Trophy-Sized Muskellunge Angled from Ontario Waters, 1917-2010

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Kerr, S. J., A. Kirkpatrick, and T. J. Haxton. 2011. Characteristics of Trophy-Sized Muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) Angled from Ontario Waters, 1917-2010. Fisheries Policy Section, Biodiversity Branch. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. Peterborough, Ontario. 7 p. + appendices.

Click here to view summaries from all archived OMNR publications.

Executive Summary
An effort was made to compile a listing of trophy-sized muskellunge which have been angled from Ontario waters. A trophy-sized muskellunge in this study was defined as a fish exceeding 114 cm (45 inches) in length or 10.0 kg (22 pounds) in weight. Information was obtained for a total of 9,708 muskellunge which were angled in Ontario between 1917 and 2010. The majority of records originated from volunteer angler diaries maintained by members of Muskies Inc. and Muskies Canada Inc. Most trophy-sized muskellunge were angled early in the season and numbers decreased as the season progressed. The geographic distribution of trophy-sized muskellunge was spread well over their Ontario range. There was a significant positive trend in the maximum size of muskellunge reported annually. There was also a significant increase in the maximum size of muskellunge reported after the changes to minimum size limit regulations in 2001.
An increase in the catch-and-release angling ethic in conjunction with the implementation of new minimum size limit regulations is believed to be responsible for the increased number of trophy-sized muskellunge being angled in Ontario. Based on the number of Ontario waters producing trophy-sized muskellunge and the increasing number of trophy-sized fish being reported annually, Ontario’s muskellunge management strategy appears to be achieving the objective of providing a diversity of trophy angling opportunities.

Sommaire

Des efforts ont été faits en vue de créer une liste des maskinongés-trophées pêchés à la ligne en eau ontarienne. Dans cette étude, pour être considéré comme un trophée, la longueur d’un maskinongé doit dépasser 114 cm (45 pouces) et son poids dépasser les 10 kg (22 livres). Des renseignements ont été obtenus concernant 9 708 maskinongés au total pêchés en eau ontarienne entre 1917 et 2010. La majorité des données provient des registres de pêcheurs bénévoles membres de Muskies Inc. et Muskies Canada Inc. La plupart des maskinongés-trophées ont été pêchés à la ligne tôt en saison et les nombres décroissaient progressivement pendant la saison. Les maskinongés-trophées se répartissent bien sur l’aire géographique ontarienne occupée par l’espèce. Les rapports annuels concernant la taille maximum des maskinongés révèlent une tendance positive marquée. Il y a aussi eu un accroissement substantiel de la taille maximum des maskinongés rapportée après les changements aux règlements de 2001 concernant les tailles limites.
On croit que l’accroissement du nombre de maskinongés-trophées pêchés à la ligne en eau ontarienne est attribuable à des facteurs conjugués, soit l’augmentation de la popularité du principe éthique de remise des prises à l’eau conjuguée et la mise en oeuvre de nouveaux règlements concernant les limites de taille. En se basant sur le nombre de plans d’eau ontariens produisant des maskinongés-trophées et le nombre croissant de maskinongés-trophées rapporté annuellement, la stratégie de gestion du maskinongé de l’Ontario semble répondre à l’objectif de procurer une gamme de possibilités de pêche à la ligne de poissons-trophées.

Read/download the full report by clicking the link below (PDF – 438 KB)
OMNR_Characteristics of Trophy-Sized Muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) Angled from Ontario Waters, 1917-2010

Muskellunge of the Ottawa River

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Kerr, S. J. 2010. Muskellunge of the Ottawa River. Biodiversity Branch. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. Peterborough, Ontario. 21 p. + appendices

Click here to view summaries from all archived OMNR publications.

Ecology of Ottawa River Muskellunge
Muskellunge Habitat
Generally, the habitat preferences of muskellunge may be described as heavily
vegetated lakes; stumpy, weedy bays; and slow-flowing river systems (see Appendix 1). They have the ability to withstand water temperatures as high as 32º C as well as low dissolved oxygen levels. Larger muskellunge may also be found in deeper, less vegetated waters.
There is considerable evidence to demonstrate reproductive homing in muskellunge (Crossman 1990, LaPan et al. 1996). Muskellunge spawning habitat generally occurs in shallow (38 – 51 cm deep), vegetated flooded areas at water temperatures between 10-15ºC (Scott and Crossman 1973, Cook and Solomon 1987, Zorn et al. 1998). Construction of the Carillon dam in 1964 flooded large areas of low lying land mostly on the Québec side of the lower Ottawa River. This resulted in the creation of spawning and nursery habitat for a number of fish species including muskellunge.

Read/download the full report by clicking the link below (PDF – 850 KB)
OMNR_Muskellunge of the Ottawa River_2010

Guidelines for Competitive Fishing Events for Muskellunge in Ontario

August 2007. Guidelines for Competitive Fishing Events for Muskellunge in Ontario. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. Peterborough, Ontario.

