Mark–recapture studies are an important component of fisheries research and management. Underlying assumptions of such studies include minimal tag loss and negligible effects on the behavior, fitness, and survival of tagged individuals. Passive integrated transponder (PIT) tags are becoming increasingly commonplace, largely because of their small size, ease of implantation, longevity, and reportedly high rates of retention. We evaluated tag retention and survival and growth effects on age‐0 muskellunge Esox masquinongy marked with PIT tags at two implantation sites, the peritoneal cavity and the dorsal musculature, during overwinter trials in Illinois and Wisconsin. For both trials, no significant differences in survival (88.0–89.8%), relative daily growth (0.0006–0.00062 mm·mm−1·d−1), or tag retention (99.5–99.8%) were observed among the two implantation groups and a control group. Survival and tag retention were also similar between trials. Our findings suggest that PIT tags implanted either in the peritoneal cavity or the dorsal musculature are acceptable for use in marking age‐0 muskellunge.