Are you an avid hobbyist fisher looking for the best live bait to use when targeting muskie? With so many options out there, it can be difficult to know which one will give you the best chance of success. From worms and leeches to minnows and crayfish, understanding what type of live bait works best for muskie is essential in order to increase your chances of catching them. In this blog post we’ll discuss all things related to finding the best live bait for muskie – from types and where-to-finds, how-tos on storage and rigging as well as tips & tricks that could help make your next fishing trip a successful one.

Types of Live Bait for Muskie

Live bait can be a great way to catch muskie, and there are several types of live bait that can be used. Minnows are one of the most popular choices for catching muskie due to their small size and natural scent that attracts fish. Worms also work well when fishing for muskie as they provide plenty of movement in the water which draws in predators. Crayfish have claws that make them difficult to remove from hooks once caught on them, making it easier for anglers to land their catch. Lastly, leeches move slowly through the water producing vibrations which attract curious predators like muskies. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages; minnows may not stay alive long enough if kept out of water too long while worms tend to wriggle off hooks easily – so it is important for anglers to consider what works best with their technique before heading out on the lake or river.

Live bait is an effective way to catch muskie, and there are a variety of options available. From minnows to crayfish, each type of live bait can be used in different ways for different results. Now let’s take a look at where you can find these baits.

Where to Find Live Bait for Muskie

Finding the right live bait for muskie can be a challenge. Luckily, there are plenty of options available to anglers looking to catch these fish. Local bait shops are often the best place to start when it comes to finding live bait for muskie. These stores typically carry a variety of baits that have been proven effective in catching this species of fish. Additionally, many local tackle shops offer advice on which type of bait is most likely to attract muskies and provide tips on how to rig them properly.

Online retailers also offer a wide selection of live baits specifically designed for muskie fishing. Many online retailers specialize in selling high-quality baits that have been tested and proven successful by experienced anglers. Shopping online allows you access to an even wider range of products than what may be available at your local store, so it’s worth taking some time to browse through different sites before making your purchase decision.

When choosing live bait for muskie, look for baits with bright colors and natural scents or flavors that will attract the fish’s attention more easily than plainer offerings would do alone. Live minnows such as shiners or chubs are among the most popular choices due their lively swimming action and strong scent trails they leave behind in the water column as they move around searching for food sources – both key elements when trying lure big gamefish like Muskie. Other good options include nightcrawlers, crayfish, leeches, frogs and small sunfish – all offering unique characteristics that make them attractive targets for hungry predators like Muskies.

It is important not only to choose quality live bait but also to take proper care while storing it until you are ready to use it on your next fishing trip. Keep any unused portions refrigerated (but never frozen) between trips so they remain fresh longer, otherwise they will spoil quickly once exposed air temperatures rise above 40 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. Lastly, do not forget about rigging up your chosen lures correctly; using appropriate hook sizes based upon their size/weight relative other factors such as current speed and depth can help ensure better hook sets and ultimately lead to more success out on the water.

Once you have found a reliable source of live bait for muskie, it is important to understand how to store the bait properly in order to keep it alive and effective. The next heading will discuss this in more detail.

Main Lesson: When looking for the best live bait for muskie, anglers should consider options from local bait shops or online retailers. Popular choices include minnows, nightcrawlers, crayfish, leeches, frogs and small sunfish. Remember to keep unused portions refrigerated and rig lures correctly to ensure successful hook sets.

How to Store Live Bait for Muskie

Storing live bait for muskie is an important part of any successful fishing trip. It’s essential to keep your bait alive and lively in order to get the best results when you’re out on the water. Here are some tips on how to store live bait for muskie:

Choose a Proper Container:

The first step is choosing a proper container that will hold enough water to keep your bait alive and healthy. A good option is a five-gallon bucket with holes drilled into it, or even an aerated tank if you have access to one. Make sure the container has plenty of room for oxygen exchange so that your bait can breathe properly.