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Introduction
Competitive fishing is a growing industry in Ontario (Kerr and Kamke 2003, Kerr 2004). Bass (Micropterus spp.) are the most commonly targeted species at these events. Although competitive fishing events for muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) have been relatively uncommon to date, there apparently is increasing interest in organizing these events on some of Ontario’s trophy muskellunge waters. There are already several large muskellunge tournaments in adjacent U.S. jurisdictions.
Muskellunge are subject to physiological stress associated with capture and handling (Miles et al. 1974, Beggs et al. 1980). With the unique nature of wild muskellunge stocks in Ontario, their vulnerability as a low density predator, and a strong desire to protect the fishery, there was the need to develop best management practices for tournaments specifically directed toward muskellunge.
While it is believed that large prize tournaments for muskellunge should be strongly discouraged due to the unique characteristics of the species (low density populations and high susceptibility to post-release mortality), the following guidelines have been developed for tournament organizers who may still choose to hold a muskellunge tournament in Ontario. These guidelines endorse a varying or “tiered” approach for different events depending upon the magnitude of the event, characteristics of the muskellunge population in that water body, and the minimum size limits which are in place. It is proposed that a more cautious approach be taken in those events being held in low population density, less sustainable fisheries (e.g., trophy waters) and where fish are being retained for longer periods of time in order to verify size for entry into the event. Appendix 1 provides an outline of the Tiered Approach to Tournament Guidelines.
Guidelines on good catch-and-release practices for one species may not be appropriate for other species (Tufts 1999, Cooke and Suski 2004). These guidelines are not intended to apply to tournaments involving other fish species although there may be some practical application of these practices to other fisheries.
Key Principles
There are a number of key principles which form the foundation of these guidelines.
1. Competitive fishing is recognized as a legitimate activity in Ontario with many
social and economic benefits.
2. At catch-and-release events every effort should be made to ensure fish
experience minimal stress in order to maximize post-release survival. Catchand-
kill events for muskellunge should be discouraged.
3. Competitive fishing events should not threaten sustainability of the resource.
4. Competitive fishing events must comply with the Ontario Fishery Regulations and
the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act.
5. Safety sho

Catch and Release Angling: A Review with Guidelines for Proper Fish Handling Practices

Casselman, S. J. 2005. Catch-and-release angling: a review with guidelines for proper fish handling practices. Fish & Wildlife Branch. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. Peterborough, Ontario. 26 p.

Click here to view summaries from all archived OMNR publications.

 Executive Summary

The use of catch-and-release practices by anglers is increasing. This increase is a result of both anglers viewing the process as a conservation technique and also because catch-and-release practices are being mandated by fisheries managers. Despite the widespread use of catch-and-release, there is generally a lack of understanding regarding the mortality caused by the practice and how variation in catch-and-release techniques may affect the level of mortality.
Fortunately, the increase in catch-and-release practice by anglers has coincided with an increase in research examining catch-and-release practices. While most of the studies to date have been species specific, there are general recommendations that can be made based on the available information.
While catch-and-release is physiologically stressful, stress and therefore mortality can be minimized by following some general catch-and-release guidelines. Gear should be appropriate for the species being angled, allowing for quick retrieval. The use of barbless hooks and circle hooks should be considered to reduce the amount of time required to release fish. Air exposure should be minimized and fish should be released quickly. Depth of capture, hooking location and bleeding should be taken into account when deciding on whether or not to release a fish.
When performed correctly, catch-and-release can be successful with minimal harm to the fish and should be encouraged. However, due to the variation among species in response to catch-and-release techniques, it is recommended that further research is needed to create species-specific guidelines.

Sommaire

Les pêcheurs pratiquent de plus en plus la prise et remise à l’eau du poisson vivant. Cette augmentation a deux raisons : les pêcheurs considèrent que la technique va dans le sens de la conservation et les gestionnaires des pêches la prescrivent. Malgré le recours très fréquent à la prise et remise à l’eau, il existe en règle générale un manque de compréhension concernant la mortalité qu’elle engendre et l’incidence que peut avoir la variété des techniques sur le taux de mortalité.
Heureusement, l’élargissement de cette pratique par les pêcheurs a coïncidé avec des recherches poussées dans ce sens. Quoique la majorité des études à ce jour aient porté sur des espèces particulières, il est possible de faire des recommandations d’ordre général en fonction des renseignements disponibles.
Bien que la pêche avec remise à l’eau soit psychologiquement stressante, ce stress et par conséquent la mortalité peuvent être minimisés si on respecte certaines directives générales. Les pêcheurs doivent posséder du matériel de pêche approprié à l’espèce pêchée, permettant ainsi une capture rapide. L’usage d’hameçons sans barbe et d’hameçons circulaires devrait être envisagé afin de réduire le temps de remise à l’eau requis. Le poisson devrait passer un minimum de temps hors de l’eau et être relâché rapidement. Il doit être tenu compte de la profondeur de capture, de l’emplacement de l’hameçon et de la quantité de sang perdu avant de décider si un poisson doit être remis à l’eau on non.
Le poisson sera blessé le moins possible si l’opération de prise et remise à l’eau est effectuée correctement. Cette pratique dans ce cas devrait être encouragée. Toutefois, en raison des différences existant entre les espèces relativement aux techniques de prise et remise à l’eau, on recommande la poursuite des recherches afin d’élaborer des directives particulières aux espèces.

Read/download the full report by clicking the link below (PDF – 323 KB)

OMNR – Catch and Release Angling: A Review with Guidelines for Proper Fish Handling Practices_2005

OMNR – Characteristics of Ontario Muskellunge Fisheries Based on Volunteer Angler Diary Information_2004

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Kerr, S. J. 2004. Characteristics of Ontario muskellunge fisheries based on volunteer angler diary information. Fish and Wildlife Branch. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. Peterborough, Ontario. 19 p. + appendices.

