tennessee Musky Fishing Report December 2023

Tennessee Musky December Musky Fishing Report. December is truly a month of wild fluctuation in Tennessee. Tennessee Musky Lakes and rivers are in a swing state of warm afternoons and cold nights making for a mixed bag of presentations and opportunities. While warm days may call for casting colder mornings and the extended chill of some days may call for trolling. Simply put versatility is the key to success during the start of the long Tennessee Musky Fishing Winter.

Top Casting Presntations

Livingston Lures Kraken

This hybrid tube hits any level in the water column with a brazen erratic action.

Livingston Lures Titan

Dive and Rise is a classic cold water Tennessee Musky presentation

Joe Bucher Depth Raider Straight 8"

Sharp breaks take a deep diving crank and the Depth raider is an easy to use but reliable presentation in colder water temps.

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ky Guide. Tennessee musky fishing. Clinch river musky fishing. Best musky lakes Tennessee.


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