Maintain Temperature:

To ensure that your live bait stays fresh, make sure the temperature inside the container remains consistent throughout its storage period. If possible, try keeping it at around 50°F (10°C). This should help prevent any sudden changes in temperature which could kill off your live bait prematurely.

Add Oxygen:

Adding oxygen helps keep your live bait alive and kicking while they wait in their temporary home until you need them again. You can do this by adding an air pump or bubbler system directly into the water, or simply by agitating it every few hours with a net or stick.

It is essential to regularly replace the water in your live bait’s container to prevent an accumulation of ammonia from decaying matter, which could be detrimental to their health over time. To ensure that your bait remains lively and healthy, make sure you change out all of the water at least once a day.

Lastly, always make sure you store away from direct sunlight and heat sources such as radiators or hot pipes since these can quickly raise temperatures beyond what would be safe for most types of live baits used for muskie fishing trips. This will help ensure that your bait remains lively and healthy while they wait in their temporary home until you need them again.

Properly storing live bait for muskie is essential to ensure the bait remains fresh and lively when you are ready to use it. Next, we will discuss how to rig this live bait for muskie fishing success.

Main Lesson: Live bait for muskie should be stored in a container with plenty of oxygen exchange, at a temperature around 50°F (10°C). It’s important to replace the water regularly and keep away from direct sunlight and heat sources.

How to Rig Live Bait for Muskie

Jigging is one of the most popular and effective ways to rig live bait for muskie. When jigging, you’ll want to use a heavy-duty rod and reel with a line test that matches the size of your lure or bait. A good rule of thumb is to use at least 10 lb test line when fishing for muskie. You’ll also need a selection of jigs in various sizes and colors, as well as some terminal tackle such as split shot weights, swivels, and hooks. To rig your jig correctly, tie on the hook directly to the eyelet on the jig head using an improved clinch knot or palomar knot. Then attach your desired weight (split shot) just above it so that it will sink slowly through the water column while you’re retrieving it back towards you.

Trolling is another great way to target muskie with live bait. To ensure success, it’s important to use a medium-heavy action rod paired with a high speed reel spooled with 20 lb monofilament line or higher if necessary. When using smaller baits such as minnows and nightcrawlers, you can simply thread them onto an open hook attached directly to your main line via an improved clinch knot or palomar knot; however for larger baits like suckers and shiners it’s best practice to incorporate leader material such as steel wire trace between 12″ – 24″ long depending on the desired depth of trolling. This helps protect against potential bite offs from large pike which are often found in areas where muskies swim too.

Casting with spinning reels is another great way to target muskie when they’re actively feeding near shorelines during certain times of year; however this technique requires more finesse than other methods since casting accuracy plays such an important role in success rates here. The setup should consist of either braided superline spooled onto your reel (30lb+ test) paired up with either mono backing material (20lb+) OR fluorocarbon leader material (15lb+). Once rigged up properly all that’s left is selecting lures/baits based upon water clarity & temperature conditions then making accurate casts out into likely spots where hungry predators may be lurking.

Fly fishing for muskies can be both challenging and rewarding when done correctly. To ensure success, it is important to use a fly rod and reel combo with enough backbone power capable of handling big game species like these. Line choice should consist mostly of floating lines backed by leaders made from either nylon tippet material or fluorocarbon depending on personal preference or budget constraints. There are many different patterns available ranging from streamers and poppers down through nymphs and even dry flies so experimentation is key until finding what works best under given conditions being fished at any given time.

Learning how to properly rig live bait for muskie can be a challenging task, but with the right tips and tricks you’ll be able to maximize your success rate. Let’s look at some of those tips and tricks in the next heading.

