The Saint John River Muskellunge Tagging Project, 2006 – 2015

January 2016 – Steven Kerr and Brandon Jones

A Saint. John River Muskellunge
A Saint. John River Muskellunge (Muskies Canada photo)

Executive Summary

This document has been prepared to summarize results of a muskellunge tagging project which has been conducted on the Saint John River, New Brunswick, from 2006 to 2015 (inclusive).  During that period of time, 691 muskellunge have been angled, tagged and released by members of the Sait John River chapter of Muskies Cnada Inc.  a total of 64 (9.3%) tagged muskellunge were recaptured by angling.  an additional four tagged fish were captured at the Mactaquac Dam fishway.

Most muskellunge were observed to establish discrete summer home ranges from which there was little, if any, movement.  Transitional movements are believed to occur during the spring and fall associated with spawning and the establishment of summer and winter ranges.  Muskellunge movements which were documented in this study occurred in both upstream and downstream directions in almost equal proportion.  Muskellunge also demonstrated the ability to move long distances both upstream and downstream including passage over/through the Mactaquac dam.

Results regarding muskellunge behavior and movements from this study, to date, are generally consistent with observations (small home ranges, males more sedentary than females, movements seasonal in nature, capable of long distance movements, etc.) reported from similar tagging studies in other North American jurisdictions.

It is proposed that future efforts be directed to obtaining more information on recaptured fish.  With additional recapture information, a more detailed analysis of muskellunge in the Saint John watershed can be completed.

Read the full report by clicking the link below (pdf)

St. John River Tagging Project , 2006-2015 (Final)