Click here to view summaries from all archived OMNR publications.

Abstract
This report consolidates volunteer angler diary information, collected from a variety of sources over a period of more than forty years, to provide an overview of muskellunge sport fisheries in Ontario. Based on reported angling effort it is obvious that muskellunge are becoming an increasingly popular species. Muskellunge catches were found to be strongly correlated with reported angling effort. Angling success, in terms of catch-per-unit-effort, has improved over the past twenty-five years and Ontario waters now provide some of the highest quality muskellunge fisheries in North America. Muskellunge in excess of 50 inches are captured from several waters each year. It is expected that the next world record muskellunge will be angled from somewhere in Ontario. Voluntary release rates of muskellunge among muskellunge anglers have also increased over the past two decades to the point where approximately 98% of all angled muskellunge are now released after capture. Overall, Ontario’s muskellunge fisheries appear to be stable and sustainable. This can be attributed to an increase in the catch-and-release ethic as well as new minimum size limit regulations. Volunteer angler diary programs should continue to be used to monitor the status of Ontario’s muskellunge fisheries in the future.

Read/download the full report by clicking the link below (PDF – 1.46 MB)

OMNR – Characteristics of Ontario Muskellunge Fisheries Based on Volunteer Angler Diary Information_2004

Effective Release Techniques for Muskellunge – 1999

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Click here to view summaries from all archived OMNR publications.

1999. Effective Release Techniques for Muskellunge – 1999. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. Peterborough, Ontario.

The muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) or muskie as it is commonly known, is a fast growing predator and highly prized torophy fish.  The muskie is closely related to the northern pike (Esox lucius) which leads some inexperienced anglers to mistake the two since their shapes are nearly identical.

Colouration is probably the easiest way to separate the species.  The colour of the muskie is variable, ranging from silver-green to dark brown, but is consistent with dark markings on a light background.  In contrast, the northern pike has light markings on a dark background.  Muskies have a pointed tail and angular fins: the pike’s tail and fins are rounded.  Musies have more scales on their cheeks and more sub-mandibular pors than pike.

Read/download the full report by clicking the link below (PDF – 850 KB)
OMNR_Effective Release Techniques for Muskellunge_1999

Brewer Park Project Wins Prestigious National Conservation Award

OTTAWA, ON, Thursday, February 18, 2016Brewer Park Pond Restoration Project has received the Top Canadian Fishing Industry Conservation Project Award for 2015. This award, presented at the Spring Fishing and Boat Show at the International Centre in Mississauga, ON is determined by a vote of the members of the Canadian Angling Hall of Fame.

Award
2015 Conservation Award

For Muskies Canada (Ottawa Chapter) and the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority (RVCA), this is the second year in a row where one of their partnership projects has received recognition. In 2014, the partners were recognized for work to create nursery and feeding habitat for fish along the Jock River in Richmond.

“The Brewer Park Pond Project was a particularly exciting project,” says Jennifer Lamoureux, RVCA Aquatic Fish Habitat Biologist. “Rarely is there a chance to have such significant impact on habitat in the heart of the city.”

Work began in fall 2014 to return the landlocked Brewer Park Pond, a former artificial swimming hole from the 1960s, back into a naturally functioning habitat connected to the Rideau River. Project partners looked to increase overall biodiversity of the pond with shoreline plantings, breeding bird habitat, amphibian habitat, and prime areas for spawning, nursery, rearing and feeding habitat for local fish species found in the Rideau all year round.

“It’s pretty special for a city to have northern pike and muskellunge in their downtown waterways,” said Peter Levick, President of Muskies Canada. “We worked for many years to support a project of this importance in an urban setting and we are delighted with the partnership that made it possible.”

The project brings biodiversity to the heart of the city with new and improved natural habitat for all sorts of aquatic species and improved habitat for shoreline animals.

“Extensive work was done to remove soil and contour the pond to make it a more useful and diverse fish habitat,” commented Mrs. Lamoureux who oversaw the project. “But a great deal of planning went in to optimizing the changes so that many different species — including birds, turtles and frogs, would benefit from the restoration.”

“This work is only made possible thanks to the many partners,” acknowledged Mr. Levick — a sentiment quickly reiterated by Mrs. Lamoureux. “Without the involvement of many, we couldn’t get this sort of work done. We’ve had great interest and support and needless to say, we’ll be looking for another project in the future.”

This award was accepted on behalf of Richcraft, Minto, the City of Ottawa, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, Muskies Canada, the Institute of Environmental Science at Carleton University, and the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority. Special thanks goes out to the Ottawa South Community Association and the many community volunteers who assisted with tree and shrub planting.

Project Highlights:
16,000 square metres of new, functioning wetland and fish habitat in the heart of the City of Ottawa
1,000 truckloads of soil removed to contour pond into more productive habitat
1,600 trees, shrubs and aquatic plants planted in and around the pond by 120 community volunteers
8 weeks of construction from October to December 2014
basking logs, root wads and log piles installed as habitat for turtles, fish, amphibians

Photo available upon request. Contact diane.downey@rvca.ca

For more information contact:

Jennifer Lamoureux
Aquatic and Fish Habitat Biologist, RVCA
613-692-3571 Ext 1108
jennifer.lamoureux@rvca.ca

Fishing Jerk baits

I love going back through old Muskie magazines and articles looking for « new » ideas.  This isn’t rocket science.  The tools we use now are radically different and better than they were 20 years ago, but we’re still trying to fool an animal with a brain the size of a pea and get it to attack our bait.