Main Lesson: When fishing for muskie, it is important to use the correct tackle and bait setup. Jigging requires a heavy-duty rod and reel with 10 lb test line as well as jigs of various sizes and colors. Trolling calls for a medium-heavy action rod with 20 lb monofilament line or higher, while casting with spinning reels needs either braided superline (30lb+) or fluorocarbon leader material (15lb+). Lastly, fly fishing requires a powerful fly rodreel combo along with floating lines backed by leaders made from nylon tippet or fluorocarbon.

Tips & Tricks When Using Live Bait for Muskie

Presentation Techniques:

When using live bait for muskie, presentation is key. The best way to present your bait is to cast it out and let it sink down into the strike zone. This will allow you to cover more water and increase your chances of getting a bite. You can also use a slow retrieve with pauses in between so that the fish have time to investigate the bait before striking. Additionally, adding some movement or twitches to your lure can help attract attention from nearby fish.

Lure Selection:

Choosing the right type of live bait for muskie is essential for success. Popular choices include crayfish, minnows, frogs, leeches, and nightcrawlers. Each one has its own advantages and disadvantages depending on where you are fishing and what kind of conditions you’re dealing with at any given moment. Experimenting with different types of lures until you find one that works best in each situation will help improve your catch rate over time.

When fishing with live bait for muskie, there are other tactics that can be used as well such as trolling or drifting along weed beds or structure edges where these fish tend to congregate during certain times of year. Chumming techniques by throwing bits of food into the water around your boat can also be effective in attracting hungry predators like muskies who may not otherwise notice your offering due to low visibility levels underwater or lack of natural prey sources nearby them at any given moment in time.

Main Lesson: Using the right type of live bait and presentation techniques can increase your chances of catching muskie. Popular baits include crayfish, minnows, frogs, leeches, and nightcrawlers. Tactics such as trolling or drifting along weed beds and chumming with food can also be effective in attracting these fish.

FAQs in Relation to Best Live Bait for Muskie

Can you use live bait for musky?

Yes, live bait can be used to catch musky. Live bait is a popular choice for anglers looking to target this species as it allows them to present their offering in a natural way and imitate the prey that musky feed on. Using live bait also gives anglers more control over presentation and depth than artificial lures do. However, due to the size of musky, larger baits are usually needed which can make it difficult or expensive to acquire enough live bait for an outing.

What do muskies eat the most?

Muskies are a predatory fish that feed on smaller fish, crayfish, frogs, and other aquatic creatures. They have been known to eat small mammals such as mice and voles if they come across them in the water. Muskellunge prefer larger prey items like yellow perch, walleye, northern pike, suckers, shiners and minnows. These large baitfish should be used when targeting muskies for optimal success. Live bait is often the most successful option when fishing for muskie due to their aggressive nature; however artificial lures can also work well depending on the situation.

How do you rig live bait for musky?

Rigging live bait for musky can be done in a few different ways. The most popular method is to use a slip-sinker rig, which consists of a swivel, leader line, and hook tied to the main line. To set up this rig, attach the swivel to the main line and tie on a leader line that is long enough to reach the bottom of your fishing spot. Then tie on your hook with either an egg loop knot or Palomar knot. Finally, add some weight (such as split shot) above the hook so it sinks slowly into the water column where muskies are likely to feed. With this setup you can then add any type of live bait such as minnows or worms and cast out.

What is the best time to fish for muskie?

The best time to fish for muskie is typically in the late spring and early summer when water temperatures are between 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit. During this time, muskies will be actively feeding on baitfish such as shiners, suckers, and chubs. Early morning or evening hours tend to be more productive as these times of day provide cooler water temperatures that can help increase the activity level of the fish. Fishing during periods of low light also helps anglers spot active fish easier than during bright sunny days.


In conclusion, when it comes to the best live bait for muskie, there are a variety of options available. Knowing which type of bait to use and where to find it is key in catching these large fish. Additionally, understanding how to store and rig your live bait correctly will help you have more success on the water. With all this information in mind, you should be well-equipped with the knowledge needed to catch muskie using live bait.