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(English) Wolter, M. 2017. Volunteer guides as a novel source of data collection for rivering muskellunge populations in northwest Wisconsin. p 123-125 In K. L. Kapuscinski, T. D. Simonson, D. P. Crane, S. J. Kerr, J. S. Diana and J. M. Farrell [eds.]. Muskellunge Management: Fifty Years of Cooperation among Anglers, Scientists and Fisheries Biologists. American Fisheries Society Symposium 85. Bethesda, Maryland. 675 p.

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Voluntary Angler Diaries

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Previous evaluations of creel surveys have found non-reporting, recall bias, species misidentification and high drop our rates to inhibit overall effectiveness. Participation in this volunteer creel project was limited to a small group of dedicated professional guides that met annually with Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources staff for training and instruction to ensure high quality data collection and reliable reporting. Data collection began in 2012 and continued through the 2016 open water Wisconsin fishing season. The volunteer guides initiated collection of data for several variables that were not originally considered by agency personnel.

While there are several challenges to initiating and maintaining angler-agency partnerships, they can be an efficient means to collect relevant muskellunge population data in uniquely challenging environments such as river, particularly in comparison to tradition fisheries survey methods used primarily on lakes such as trap netting or electrofishing. Cooperative partnerships between agencies and anglers have the added benefit of generating mutual trust and facilitating exchange of information related to user experience.

voluntary-angler-diaries

(English) Ward, M. C., L. M. Miller, D. W. Schultz, C. A. Pedersen, C. S. Anderson and D. L. Bahr. 2017. Muskellunge population assessment in two northcentral lakes aided by angler participation. p. 95-177 In K. L. Kapuscinski, T. D. Simonson, D. P. Crane, S. J. Kerr, J. S. Diana and J. M. Farrell [eds.]. Muskellunge Management: Fifty Years of Cooperation among Anglers, Scientists and Fisheries Biologists. American Fisheries Society Symposium 85. Bethesda, Maryland. 675 p

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Voluntary Angler Diaries

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A population assessment of muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) in two connected northcentral Minnesota lakes allowed evaluation of angler data when assessing various population metrics, including the residual effects of historical stocking efforts, as a non local strain had been introduced into the native population during the 1970s. In 2012, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources sampled and marked muskellunge using trap nets during the pre-spawning and spawning periods and electrofishing during the post spawn period, while anglers collected data from fish caught during the 2012 open water season. Angler released all fish after collecting a scale for genetic analysis. Microsatellite DNA genotypes were used to differentiate individuals thus identifying recaptures and to estimate accuracy derived from the stocked strain. Anglers reported catching 16% of individuals marked by biologists. Of muskellunge reported by anglers, 78% were from the lake where they were initially captured while 22% were reported in the lake opposite their initial capture. Postspawn movements suggested that more individuals migrated from the lake characterized as having preferred spawning and nursery habitat to the lake characterized as having preferred summer habitat and prey. The age and length frequency distribution of fish captured by anglers and trap nets were similar, while electrofishing sampled younger and smaller fish, likely because it occurred postspawn when many adults had moved offshore. The best estimate of adult population size was produced by a model incorporating fish length as a covariate. Density was estimated at 0.70 adults per ha or 1.92 adults per littoral ha. Higher percentages of nonlocal ancestry were associated with smaller maximum size potential in von Bertalanffy growth models. Our study described key population characteristics for a muskellunge population while demonstrating that anglers could reliably collect several specific types of data that supplement data collected by management agencies.

voluntary-angler-diaries

(English) Wagner, C. P., K. S. Page, E. Lewis and R. S. Hale. 2017. A management tool for biologists and an online fishing resource for anglers: An introduction to the Ohio musky angler log. p. 133-134 In K. L. Kapuscinski, T. D. Simonson, D. P. Crane, S. J. Kerr, J. S. Diana and J. M. Farrell [eds.]. Muskellunge Management: Fifty Years of Cooperation among Anglers, Scientists and Fisheries Biologists. American Fisheries Society Symposium 85. Bethesda, Maryland. 675 p.

