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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone, I'm new here but this seems to be the kind of place for this question.

In case you don't feel like reading a lot, my question is : Does anyone have tips to give about muskie fishing from the shorelines of Leesville lake (Spots, baits, best times to fish, etc.)? I have looked through the forums and didn't really see anything specific to my circumstances.

More information:

I am in the Leesville area for work for the next month or so and, after finding out it's one of the better muskie lakes in Ohio, I decided this could be the lake where I land my first muskie. Since I am traveling in from out of town, I feel as though I am limited to fishing from the bank. I am wondering if anyone has ever had any luck catching muskie from the shoreline. I scouted it out a bit online and headed there after work for a couple hours this past week near the dam. I really don't have any appropriate muskie lures yet (plan on buying some before next week). This has always been a fish on my bucket list and I plan on spending a few hours every night after work trying to catch one.

I would love to hear anyones input on shore fishing for muskie in general, or specifically at Leesville lake.By piecing together some information I found online, I came up with somewhat of a game plan. After looking at map of the lake, the water near the dam seems like it may hold some muskies. This of course, is coming from someone who has never caught, or even seriously fished for a muskie. Has anyone ever caught any muskie near the dam? I swear I saw one attacking something topwater the other night, but it's hard to say for sure. Recommendations on a decent fishing location would be greatly appreciated.

As far as baits go, I really have no idea what works well for these types of fish, aside from what anonymous articles and forum posts tell me. I am, primarily, a bass fisherman so my tackle box is ill-equipped to handle muskie. I would love to get some input on what lures have worked well at this lake. My plan is to pick up a couple different styles of muskie lures this weekend, as well as some heavier line and wire leaders.

I figure I am at a great disadvantage being limited to only fishing from the shoreline. I have heard that the marina rents boats but I'd rather not shell out money every night to rent a boat for a couple hours if there's any hope catching a fish from the shore. Fishing is one of my biggest hobbies, which I'm sure is true for most of you, and this has been a fish that I have always wanted to catch. I plan on spending just about every night that I am in the area hunting for the fish of 10,000 casts. Really any input at all would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance!

PS- I hope this is the right spot for this...
 

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That area between the campground and the dam would be a spot to try, I have fished out in front of that area with my bil and have seen them while casting the weed beds, a lot of shore to hit toward the dam, try throwing a spinnerbaits or swim bait That's a good start.
 

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Plenty of weed beds within casting distance from shore around the dam. Get yourself some suckers or giant creek chubs and fish them below a float during low light or even a rain storm. That should get you a few
 

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Plenty of weed beds within casting distance from shore around the dam. Get yourself some suckers or giant creek chubs and fish them below a float during low light or even a rain storm. That should get you a few
Thanks for the tip... amateur question... do you buy those? Or catch them?
 

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The only Musky I've ever landed was off the leesville dam... little one, got it on a rat-l-trap bass fishing.
Well that's a little reassuring.

I've got a few things I'm gonna try out this week. If I don't have any luck, I will probably try out some sort of live bait.
 

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Sisson's are a Leesville staple..............Check the Marina, they usually have them in stock.
 

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caught 4 muskies but never when I fished for them never a big one 32 in was the biggest. one fishing for crappie one fishing for smallmouth one fishing for northern pike in a lake that wasn't supposed to have muskie and one trolling for walleyes . if I was fishing from shore I would use a balloon for a float and either a sucker chub or perch for bait not sure if you can use perch cast just outside of a weed bed and wait.make sure the wind is at your back that way it stays outside of the weeds.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thank you everyone for all of your advice. I have spent the last couple weeks trying out (and losing) and bunch of different lures. I have yet to try live bait though. I have heard a lot about sisson's so I might have to pick up some of those. I do have good news though...

I managed to catch my first muskie tonight! I caught a 37" fish as I was pulling my lure out of the water to cast again.My lure was literally inches from the surface of the water and about a foot away from the shoreline when a monster emerged and snatched it up. It was surreal. I was using a 3/4 oz rooster tail I think the color is chartreuse flash or something like that. It's basically chartreuse and silver. I was giving that a shot because I really like how much water it moves when I'm retrieving it and since they're relatively cheap I was comfortable to let it sink to the bottom after casting and then retrieve it. I felt like I was able to fish the whole water column with that lure. It's also pretty dense and I can cast it a mile which I enjoy.

While I like the lure, it did seem somewhat small for muskie but I guess that didn't stop one from latching onto it! I was pretty discouraged with the rooster tail after I caught a little crappie on it... I was on my last couple casts for the night.

I caught the fish at the corner of the dam near that little tower thing.. not sure what it is.. I started out near the campground area and kept moving down the bank. The corner(where i caught it) was my last spot for the night. The net I have was too small and was essentially useless. I hadn't anticipated how big and powerful they are. I ended up having to get into the water in order to get him out safely. I was so nervous about handling the fish poorly but I think I did a decent job. I quickly removed the hook, measured him, snapped a pic and brought it back to the water. I held onto it and revived it a bit in the water before he sped off. I'm pretty sure that's the largest fish I have ever caught. Definitely the most fun fish I had ever caught. I was really getting discouraged after spending about 20 hours trying for a muskie with no luck. I was almost thinking about forgetting muskie and just doing some bass fishing. Now that I've caught one, I can't wait to get back out there!

Thanks again for all of your advice! I still have a couple more weeks in this area for work so feel free to keep posting your advice!
 

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If prices turn you away from lures, try used ones on ebay. You can score a "lot" of lures and if you lose them or they break, etc, its not a big loss because you didnt pay the price of a big brand new musky lure.
 

