Cave Run Muskie Fishing Guide Service offers trophy musky fishing packages at Cave Run Lake, east of Lexington Kentucky with professional muskie fishing guide Tony Grant. Cave Run Lake is one of the top 10 destinations to catch a trophy muskellunge.

Muskie Fishing Articles & Tips

Tips for Cave Run

Fishing Cave Run Lake KentuckyFor those of you whom plan to visit Cave Run Lake in Eastern Kentucky for some excellent year round muskie action I have put together a list of seasonal tips, hopefully one will help you in your quest for one of our southern silver muskies. The CAVE is a narrow river run lake that runs nearly 40 miles from end to end. Full of standing and lay down timber it’s truly a challenge to even the best of muskie hunters. As in most lakes, seasonal tactics are very different but with drastically changing water levels, anglers here must not only base their strategies to time of year put water levels as well.

Spring: Probably the best time for numbers, multiple days at this time is very common. Water levels can affect fishing at this time more than most seasons here. Most years flooding is common, 6 to 10 feet rises in water levels is normal. Fish the unusual spots, parking lots, picnic areas and flooded flats. This may sound odd but several of our spring tournaments have been won with fish taken off picnic tables, parking bumpers and even public restrooms during high waters. Fishing shallow flats during all water levels is an extremely productive method for southern spring muskies, finding those flats during high water can be somewhat difficult. By far the best presentation is the lipless rattling crankbait, throw them shallow and bring them back very fast. Our favorites are the Rattlin' Shad and Rat-L-Trap, brighter colors in muddy water and naturals when its clear. Sunny days let the flash of the chrome bodies attract the aggressive fish. Other popular spring baits include 00 AC Shiners, rattling crank baits, 6” Jakes and Grim Reaper ½ oz. Spinners. Larger females found in standing timber in or near coves tend to fall for jerk baits; Jerkos, Squrkos and Squirrly Burts seem to work best. As far as color goes orange is always a great selection for “The Cave” but don’t overlook your natural baits.

Summer: Our southern water can really heat up fast, reaching nearly 90 degrees. Trolling as in most lakes this time of year is the method to consistently boat fish. On “The Cave” trolling can be extremely difficult due to the vast amount of wood; a good lure knocker is a must. Try trolling shoreline areas near the main lake with standing or laydown timber, finding depths of around 20 to 25 feet. Holding your rod in these areas is a must to avoid continuos hang-ups, as your lure taps wood a light slack line will let the bait pass freely and entice a strike from an active muskie. Your best bet in lure choice is Hellbenders, Bombers and Bill Normans DR6; these baits seem to come thru the timber the best and are a little less costly if lost. When trolling for suspended muskies, find large schools of baitfish and work Ernies and Lil’Ernies around schools. High warm water levels can really bring the muskies into the creek channels and coves, this can be one of the most exciting times on the CAVE. Cast spinnerbaits, Bulldawgs or bucktails along the old channels and in the shallowest of water. Night fishing can also be a good answer to those dog days of summer. Top waters and crank baits really come into play here continue to work the timbered areas as well as points and steep drop-offs. Lure choices should include Hawg Woplers, Grim Reapers, TNT Triclops and Globes for top water and Ernies to get down deep.

Fall: Possibly the best time to fish “The Cave”, as the daylight hours get shorter and water temps start to drop muskies move toward shallow water following schools of shad. Weeds and laydown timber become the key items to look for, if the baitfish you find are small threadfin shad, try small crank bait like the 00 AC Shiner, 6”Jakes, Mepps #5 or the Prowler by Figure Eight Lures. If the shad you find are larger gizzard shad work bucktails and spinnerbaits try Magombo Combo, Deucetail. “Big Daddy” by Figure Eight Lures and Grim Reaper 1 oz spinner. Jerk baits at this time are very effective and my favorite from mid to late fall try Burts, Jerkos, Squirkos, Reef Hogs and Bulldawgs, Bulldawgs have become the number one producer in early fall worked along deep weed edges. A topwater presentation can be very effective as well, work over and around weed beds, TopRaiders, Grim Reaper Wildcat buzzbaits and the Triklops are very dependable. Good figure eight’s boat a lot of muskies during this season, don’t stop after 1 do several to make them appear.

Winter: Probably the most overlooked time on the “CAVE”, excellent fishing can come from those who can bear our somewhat mild cold spells. Trolling or casting can pay big dividends thru our winter months. Trolling deep water for suspended fish is one of the top methods for cold-water trophies, using your electronics locate small schools and you’ll find the muskies. Ernies, Jakes and Invaders are great open water baits, when working timbered areas go to your summer type crankbaits to avoid hang-ups. With our mild winters we get several short 2 to 3 day warming trends which heats up our shallow water, muskies follow baitfish to these locations, work shallow running crankbaits like the 6” Jake, Shallow Invaders and Shad Raps for some fast action.

Cave Run Lake Kentucky Musky Fishing

Muskie Release Tips

Muskie Fishing Catch and ReleaseReleasing muskies will only improve our current fisheries, transforming them into trophy status.  Kentucky has the shortest legal length of almost any state concerning muskellunge.  Here are some tips to ensure the release of healthier fish that will survive to fight another day and create a true trophy lake.

A must in any muskie boat is a big net, thick rubber gloves, quality hook cutters, pliers and hookouts.  To make releasing less challenging an instamatic camera, extra hooks and some wire ties are also needed.

After netting a fish there is no reason to bring fish and all into the boat!  This is usually dangerous in an unprepared boat, broken rods and more than one lure tangled in the net can spell disaster to an otherwise great day.  The protective slime coat that protects the fish is also removed as it rolls on the boat carpet.

Use a large net with a deep bag, you can lay the net handle on the boat edge and keep the fish in the water and in the net.  The two easiest methods to remove the hooks are: CUT THE HOOKS or CUT THE BAG.  While this may seem extreme it will generally be the key to a quick, safe, and successful release.  The bag can be fixed with wire ties and the hooks can be replaced, both a small price to help insure tomorrow's trophy fishery.

Everyone deserves a photograph of a prized catch.  Just be responsible when you lift the fish out of the net.  Before the muskie is lifted, make sure the camera and photographer are ready.  Lift the fish while supporting its’ midsection.   Hold the muskie in a horizontal position while supporting its belly. DO NOT hold the fish in a vertical position.  The weight of a muskie hanging in this position will create a problem with the bone structure behind the head and it may not survive.   DO NOT drop the fish onto the floor of the boat, keep a firm grasp and hold on tight.  Return the fish into the water and hold it by the tail, move the muskie back and forth allowing water to pass through the gills.  A wiggle of the tail will help "jump start" the fish into swimming away.

If your released fish has a problem going deeper or won’t swim away, recapture it by the tail and run your hand from the rear of the fish towards the throat area, while pushing into the fishes belly.  This will push any air out of the fish allowing the muskie to dive.

Try to release a muskie into a shallow water area. The deep areas will only hurt the fish as it tries to get away from danger quickly.  The shallow areas will let the fish adjust easier to the environment.  Safety is the key when handling muskies, watch out for teeth and hooks, and come home with a photo and good memories of a day after the "lunge".

Cave Run Lake Kentucky Muskie Fishing Guide Service

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© Cave Run Muskie Fishing Guide Service offers trophy musky fishing packages at Cave Run Lake, east of Lexington Kentucky with professional muskie fishing guide Tony Grant. Cave Run Lake is one of the top 10 destinations to catch a trophy muskellunge.