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Voluntary Angler Diaries

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Voluntary angler catch reporting has been the principal method for monitoring muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) fisheries in Ohio. From 1960 to 2007, anglers used mail-based catch cards to report 46,000 muskellunge catches. This program has not only been vital for collecting robust long term data on fishery performance and participation, it has also served as a focal point for building a strong partnership between the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife and muskellunge anglers. While instrumental in building quality muskellunge fisheries in Ohio, the mail-based program was limited by the lack of catch detail provided, time lag of catch reporting and minimal access to the catch data by anglers. Consequently, a new online catch reporting system called the Muskie Angler Log (MAL) was launched in 2008. Designed in collaboration with anglers, the MAL expands on the tradition of providing important fishery data to biologists while serving as a fishing resource to anglers. In addition to reporting their catches, anglers using the MAL can now view, summarize and download their personal catches, review reservoir-specific stocking and catch histories and examine recent catch details voluntarily shared by other anglers. Biologists benefit from the MAL by being able to instantaneously track fishery performance and participation. The MAL also provides the opportunity to collect previously unavailable data on fishing effort and catch rates. The MAL shows promise in guiding management strategies, initiating research questions and further strengthening the angler-agency partnership.

voluntary-angler-diaries

(English) Richards, K. 2017. The Muskies Inc. log database: 370,000 muskellunge and growing. p. 33-36 In K. L. Kapuscijnski, T. D. Simonson, D. P. Crane, S. J. Kerr, J. S. Diana and J. M. Farrell. Muskellunge Management: Fifty Years of Cooperation among Anglers, Scientists and Fisheries Biologists. American Fisheries Society Symposium 85. Bethesda, Maryland. 675 p.

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Voluntary Angler Diaries

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One of the most notable accomplishments of Muskies Inc. relates to the establishment of the Lunge Log database in 1970. As of March 2016, there have been more than 370,000 muskellunge entered into the Lung Log by Muskies Inc. members. The number of Lung Log entries has grown from 58 muskellunge reported in 1970 was 31% released. To an average of about 15,000 reported per year for the past decade, with more than 99.9% released. The annual release rate has been greater than 99% since 1993. One of the most exciting trends documented by the Lunge Log is that Muskies Inc. members have reported increasing numbers of 50 inch muskellunge over the past 20 years and, since 1997, more than 95% of those big fish have been released. In 2014 and 2015, the release rate for muskellunge > 50 inches was 100%. The release of more than 370,000 muskellunge, documented by the Lung Log, is the most important contribution Muskies Inc. members have made to protect muskellunge fisheries in North America

voluntary-angler-diaries

(English) Kerr, S. J., D. Heinbuck, T. Mosindy and S. Powell. 2009. Ontario’s 2008 volunteer muskellunge angler diary program. Fish and Wildlife Branch. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. Peterborough, Ontario. 9 p.

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Voluntary Angler Diaries

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A total of 1,554 logs were completed by MCI members for Ontario waters during the 2008 fishing season. Volunteer anglers reported fishing for 22,913.0 hours on 51 different waterbodies to catch 1,183 muskellunge. This represents an overall catch-per-unit-effort of 0.052. Based on a sample size of 1,195 fish, the average size of muskellunge angled in 2008 measured 37.2 inches in length. The size of angled fish ranged from 10.0 to 59.0 inches in length. There were a total of 44 angled muskellunge which exceeded 50 inches in length during the 2008 season. The largest angled muskellunge, measuring 59 inches in length, was angled from the St. Lawrence River in October, 2008. Only five of 1,183 muskellunge angled in 2008 were reportedly released. This represents a release rate in excess of 99%. Five fish, all angled from the Ottawa River, bore lamprey marks.

voluntary-angler-diaries

(English) Kerr, S. J. 2006. A summary of muskellunge angler diary information collected during the 2005 fishing season. Fish and Wildlife Branch. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. Peterborough, Ontario. 3 p. + appendices.

