Muskellunge Distribution and Management

Muskellunge Distribution and Management
Muskellunge Distribution and Management
If you're a muskie angler, or simply someone who would love someday to catch one of freshwater fishing's most elusive and sought after giants, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources has released a report that I think you'll find fascinating.  

Titled, Distribution and Management of Muskellunge in North America: An Overview the report documents current muskellunge distribution in North America as well as summarizes and compares the management approaches used in various jurisdictions.  
       (I caught this recent trophy while filming an epsiode of In-Fisherman television)

The report traces, for example, how muskellunge, which are found only in North America and indigenous to the Great Lakes region and upper Mississippi drainages of eastern North America have been introduced over the last century to a number of other locations.  

Still, even with these introductions you'll be surprised to learn there are only 1,866 muskellunge waters in North America and over 80% (1,527 waters) of these waters are located in just five jurisdictions (Michigan, Minnesota, Ontario, West Virginia, and Wisconsin).  

Equally interesting, as Steve Kerr, the report's author and Senior Fisheries Biologist with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources points out, almost 73% of North America?s muskellunge waters are sustained in whole or in part by natural reproduction.  

Ontario and Quebec, which arguably offer the finest muskie fisheries in the world in places like the St. Lawrence and Ottawa Rivers, Lake St. Clair, Georgian Bay, Lake Nipissing, Eagle Lake, Lac Seul and Lake of the Woods, manage their muskellunge fisheries solely on the basis on natural, self-sustaining stocks. 

Muskie anglers will also find fascinating the discussion around muskellunge management - the use of open seasons, catch and possession limits and size limits - as some agencies manage muskies to provide high quality trophy angling while others are less inclined to do so.  

Having been a dyed-in-the-wool muskie angler for more than half a century, I was particularly intrigued by the discussion concerning provincial and state record book fish.  It is a great guide for anglers framing what they can reasonably expect to catch in certain areas as well as focussing their attention on some high percentage locations likely to produce world record fish.     

Table 10 . Record muskellunge for individual North American jurisdictions. Some jurisdictions with record-sized fish may no longer have muskellunge present in their jurisdiction

Unlike many technical fisheries reports, Distribution and Management of Muskellunge in North America: An Overview is free of scientific jargon and mathematical models.  So you won't feel the need to scratch your head and wonder what the heck the author is trying to say.  

The report is extremely educational, highly informative and a super interesting read.  Which you can discover for yourself by clicking on this link: 

//files.worldfishingnetwork.com/Images/blogs/gord-pyzer/Muskellunge_in_North_America.pdf

 

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