Pre Front Muskie Fishing
By Danny Wade 6/27/17
A question that has been asked thousands of times through the years among Muskie Enthusiasts and especially Muskie newcomers, is “When is the best time to go Muskie fishing?”
I heard one old Muskie Man put it this way: “The best time to go Muskie fishing is whenever you can get out to go!” I will concede there is a certain degree of truth to that but for those of us that have gained a certain level of Muskie catching expertise, well know that certain conditions and weather patterns produce better than others. Having said that, I have to also tell you I have caught Muskies on days I would have sworn I should have gotten skunked and been skunked on days I would have bet the farm I would have caught several.
But overall through my 40 plus years of Muskie chasing mainly here on Ohio waters, I can tell you with absolute certainty there are certain conditions that will produce better than others. There are actually a number of situations I can site you but for the purpose of this article I will focus on my absolute favorite. “The Pre Front”
(For Newbies ONLY: Pre-front refers to an approaching weather pattern. Post front refers to a weather pattern already past. For you vets I know this is a no brainer but I’ve already been asked this question so thought I should clarify it for our Muskie newcomers.)
Learning to discern the weather patterns you are faced with and choosing the best time to plan your day on the water can be the difference in getting skunked or catching multiple fish on the day you fish. To those of you that are relatively new to Muskie fishing or are not familiar with the concept of fishing Pre Front conditions, I will lay out for you a hypothetical 10 day weather forecast and show you where to look for those potent pre front fishing days.
Before I do that let me stress upon you how important the pre front is to me and my many years of Muskie catching successes here in Ohio. To me, the pre-front provides us with the number one best chance of Muskie success in terms of weather. It is my favorite pattern to fish and has always been my number one top producing of all fishing conditions. Bar none. I have always taught my clients and fishing partners to fish every pre-front “Peak Day” you can to optimize your Muskie successes. The “Peak Day” is the pet term I use to describe the single one or two pre-front day(s) that I want to concentrate on and plan my fishing schedule around for optimum Muskie catching potential.
Those that know me well have heard me say this many times. Fishing a Peak Day is worth any two or three regular non pre front condition days you could face. If I could only fish one day a week and could choose what day that was, I would choose the best pre front scenario of that week to go on. Period.
Hypathetical 10 Day Mid-Summer Forecast Demonstrating Pre Front Conditions
Day One - Hi temp 71 Wind NW 12 to 18 mph. Humidity 55%. 0% precip
Day Two - Hi temp 73 Wind NW 10 to 14 mph. Humidity 58% 0% precip
Day Three - Hi Temp 77 Wind WNW 9 to 12 mph. Humidity 67% 0% recip
Day Four - Hi Temp 83 Winds SW 6 to 8 mph. Hmidity 74% 20% precip.
Day Five - Hi temp 89 winds SW 6 to 10 mph. Humidity 82% 40% of Th Scat Strms
Day Six - Hi temp 88 degrees, winds SW 8 to 12 mph, Humidity 85% 80% Strms
Day Seven – Hi temp 85 deg, winds SW 15 to 20 mph, Hum 88% 100% ch Rain / strms
Day Eight – Hi temp 77 deg, winds WNW 15 to 25 mph. Hum 68% chance precip 0%
Day Nine - Hi temp 69 degrees winds NW 15 to 20 mph. Hum 55% Ch prcip 0%
Day 10 – Hi temp 73 degrees Winds NW 12 to 15 mph Hum 59% Ch precip 10%
Now…which two days would you pick to go Muskie fishing? Before you answer, I have to tell you, in most cases when I present this scenario to the average fisherman they often times will choose days one or two. “The two most beautiful days to be on the water” they tell me. Always remember. The nicest day on the lake is rarely the best day to be fishing for Muskies.
So which two days would you choose? My choice hands down would be days 5 and 6. Depending on how quickly the front is coming in I may choose one of those two days over the other. But I would have to study the forecasts carefully before making that decision.
Pre-front conditions get wildlife moving. We see it all the time with deer and other game. Its no different in fishing. Wild life instinctively know a change is coming. Big Muskies know it too. The majority of all the big fish taken out of my boats through the years in Ohio have been taken in pre-front conditions. Not always…but most of them have.
Post front conditions typified by low humidity, a dramatic drop in temperature, often accompanied by cool northerly winds, are nice days to go golfing but not my choice for trophy Muskie fishing!
Make a special effort to fish as many of the pre-front peak days as possible and watch your Muskie catching efforts dramatically improve!
See You on the lake!
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