I found this article in the Muskies Canada Release Journal  – April 1986.  I’ve always struggled with jerk baits and as a result, I don’t fish them that often.  The article is 30 years old, but I’m hoping it pays dividends next season …..

JERKS OR JERKBAITS

By John Parry – From Muskies Canada Release Journal April 1986

What kind of a person hurls a piece of wood on a line into the water, reels it in and does it again and again – all day long?

Well, if you’re not a muskie angler I think I would call you a jerk, however if you are a muskie angler you’re definitely a jerkbaiter.

Using a jerkbait is hard work if you do it all day but there are some ways to make it easier.

Rule number one is pace, think of how long you plan to be on the water then work the biat with the appropriate  vigor.

Rule number two is to not overwork your baits but to develop a consistent pattern with moderate pulls.

The moderation of the extent of the pulls will allow your bait to work well, help you keep control over the bait, make it easier to maintain your balance and will keep you from feeling like your arms and back had been run over by a freight train by the end of the day.

jerkbait_01

I mentioned the word consistent when I spoke on how to work the bait, this can mean different things but in this case it was directed at the setting of a specific pattern and following it.  If you do a pull, pull, pull, twitch, twitch, pull, pull, pull pattern follow it and build a rhythm with it and after a while you will find it quite easy.

I have also found gliders are the easiest type to work because they have virtually no water resistance and like their name glide through the water.

 

 

 

In contrast, the diving baits such as the Suick and Bobby baits have to be pumped down with very rapid pulls and quick reeling.

The vertical movement of these lures causes quite a bit more resistance in the water and can tire you quicker than the gliders.

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The two lures have their own place in your arsenal and if used properly they can be very productive.  The diving baits are best utilized in areas where you want to get down to the fish such as at drop offs or over deep weeds.  In contrast, the gliders perform much better over shallow rocks and weed beds where their tantalizing side to side action can be effective without hanging up.

The understanding of why these lures work is extremely important to the way they are worked.

These lures are representing the muskies favorite snack, that is a wounded bait fish and must somewhere along the line give a reasonable imitation of them.

Injured bait fish do very strange things because in most cases they can predict their own future, such as someone’s dinner, therefore they give their last ounce of strength to get out of dangers way.

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I have personally witnessed many injured perch, bass and sunfish on their sides attempting to dive to the safety of the weed bed below and after a very short period of time they mystically disappear.  These fish have all but lost control of their bodies, as they seem to gain buoyancy and lose their equilibrium.

This is what your jerkbait is attempting to duplicate, and that is why I have found an erratic retrieve in most cases will interest more fish.

The next problem we fact after getting them interested enough to take a good shot at trying to inhale your offering is how to keep her on.

This year I have been a good example of what not to do, because I ended the season 0 for 5.  All of these fish I had on and had hooks into, so call it what you want but let’s be kind and say I’m a very good sportsman involved in long distance release.

The truth of the matter is that the problem I experienced last year is a common one for Jerkbait anglers, because the weight of the lure combined with the problems of getting really good hook sets leaves the greatest odds of the fish escaping.

There are ways of getting around these odds, the first being the use of extra sharp hooks, these will make it much easier to penetrate the extremely hard bony mouth of the lunge with a good hook set.  The second is with tackle, a relatively stiff muskie rod combined with heavy dacron fishing line gives you that no-stretch and power combination required to drive home those sharp hooks.  I also use a good quality heavy bait casting reel, and this is a must, because a light reel will virtually fall apart internally when attempting to handle these big baits.

The grip of the rod is very important if you want to obtain the maximum leverage during the hook set.  A very good friend of mine, and might I say one of the best muskie men I know, converted me from the standard grip of cupping the reel to holding onto the top grip of the rod.

jerkbait_04

The new method of holding on to the rod felt very strange to me, but after a while it was quite natural and I really can feel the added pressure I am able to exert through the rod.

The playing of the fish is really no different than if you were fighting any muskie, only you must realize that if the fish jumps the odds seem to be much greater on you losing the fish, (I know that’s how I lost most of mine this year).

The next topic that I feel that I should mention is when and where to use these baits.  These lures can produce fish all year, but I have a particular preference for using them in the fall season.  This time of year is when the truly large fish become relatively easy to locate and are really hungry.

The way I discover these locations is first by marking on my hydrographic map the fastest breaking shorelines and then picking out the best areas to concentrate my efforts.

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The inside turn on this shoreline is a prime fall muskie spot, as it is close to deep water and is not far from a large week flat area which draws these fish during the summer season.

 

 

 

The very fast drop off helps these large fish fee effectively at a time of year when weather conditions change very quickly.

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In the summer with the more stable weather conditions, the muskie can travel further because once she gets to the feeding area the chances are that the conditions will not change radically and therefore she will not be in constant motion without feeding.  With this increase in the distance she is willing to travel, so increases the locations where you might find her and makes it a more time consuming process.

In the fall I have found that either the fish is in a location or she isn’t and within a few casts you will find this out and you can eliminate a lot of water very quickly.

These are but a few suggestions to make it easier to use these lures productively, but the main point is you must use the bait.  To gain confidence in it you will need to work it properly and you must feel comfortable with it on your line.  After you see the first lunge take a shot at it I’m sure you’ll be like me, hooked on Jerkbaits !

