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Muskie Wisdom from MN Muskie Record Holder, guide Nolan Sprengeler

Virtual Angling recently chatted with 28-year-old guide and Minnesota Muskie Record Holder (weight) Nolan Sprengeler. Nolan took time out of his super-busy schedule guiding between Leech Lake and Green Bay to talk with us about summer muskie fishing. 

In Sprengeler’s opinion, what follows are the Top 5 mistakes anglers make when it comes to pursuing summertime muskies. Hopefully they will help you up your game this season! 

1) Working your bait too aggressively.

“Most anglers usually rip rubber baits too hard; softer is better most times,” offers Sprengeler. “And with any muskie bait, sometimes slower is better than too fast.”

2) Fishing where the fish aren’t on any muskie lake

Sprengeler says there are too many muskie anglers who don’t use today’s resources, whether that’s fisheries data, cartography, and especially today’s electronics. As such, they spend a lot of time flogging fish-less areas. 

“A lot of muskie anglers would be more successful if they weren’t so stuck in their ways,” says Sprengeler. “For example, forward-facing and live imaging sonar have become a huge part of how I locate and catch fish.”

3) Improper figure-8s

“You have to set yourself up to make a move to set the fish up to eat your bait on a figure 8. A lot of bites will come on the figure 8, so you have to be on point at all times. If you don’t know how to do that, you’re missing out on a lot of fish,” says Sprengeler. 

4) Hunting big fish where big fish don’t live.

“If you want to catch a 50-incher, you have to fish the lake with 50-inchers,” notes Sprengeler. 

“I see a lot of anglers trying to catch their first 50-incher on a 400-acre lake. There might be a couple 50s in there, but it’s not like setting up on Vermilion, Green Bay, Leech, Bemidji, etc. You have to fish where they live to catch one. Typically, the bigger the lake, the better.”

5) Not paying attention to moon windows/weather changes. 

“90% of my bites have come on moon and weather changes,” says Sprengeler. “The answer sounds cliché, but some months the bites will come on the moon rise or moon set or moon overhead or underfoot. Like today, the window is from noon to 2 and right at sunset. I use the Fishing Times app on my phone—and I paid the upgrade fee that allows me to I forecast months in advance. That gives me an idea of the best bite windows if I’m going on vacation somewhere. I typically plan my fishing vacations around the new moon or the full moon for the best shot at great bites.”

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