To Fish Lake Chautauqua for Muskie, first you have to divide this Lake into Two Lakes. One being the North End and the other being the South End. The North End is located from the Ferry all the way to Mayville. The South End is from the Ferry to Jamestown. Both areas are excellent to fish but both are fished totally different.
The North End. First you must decide if you want to Cast or Troll. Lets talk Casting. Casting on the North End is a Fisherman's Dream with the beautiful and plentiful weed beds and clear water. As you can see the Fish follow the lure through the water and weed beds from such a long way away. Concentrate your fishing as you would fish for a Bass, but use a much Bigger Lure. I like 35 - 50 lb. Micron or Dacron line because of no stretch in the hookset. Large Spinner Baits, Jerk Baits & Top Water Baits works the best. Good Colors are Black, White, Perch, Chartreuse and Yellow. But don't only throw these Colors because on certain days the fish might want Red or Green. Fish Weed Beds around shoreline areas in water up to 10 - 12 feet deep because some days fish might be in Deep Weeds, these being Weeds that you can see but are still 4 - 5 even 6 feet beneath the surface of the water.
Docks: Fish around the Docks with a Spinnerbait just as you would for Bass. On certain days when the weather gets hot, the fish might move out from the Weeds to the Deeper Water. At this time, you might consider Trolling due to the fact that you can cover a lot more water this way.
Trolling: I Troll along Weeds Beds using a 30 lb. Mono Line. If you have no success, then move to Deeper Water looking for Bait Fish. Bait Fish could be classified as anything from Gizzard Shad to Walleye. Work the Bait Fish till you get success, but remember, most of the time when Trolling, you need to match the Bait Fish in color. If you are fishing around a school of Perch or Walleye, use Green or Brown colored lures as well as trying to match the depth that the Bait Fish are at.You want your lure to usually be at a Depth of 18 - 21 Feet below the surface or at the same depth as you are marking what appears to be Big Fish, Muskies. Good lures to use are Believer, Pensie Pike or some of the Custom Made lures found at some of the Bait & Tackle Stores around Lake Chautauqua.
Colors: Black, Perch, Walleye, Shad & Brown. But don't forget the color, Fire Tiger, even with Clear Water, this is a Very Good Color...
The South End: Casting:For Best Success, Cast at the very South End, around the White Wall on the East Side of the Lake. This area has a Very Large Weed Beds and you should fish as many of them as possible. Colors are the same as used on the North End.
Trolling: Trolling on the South End is totally opposite due to the fact of the much shallower water and the clarity of the water. This area is fished in a way that most people wouldn't believe, but if you aren't catching fish, than why not try it for a few hours...??? I tell people how we fish this area and I get the response, "You are Full of It," but try it and see for yourself. Troll Short Lines, which means no more than 20 Feet of Line behind your Boat. You can go as short as 5 - 6 feet of line depending on water depth. Note: Don't pull 5- 10 feet of line in 20 feet of water. I am talking 5 - 10 feet of water for Short Lines. Fish 10" Believers, jointed or solids; 9" Grandmas, Bagleys in 5, 6 or 8 inch size or the Rapala Shad Raps. Speed is Critical. Troll Fast..., about 4 to 5 M.P.H. Don't believe the old myth about Big Fish won't chase a lure, Because They Will... Because of water clarity, use the Brighter Colored Lures.
Remember, There is a 40 inch size limit on Muskies for Chautauqua Lake, so Please Handle these Fish with Care. Please Practice and Teach, Catch and Release of All Muskies regardless of Size. Because if We keep everything we catch, what will be left in 5 to 10 years...??? If you ever want the opportunity to catch a 30, 40 or even a 50 Pound Muskie, you have to Release those 45 to 50 inch Muskies you catch now.