 

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2016 Hugh C. Becker Muskie Symposium

50 Years of Co-operation

March 13-15, Minneapolis, MN

Registration is now open. 

Download the schedule of speakers (.xlsx File – 17 KB). 

Abstracts for all talks and poster sessions

Keynote Speakers


Trophy Muskellunge Populations and Fisheries Can Be Sustainable

John M. Casselman*, Queen’s University, Department of Biology – Kingston ON

Jonah L. Withers, Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN

Thomas J. Howson, Trent University, Peterborough, ON


The Muskies Inc. Lunge Log Database . . . 370,000 Muskies and Growing

Kevin Richards*, Muskies Inc., Henley, MO

Juris Ozols, Muskies, Inc., Apple Valley, MN

Randy Lowewecke, Muskies, Inc., Rockford, IL

Jim Bunch, Muskies, Inc., Rochester, MN


 Anglers, Science, and Management


Going Wild: Canada’s Path to Sustainable Muskellunge Populations

Peter Levick, President, Muskies Canada Inc., Papineauville, QC


 Ontario’s Muskellunge Angler Log Program – 1979-2015

Dan Taillon*, Fisheries Section, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, Peterborough, ON

Davin Heinbuck*, National Research Director, Muskies Canada Inc., St. Mary’s, ON


 Characteristics of the Muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) Fishery Based on Angler Diaries in the St. Lawrence River, Quebec (Canada).

Philippe Brodeur*, Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs, direction de la gestion de la faune Mauricie–Centre-du-Québec, Trois-Rivières, QC

Rémi Bacon, Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs, direction de la gestion de la faune Mauricie–Centre-du-Québec, Trois-Rivières, QC

Daniel Hatin, Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs, direction de la gestion de la faune Estrie-Montréal-Montérégie-Laval, Longueuil, QC


Volunteer Guides as a Novel Source of Data Collection for Riverine Muskellunge Populations in Northwest Wisconsin

Max Wolter, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Hayward, Wisconsin


 Muskellunge Stock Assessment in Two North-Central Minnesota Lakes Aided by Angler Participation.

Matthew C. Ward*, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Division of Fish and Wildlife, Walker Area Fisheries, Walker, MN,

Loren M. Miller, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Fisheries Research, and Department of Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN

Doug W. Schultz, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Division of Fish and Wildlife, Walker Area Fisheries, Walker, MN

Carl A. Pedersen, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Division of Fish and Wildlife, Walker Area Fisheries, Walker, MN


The Saint John River Muskellunge Tagging Project, 2006-2015.

Steven J. Kerr*, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (retired), Ennismore, ON.

Brandon Jones, Saint John River Chapter, Muskies Canada Inc., Upper Kingsclear, NB


Maintaining Momentum in Ohio’s Stocked Muskellunge Fisheries through an Angler Agency Partnership

Scott Hale*, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife, Columbus, OH

Kevin Page, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife, Hebron, OH

Curtis Wagner, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife, Akron, OH


A Management Tool for Biologists and an Online Fishing Resource for Anglers: An Introduction to the Ohio Muskie Angler Log

Curtis Wagner*, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife, Akron, OH

Kevin Page, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife, Hebron, OH

Edward Lewis, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife, Findlay, OH

  1. Scott Hale, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife, Columbus, OH

Integrating Voluntary Angler Catch Reports with Mark-Recapture Data to Model a Muskellunge Fishery in Clear Fork Reservoir, Ohio

Kevin Page, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife, Hebron, OH

Edward Lewis, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife, Findlay, OH


Assessment of a Riverine Muskellunge Population in Minnesota

Owen Baird*, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Brainerd, MN

Andrew J. Carlson, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Brainerd, MN

Loren M. Miller, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Fisheries Research, and Department of Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN


Muskellunge Habitat


Spawning Habitat for Muskellunge Is Far More Variable Than We Ever Expected – Even 2 Years Ago.

Jim Diana1*, Kyle Battige1, Paul Cunningham3, Patrick Hanchin2, Cleyo Harris2, Terry Margenau3, John Molenhouse1, Joe Nohner1, Nick Popoff2, Dave Rowe3, Ashley Rust1, Mike Thomas2, and Sarah Zorn1.

1School of Natural Resources and Environment, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 2Michigan Department of Natural Resources

3Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources


Fine-Scale Features of Muskellunge Spawning Grounds in Georgian Bay

Dan Weller*, Department of Biology, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON

Patricia Chow-Fraser, Department of Biology, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON


 Index of Nursery Habitat Suitability for Muskellunge in Georgian Bay, Lake Huron

John Paul Leblanc*, Department of Biology, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON

Patricia Chow-Fraser, Department of Biology, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON


 Effects of Water Level and Substrate Slope on Availability of Suitable Habitat for Young-of-the-Year Muskellunge in Georgian Bay

Patricia Chow-Fraser*, Department of Biology, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON

Dan Weller, Department of Biology, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON


 Habitat Use by age-0 Muskellunge in the Upper Niagara River, New York

Derek P. Crane*, Department of Biology, Coastal Carolina University, Conway, SC

Kevin L. Kapuscinski, School of Biological Sciences, Lake Superior State University, Sault Ste. Marie, MI


 Spring Flow Variability Associated With Muskellunge Recruitment on the Upper James River, VA

Daniel B. Goetz*, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, Farmville, VA

