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Understanding the Muskie's habitat begins with good spawning habitat. Muskies look for good, undisturbed shoreline in ideal situations. Studies by the University of Michigan show that lakes with many acres of shoreline and surrounded by natural tree growth were the best lakes for producing self-sustaining populations of Muskie. The studies also showed that lakes with heavy development or less shoreline required constant efforts and restocking to maintain muskie populations.

Natural, undisturbed shorelines are not an absolute necessity when providing good spawning habitat for muskie, however, developed shorelines tend to have removed weeds and much less natural structure for the muskies to use as cover.

Muskies spawn at around 3ft depth because this depth generally holds the right water temperature of 55 degrees which muskies prefer for spawning. Muskies also look for protected areas of the lake - with less wind and intrusion of colder, deeper water temperatures. Isolated bays, creek, river, and tributary inlets, islands, and calm shorelines make great areas for muskies to spawn.  

Muskie eggs are different from the pike. While pike eggs are sticky and are able to stick to weeds and structure, muskie eggs are not sticky and simply fall to the lowest point. Because of this muskie tend to prefer mixed sand/gravel bottoms - or leaf and strong sediment covered bottoms. What they avoid is the soft, squishy lake floor where the eggs can be covered and confused.

After the muskies have hatched, the young tend to be found in heavily weed coved areas for protection and forage and tend to leave the wide, open and exposed areas alone. The young muskie can use these weeded areas to gain easy access to food. The young muskie will eat anything on hand such as minnows, insects, or larvae. However, once the muskie grow and start demanding larger prey - their hunting habitats change.

Larger adult muskies journey wherever they feel they can find their food source. While musky can eat anything, they prefer specific types of soft flesh fish such as suckers, smelt, and whitefish. Adult muskies will often venture out into deeper, wider waters to chase these larger food species and then return to the shallow weed covered areas for rest.

While all these details describe a great muskie habitat there is one more element that seems to be key to the muskies success. Most of the well known trophy muskie lakes tend to be large. While experts aren't sure why that is - whether muskie need larger territories, or if larger lakes provide greater sources of food, the trend is obvious. You'll have a better chance of landing the monster muskie on a larger lake.