Muskies, like all fish, are cold-blooded. We should keep this point in mind when we try to catch these fish.
In the winter the water is cold and the fish are slow moving and sluggish. They eat little, living instead off of the pounds they added in the fall. The muskie fishing season is not open in the winter anyway.
In the spring the fish will move into the shallowest water they can. The shallow water will heat up faster than deeper water will. (This makes all kinds of fish easy for the indians to spear very early in the spring.) These spring fish will be thin because they have just spent the winter eating little.
As the waters warm up the fish will enter their spawning season. (Some fishermen are opposed to using nets to handle fish once they are caught. But anyone who has caught a post-spawn muskie will tell you that those fish have nearly missing fins and injuries that look horrific.) It will be the (smaller) male fish being caught during this early spring season.
As the water will still be cool, fishing with smaller and slower moving lures will be your best bet. A Rizzo Whiz or a Rapala Original Floating Minnow are good choices. The fish will probably not yet be too far from shallower water.
Smaller lakes, and shallower parts of big lakes, will warm up faster than the bigger deeper lakes. So early in the spring start fishing the shallower parts of the smaller lakes.
Once the water warms up you can move to bigger bodies of water, bigger baits, faster moving baits, and out deeper. Because the fish are cold-blooded the warmer water will make the fish move faster. (Although only to a point, because muskies are more of a cold water fish than some other species are.)
During the summer all parts of the lakes may be fished with all kinds of lures. Summer will be the best season for using surface baits as well.
Once the water starts to cool in the fall the fish will start to eat more in order to fatten up for the winter. This will be the time to use the biggest baits. If you are trying to catch a heavy fish this is the time to do it. A fish caught in the fall will be heavier than one caught in the spring or summer.
May dad thinks that the best times to be fishing are when the weather is going past around 65 degrees F. When we went to Canada in the spring our best years were those when the water temperature was around 60 degrees at the start of the week and was around 70 degrees at the end of the week. The same pattern holds true in the fall when the temperatures drop.