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Joseph Zander...congratulations on your muskie! Had to have been a rush. Now you know what to expect. Having some knowledge now should help with your next catch...I've caught several over the last few years and after my 2nd I bought some fish grips...a must with these fish. I've actually had to buy a 2nd pair because the 1st one I caught this year bent my grips. Of all the muskies I caught none were with MUSKIE lures...I throw alot of scatter raps and live target lures and am usually fishing for walleye or bass. Anyway don't ever get discouraged you never know when your standing in the water again holding an absolute monster...

Tight lines and good times

Don
 

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...standing in water. I find myself doing this not on purpose but when I look back on pictures and think about the moment...it's kinda like my way of giving back to the body of water...westbranch and the fish. Most of my catches are released and regardless of water temperature and whatnot it makes me feel like I completed a cycle with the fish. This muskie is one that I caught within 30 minutes of dam fishing at westbranch with a insane storm rolling in...drive there is 25 minutes to Wayland outpost...you all know the walk to the dam lol...looking west was black and filled with flashes of lighting I casted a live target swim bait about 35 to 40 times...and noticed bubbles 10 feet out. Grab rod 2 with my go to perch pattern shadow rap and on 1st cast she hammered it. The fight was a little longer than I like...about 4 minutes. It was deep hook set and a pain to unhook especially with this storm rolling in. My advice is if you use the shadow raps...maybe eliminate the middle or 1st set of trebles. A quick picture and back into the water she went.

Side note...I kept her in the water almost the time...wet feet. The walk back to car was absolutely insane as bolts of lighting were everywhere. Kept my rod tips down low to ground as I scooted back to car...I would do it again.
 

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If prices turn you away from lures, try used ones on ebay. You can score a "lot" of lures and if you lose them or they break, etc, its not a big loss because you didnt pay the price of a big brand new musky lure.
I hadn't thought about that. I'll have to consider buying some from there because I seem to find the bottom pretty frequently and I sure do struggle to de-snag those muskie sized treble hooks!

...standing in water. I find myself doing this not on purpose but when I look back on pictures and think about the moment...it's kinda like my way of giving back to the body of water...westbranch and the fish. Most of my catches are released and regardless of water temperature and whatnot it makes me feel like I completed a cycle with the fish. This muskie is one that I caught within 30 minutes of dam fishing at westbranch with a insane storm rolling in...drive there is 25 minutes to Wayland outpost...you all know the walk to the dam lol...looking west was black and filled with flashes of lighting I casted a live target swim bait about 35 to 40 times...and noticed bubbles 10 feet out. Grab rod 2 with my go to perch pattern shadow rap and on 1st cast she hammered it. The fight was a little longer than I like...about 4 minutes. It was deep hook set and a pain to unhook especially with this storm rolling in. My advice is if you use the shadow raps...maybe eliminate the middle or 1st set of trebles. A quick picture and back into the water she went.

Side note...I kept her in the water almost the time...wet feet. The walk back to car was absolutely insane as bolts of lighting were everywhere. Kept my rod tips down low to ground as I scooted back to car...I would do it again.
Great story! and great fish! I was pretty flustered when I caught mine. I was very concerned with getting it in and out of the water safely. With the adrenaline rush I was feeling, it felt like time was standing still and I had it out of the water for an eternity but in reality, it wasn't a very long time at all. I thought I was going to have to do a lot of reviving but it took off pretty quickly. My biggest mistake was not knowing ahead of time where I was going to land the fish. I had to figure out a decent spot while I was battling it which added a lot of unnecessary confusion to the mix. I'm back in the area again though, hopefully I'll have another one under my belt by the end of the week!
 

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I fished from the dam a few days ago and got 2 follows right up to the rocks from a couple huge fish. It's kinda terrifying (in a good way) when you're casting over and over with no action and then a behemoth comes cruising in. No takers, though.
 

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Now the bucktail bite should be heating up. And if you caught one on a rooster tail, there is your proof. Might be kinda tough, but if you can somehow do a bit of a figure 8 in the water, right before you are about to pull your lure out for another cast, it may get those followers to commit. Boat fisherman do it all the time, and alot of fish come on the figure 8.
 

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I fished from the dam a few days ago and got 2 follows right up to the rocks from a couple huge fish. It's kinda terrifying (in a good way) when you're casting over and over with no action and then a behemoth comes cruising in. No takers, though.
We just had a follow tonight near the damn. It was on some sort of bucktail spinner! He actually took a bite at it though. My buddy had snagged in a bunch of weeds and was reeling it to clean his spinner and recast as he pulled the weed covered lure out of the water a muskie appeared, mouth wide open.

Now the bucktail bite should be heating up. And if you caught one on a rooster tail, there is your proof. Might be kinda tough, but if you can somehow do a bit of a figure 8 in the water, right before you are about to pull your lure out for another cast, it may get those followers to commit. Boat fisherman do it all the time, and alot of fish come on the figure 8.
Instead of a figure 8 I've been doing a bit of an L thing. I've found it a bit challenging to due a true figure 8 since I'm on the shoreline.

I have now seen two(possibly 3) fish in two different spots (The one I caught and the one my buddy missed) should I be returning to those two spots pretty frequently? I feel like I read somewhere that if you catch (or get a follow from) a muskie in a certain area, odds are there will be fish there again at another point in time. Does anyone have experience with this? Returning to spots where you have seen/caught muskie? I have to think it's at least a good starting point.
 
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