Scott M. Smith, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, Forest, VA


 Evaluating Spawning Habitat and Natural Recruitment of Great Lakes Spotted Muskellunge in Green Bay, Lake Michigan

Kyle Battige, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Fort Collins, CO

Jim Diana, University of Michigan School of Natural Resources, Ann Arbor, MI

David Rowe*, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Fitchburg, WI


Muskellunge Population Dynamics 


St. Lawrence River Muskellunge and Effects of Invasive Species and VHSV: Population Indicators and Potential Effects of Emerging Viral Variants

John M. Farrell*, State University of New York – College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, NY

Rodman G. Getchell, Cornell University – College of Veterinary Medicine, Ithaca, NY

Emily R. Cornwell, Cornell University – College of Veterinary Medicine, Ithaca, NY


Die-Off of Muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) in the Upper St. Lawrence River Caused by Viral Haemorrhagic Septicaemia, 2005–2008: Impacts and Consequences

John.M. Casselman*, Queen’s University, Department of Biology, Kingston, ON

Tom Lusk, Parks Canada, St. Lawrence Islands National Park, Mallorytown, ON

John.M. Farrell, State University of New York – College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, NY

Colin Lake, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Lake Ontario Management Unit, Glenora Fisheries Station, Picton, ON


A Modeling Evaluation of Multiple Threats to Lake St. Clair Muskellunge

Jason Smith*, Little Travers Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, Harbor Springs, MI

Daniel Hayes, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI

Mary Tate Bremigan, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI

Michael Thomas, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Lake St. Clair Fisheries Research Station, Harrison Twp., MI


Effect of Stocking and Biotic and Abiotic Factors on Muskellunge Recruitment in Northern Wisconsin Lakes

Todd S. Caspers1, College of Natural Resources, University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point, Stevens Point, WI

Michael J. Hansen2*, College of Natural Resources, University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point, Stevens Point, WI

Steven W. Hewett, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Bureau of Fisheries Management, Madison, WI 

1Present address: North Dakota Game and Fish Department, Devils Lake, ND

2Present address: U.S. Geological Survey, Great Lakes Science Center, Hammond Bay Biological Station, Millersburg, MI


Electrofishing Catchability of Juvenile Muskellunge in Northern Wisconsin Lakes

Janice Kerns1,2*, Daniel Isermann1,3, and Timothy Simonson4

1Fisheries Analysis Center, College of Natural Resources, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Stevens Point, WI

2Wisconsin Cooperative Fishery Research Unit, College of Natural Resources, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Stevens Point, WI

3U.S. Geological Survey, Wisconsin Cooperative Fishery Research Unit, College of Natural Resources, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Stevens Point, WI

4Bureau of Fisheries Management, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, WI


Muskellunge Population Responses to Angler Catch and Release Practices in Escanaba Lake, WI, 1987 – 2015.

Lawrence D. Eslinger*, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Bureau of Fisheries Management, Woodruff, WI

Greg G. Sass, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Bureau of Science Services, Escanaba Lake Research Station, Boulder Junction, WI

Steven P. Newman (retired), Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Bureau of Science Services, Escanaba Lake Research Station, Boulder Junction, WI


Effects of Consumption-Oriented Versus Trophy-Oriented Fisheries on Muskellunge Population Size Structure in Northern Wisconsin

Matthew Faust1*, Fisheries Analysis Center, College of Natural Resources, University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point, Stevens Point, WI

Michael Hansen2, Fisheries Analysis Center, College of Natural Resources, University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point, Stevens Point, WI

1Present address: Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Sandusky, OH

2Present address: U.S. Geological Survey, Great Lakes Science Center, Hammond Bay Biological Station, Millersburg, MI


Haters Gonna Hate (Esox edition): User-group Conflicts and Vigilante Justice in the Age of Social Media

Brian R. Murphy*, Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA

Sasha S. Doss, Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA


Can They Play Nicely? Creating and Managing A Two-Predator System

Sasha Doss*, Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA

Joe Williams, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, Blacksburg, VA

Brian R. Murphy, Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA

Vic DiCenzo, Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA

Leandro Castello, Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA


Muskellunge Biology, Ecology, and Life History


Feeding Habitats and Diet of the Muskellunge (Esox masquinongy): A Review

Steven J. Kerr, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (retired), Ennismore, Ontario


Tiger Muskellunge Diet and Effect on Target Prey Species in Curlew Lake, Washington

Marcus J. Divens*, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Spokane, WA

William P. Baker, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Colville, WA

Bruce D. Bolding, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Olympia, WA


Seasonal Movements of Muskellunge in North Bend Lake, West Virginia.

