Did You Know ??

Pre-Spawn Chomp

Originally published in the Muskies Canada Release Journal –  March April 2008

From many angler observations, it appears female muskellunge will usually feed up in April before spawning activities start in early May. This behavior is witnessed by their presence at perch, crappie and other panfish runs and aggregations during the month of April.

This anecdote is passed on by Rob Cruise, the coordinator of a Muskies Canada telemetry project on the Madawaska Reservoir in the mid 1990s.

“Late last April, one of the radio collared muskellunge, a bruising 44 inch female( nicknamed Bess), was tracked to a location near a walleye spawning site just below the up stream dam and she remained there until after May 8.

This seemed strange because there was no typical muskie spawning habitat within miles. Concurrently the Arnprior Fish and Game Club were carrying out their annual walleye spawning bed census usually at night with spotlights, visually counting walleyes using the known spawning reefs on the reservoir.

One night in very early May, they reported seeing a large muskie ( with the external tag) stationed on the middle of a spawning reef surrounded by dozens of walleye. My guess is that Bess wasn’t there to lap up fresh spawn, but more likely to chomp down an amorous walleye or two.

Shortly after May 8th, Bess gave the trackers the slip for about a week. When she was finally found again she had moved 6 miles downstream to a large shallow flat, where ironically one of the tagged males had been residing for some time.

Mike Mitchell