The Muskellunge

The Muskellunge
Difficulty

Period

All year

Minimum size

101 cm

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The Muskellunge belongs to Esocidae family. It can reach 150 cm of length for 30 kg. It has a lifespan of 30 years. They spawn in springs. It can be fished all year round.
The sides vary from greenish to brownish to silvery, usually with dark marks, but marks may be absent. The white or cream belly often has brownish or greyish spots. The dorsal and anal fins, located far away on the body, range from greenish to brownish to blood-red and generally have dark marks. The duckbill jaws have long, pointed teeth: the roof of the mouth has shorter, curved tooth pads. The cheek cover and gills have scales on the upper half only. The underside of the jaw has sensory pores, the numbers varying from 12 to 20, but the number is generally 15 to 18.

The Muskellunge lifestyle

Muskellunge are ambush predators who will quickly bite their prey and swallow it head first. They eat all the varieties of fish in their ecosystem (including other muskellunge), as well as occasional rats, rats, frogs or ducks. They are able to take prey at two-thirds of their body length because of their large stomachs. In spring, they tend to prefer smaller baits because their metabolism is slower, while large baits are preferred in fall to prepare for winter.
The muskellunge is a random spawner, they do not build a nest. They disperse their eggs in shallow waters, most often on living or decomposing aquatic plants or on their roots. They spawn in early spring, normally at a water temperature of 9 to 15°C. They often breed in the same bays overgrown with weeds in the main lake or on shallow bays in large bays far from the shore, such as in the Great Lakes and some other large lakes. The muskellunge drops its eggs into waters up to six feet deep. Males visit the spawning grounds a few days before females. The spawning period lasts 5 to 10 days. When the eggs and milt are released, the males crush their tails wildly, apparently to help disperse the eggs. Violent activity usually results in deep cuts and split fins, and damage can kill fish.

The Muskellunge habitat

Muskellunge inhabit freshwater rivers and lakes and can survive in a wide range of temperatures. Muskellunge favors clear water and cannot adapt to water that remains cloudy most of the time. They also have a well-defined home range.
Muskellunge is only native to North America. Muskellunge is abundant in many lakes and rivers throughout much of North America. However, its highest concentrations are found in the waters of the Midwestern states.

The Muskellunge angling

They can be caught by trolling

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