Scott F. Morrison*, West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, Parkersburg, WV

Lila H. Warren, West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, Beckley, WV


West Virginia Muskellunge: Findings from Recent Telemetry Studies

Lila H. Warren, West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, Beckley WV


Movement of Muskellunge in the St. Croix River System

Joel Stiras,East Metro Area Fisheries Office, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, St. Paul, MN


A Field Portable Non-Lethal Muskellunge Tissue Sampling Device for the Analysis of Harmful Environmental Contaminants

Justen Poole*, Department of Chemistry, University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Vincent Bessonneau, Department of Chemistry, University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Jonathan Grandy, Department of Chemistry, University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Janusz Pawliszyn, Department of Chemistry, University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada


Genetics


A review of Muskellunge population genetics: implications for management and research directions

Loren M. Miller.1*, John M. Farrell2, Kevin L. Kapuscinski3, Kim Scribner4, Brian S. Sloss5, Keith Turnquist6, Chris C. Wilson7

1 Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and Department of Fisheries, Wildlife & Conservation Biology, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN

2State University of New York – College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, NY

3School of Biological Sciences, CRW225, Lake Superior State University, Sault Ste. Marie, MI

4Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
5College of Natural Resources, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Stevens Point, WI

6Wisconsin Cooperative Fishery Research Unit, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Stevens Point, WI

7Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, Trent University Peterborough, ON


 Genetic Insights into Wild Muskellunge Populations in Ontario

Chris Wilson, Aquatic Research Section, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, Trent University, Peterborough, ON


Population Genomics of Muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) in the St. Lawrence River and the Inland Waters of Québec (Canada): Impact of 47 years of Stocking and Management Implications of a Trophy Fishery

Anne Carrier*, Département de Biologie, Institut de Biologie Intégrative et des Systèmes, Université Laval, Quebec, QC

Anne-Laure Ferchaud, Département de Biologie, Institut de Biologie Intégrative et des Systèmes, Université Laval, Quebec, QC

Philippe Brodeur, 2Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs, direction générale du secteur central, direction de la gestion de la faune Mauricie–Centre-du-Québec, 100 rue Laviolette, bureau 207, Trois-Rivières, G9A 5S9, Canada

John M.Farrell, State University of New York – College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, NY

Louis Bernatchez, Département de Biologie, Institut de Biologie Intégrative et des Systèmes, Université Laval, Quebec, QC


Muskellunge Genetic Integrity and Structure in the Great Lakes: Implications for Propagation Programs

Keith Turnquist1*, John M. Farrell2, Kevin L. Kapuscinski 3, Loren M. Miller4, Kim Scribner5, Brian S. Sloss6, Chris C. Wilson7

1Wisconsin Cooperative Fishery Research Unit, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Stevens Point, WI

2State University of New York – College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, NY

3School of Biological Sciences, CRW225, Lake Superior State University, Sault Ste. Marie, MI

4Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and Department of Fisheries, Wildlife & Conservation Biology, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN

5Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI

6College of Natural Resources, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Stevens Point, WI

7Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, Trent University Peterborough, ON


Curtis P. Wagner1*, Illinois Natural History Survey, Kaskaskia Biological Station, Sullivan, IL

Max H. Wolter2, Illinois Natural History Survey, Kaskaskia Biological Station, Sullivan, IL

Corey S. DeBoom, Illinois Natural History Survey, Kaskaskia Biological Station, Sullivan, IL

Matthew J. Diana, Illinois Natural History Survey, Kaskaskia Biological Station, Sullivan, IL

Michael J. Weber, Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management, Iowa State University, Ames, IA

David H. Wahl, Illinois Natural History Survey, Kaskaskia Biological Station, Sullivan, IL

1 Present address: Ohio Division of Wildlife, Akron, OH

2 Present address: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Hayward, WI


Water wolves and tigers: testing for directional hybridization and introgression between Northern Pike (Esox lucius) and Muskellunge (Esox masquinongy)

Cait Nemeczek*, Department of Biology, Trent University, Peterborough, ON

Joanna Freeland, Department of Biology, Trent University, Peterborough, ON

Chris Wilson, Aquatic Research Section, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, Trent University, Peterborough, ON


Muskellunge Assessment Techniques


Using Long-term Mark-Recapture Data to Assess Muskellunge Population Characteristics: Application to Two Illinois Reservoirs
Neil P. Rude1*, David C. Glover2,William D. Hintz3, Shawn Hirst4, Rob Hilsabeck4, Wayne Herndon4, and Gregory W. Whitledge1

Presenting author email: nrude@siu.edu

1Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL

2Ohio State University, Columbus, OH

3Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY

4Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Murphysboro, IL


 A Comparison of Muskellunge Weight Estimation Equations to a Modified Length-Girth Technique

Jonathan R. Meerbeek, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Spirit Lake, IA


The Birth of a Muskie Lake: A Strategy for Assessing Survival, Age and Growth

Jordan G. Weeks, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Fisheries Management, La Crosse, WI


Understanding Muskellunge Growth Using PIT-tag Recapture data in Lakes in Northwestern Wisconsin

Timothy Parks*, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Bureau of Science Services, Spooner, WI

Jeff Kampa, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Fisheries Management, Spooner, WI

Gene Hatzenbeler, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Fisheries Management, Spooner, WI

Martin Jennings, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, St. Paul, MN


Assessment of Leech Lake Strain Musky Stocking in Lake Wissota, WI

Joseph Gerbyshak, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Fisheries Management, Eau Claire, WI


A General Assessment of a Southern Riverine Muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) Population

Jason M. Hallacher*, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, Region 4 Aquatics, Verona, VA

Brad Fink, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, Region 4 Aquatics, Verona, VA

Steve J. Reeser, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, Region 4 Aquatics, Verona, VA


Population Estimate of Adult Muskellunge in Lake Bemidji

Anthony J. Kennedy, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Bemidji Area Fisheries Office, Bemidji, Minnesota, MN

Andrew L. Thompson,, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Bemidji Area Fisheries Office, Bemidji, Minnesota, MN

Andrew P. Wiering*, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Bemidji Area Fisheries Office, Bemidji, Minnesota, MN

