Muskellunge in Georgian Bay and the North Channel

The waters of Georgian nBay and the North Channel of Lake Huron represent one of the most substantial areas that support muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) populations in North America. In spite of the importance of this area to muskellunge, very little information is available on the current status of many of these muskellunge populations. Recent initiatives aimed at compiling and summarizing existing information on muskellunge in Georgian Bay have been undertaken. In addition to these information sources, numerous unpublished Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources reports contain information on muskellunge populations which have not been consolidated into one document. A review of this information shows that several studies are available that document the distribution of muskellunge spawning and nursery areas for a very limited portion of Georgian Bay and the North Channel. Most of the remaining information is in the form of incidental catches from index trapnetting and creel surveys. For most areas of Georgian Bay and the North Channel the existing information ins not adequate to make any meaningful assessments of muskellunge populations. The ability fo make effective management decisions on this important resource in the future requires a more substantial and coordinated effort at data collection.

Peja Radojkovic