Gary C. Barnard, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Bemidji Area Fisheries Office, Bemidji, Minnesota, MN


Regional Management Approaches


130 Years of Muskellunge Management on Chautauqua Lake

Christopher Legard, New York Department of Environmental Conservation, Buffalo, NY


Ontario’s Approach to the Management of Muskellunge

Dan Taillon, Fisheries Section, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, Peterborough, ON


Managing and Monitoring Muskellunge Populations in Eastern Georgian Bay and the North Channel of Lake Huron- A Twenty Year Retrospective

Arunas Liskauskas, Upper Great Lakes Management Unit, Lake Huron Office, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, Owen Sound, ON


Managing Muskellunge in MN: Deliberate Steps to Better Fishing in the Next Two Decades

Mike Habrat*, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Detroit Lakes, MN

T.J. DeBates, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, St. Paul, MN

Steve Mero, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Grand Ripids, MN

Jim Wolters, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Fergus Falls, MN


Trends in Muskellunge Fishing Tournaments in a North Central Wisconsin County

Dave Seibel, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Fisheries Management, Antigo, WI


Managing Muskie on the Fringe: An Examination of Nebraska’s Efforts to Provide Quality Fishing Outside the Native Range

Keith Koupal, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, Kearney, NE


Muskellunge in Eastern South Dakota

Brian G. Blackwell*, South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks, Webster, SD

David O. Lucchesi, South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks, Sioux Falls, SD

Matthew J. Ward, South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks, Blue Dog State Fish Hatchery, Waubay, SD


Muskellunge Propagation and Stocking


Realized Effects of Implementing a Genetic Broodstock Management Plan for Muskellunge in Wisconsin.

Justin A. VanDeHey*, Fisheries Propagation Science Center, College of Natural Resources, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Stevens Point, WI

Zeb Woiak, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Resource Center, Whitney Genetics Laboratory, 555 Lester Avenue Onalaska, WI 54650

Brian L. Sloss, Fisheries Propagation Science Center, College of Natural Resources, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Stevens Point, WI


Paternity Analysis of Pooled-Milt Spawning Practices for Muskellunge Broodstocks

Loren M. Miller, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Fisheries Research, and Department of Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN


Growth, Condition, and Short-term Survival of Age-0 Muskellunge Reared Using Two Different Techniques

Michael F. Vaske1*, Justin A. VanDeHey1, Dan J. Dembkowski1, Brian L. Sloss2, Tim D. Simonson3, Richard A. Klett4

1Fishery Propagation Science Center, College of Natural Resources, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Stevens Point, WI

2U.S. Geological Survey, Wisconsin Cooperative Fishery Research Unit, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Stevens Point, WI

3Bureau of Fisheries Management, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, WI

4Wild Rose State Fish Hatchery, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Wild Rose, WI


 An Overview of the Lake Simcoe Muskellunge Restoration Project

Gabrielle Liddle, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, Aurora District, Aurora, ON


Poster Session


Influence of Habitat Additions on Survival, Growth, and Condition of Extensively-Reared Muskellunge

Daniel J. Dembkowski*, Wisconsin Cooperative Fishery Research Unit, Fish Propagation Science Center, College of Natural Resources, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Stevens Point, WI

Steven Fajfer, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Wild Rose State Fish Hatchery, Wild Rose, WI

David Ewald, Fishiding Reclaimed Artificial Fish Habitat, Wonder Lake, IL

David Rowe*, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Fitchburg, WI

Mike Rennicke, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Fitchburg, WI

Scot Stewart, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Fitchburg, WI (retired)


Predicting Abundance of Adult Muskellunge in Northern Wisconsin Lakes

Janice Kerns1,2*, Daniel Isermann1,3, Timothy Simonson4, Joseph Hennessy4, and Thomas Cichosz4

1Fisheries Analysis Center, College of Natural Resources, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Stevens Point, WI

2Wisconsin Cooperative Fishery Research Unit, College of Natural Resources, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Stevens Point, WI

3U.S. Geological Survey, Wisconsin Cooperative Fishery Research Unit, College of Natural Resources, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Stevens Point, WI

4Bureau of Fisheries Management, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, WI


Long-Term Changes in Wisconsin’s Muskellunge Fishery

Timothy D. Simonson, Bureau of Fisheries Management, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, WI


Effects of a 40-inch Minimum Length Limit on Muskellunge in Wisconsin Lakes

Timothy D. Simonson, Bureau of Fisheries Management, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, WI


Development of a cooperative relationship with the Wisconsin Department of Resources (WDNR) for the purpose of side by side research of differential species of Muskellunge Stocking.

Winston John Hopkins, Capital City Muskies Inc., Madison, WI


Brood Source Identification and the Effects of Supplementation on Muskellunge in the Great Lakes

Patrick Hanchin1*, Brian L. Sloss2, Keith Turnquist3, Kevin Kapuscinski4, John Farrell5, Loren Miller6, Kim Scribner7, and Chris Wilson8

1Charlevoix Fisheries Station, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Charlevoix, MI

2College of Natural Resources, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Stevens Point, WI

3Wisconsin Cooperative Fishery Research Unit, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Stevens Point, WI

4School of Biologial Sciences, CRW225, Lake Superior State University, Sault Ste. Marie, MI

5State University of New York – College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, NY

6Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and Department of Fisheries, Wildlife & Conservation Biology, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN

7Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI

8Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, Trent University Peterborough, ON