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Voluntary Angler Diaries

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One hundred and size (106) members of Muskies Canada Inc. submitted information on their regular 2005 fishing activities as well as four outings. Volunteer anglers reported 24,336.3 rod hours of fishing effort spread over 50 different waterbodies. Catch rates varied among waterbodies. The 2005 catch rate, for all waters combined and expressed in terms of catch-per-unit-effort, was 0.061. Based on a sample size of 1,438 muskellunge which were angled and measures, the means size of muskellunge caught in 2005 was 36.6 inches (93.0 cm). The two largest muskellunge reported during the 2005 fishing season were fish measuring 54.5 inches (138.4 cm). Muskellunge exceeding 50 inches (127 cm) were repotedly angled from at least five different Ontario waters in 2005.

voluntary-angler-diaries

(English) Kerr, S. J. 1996. A summary of Muskies Canada Inc. angler log information, 1979-1994. Technical Report TR-011. Science and Technology Transfer Unit. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. Kemptville, Ontario. 107 p.

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Voluntary Angler Diaries

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This report summarizes muskellunge angling information collected by members of the Muskies Canada Incorporated (MCI) organization on a number of Ontario waters during a sixteen year period extending from 1979-1994. Three hundred and eighty anglers participated in the volunteer angler diary program during that time. These anglers reported an angling effort of 46,668 rod hours to catch a total of 3,054 muskellunge. Only 112 (3.7%) of these muskellunge were reportedly harvested. Angling quality, expressed in terms of catch-per-unit-effort (CUE), varied between years and among waterbodies. The overall CUE for the study period (all waterbodies combined) was 0.065. Several large southeastern Ontario river systems and the Kawartha lakes received the bulk of muskellunge directed angling effort and related catches. The largest muskellunge captured was a fish measuring 58.25 inches (148 cm) in length with a girth of 28.5 inches (72.4 cm). Biological information and effort-catch records are summarized for individual waterbodies and recommendations are offered for future volunteer angler programs. The information obtained from this volunteer program represents some of the best muskellunge data currently available in Ontario and it is highly recommended that this program be continued in the future.

voluntary-angler-diaries

(English) Kerr, S. J. 1993. Results from the 1992 cooperative muskellunge angler diary program in eastern Ontario. Southern Region Science and Technology Transfer Unit. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. Kemptville, Ontario. 17 p. + appendices.

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Voluntary Angler Diaries

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Thirty-three anglers participated in the 1992 eastern Ontario cooperative muskellunge angler diary program. These anglers reported exerting a total of 3,490.75 angler hours fishing effort on sixteen different waterbodies to catch a total of 205 muskellunge. Angling activity and muskellunge catches were relatively constant throughout the open water (June-November) season with the exception of October when fishing effort and catches were highest. Six large river systems (Madawaska, Moira, Ottawa, Petawawa, Rideau and St. Lawrence) accounted for 88.4% of the angling effort and 71.2% of the muskellunge catch. The proportion of legal-sized muskellunge in the catch varied considerably among different waterbodies but averaged 52.2% for all waters combined. All but three fish from the reported muskellunge catch were released. On waters receiving a minimum of one hundred hours of angler effort, muskellunge catch-per-unit-of-effort values ranged from 0.018 to0.214 fish per angler hour. The 1992 cooperative program was the fourth consecutive year that muskellunge data has been collected and summarized. This program represents the only continuous source of information on the eastern Ontario muskellunge fishery. It is recommended that a similar project be implemented again in 1993.

voluntary-angler-diaries

Brodeur, P., R. Bacon and D. Hatin. 2017. Characteristics of the muskellunge fishery in the St. Lawrence River, Québec, based on angler diaries. p. 127 In K. L. Kapuscinski, T. D. Simonson, D. P. Crane, S. J. Kerr, J. S. Diana and J. Farrell [eds.]. Muskellunge Management: Fifty Years of Cooperation among Anglers, Scientists and Fisheries Biologists. America Fisheries Society Symposium 85. Bethesda, Maryland. 675 p.

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Voluntary Angler Diaries

Muskellunge (Esox maquinongy) declined during the first half of the 20th century in Québec portion of the St. Lawrence River. Muskellunge stocking was conducted from 1950 to 1977 in order to support the recreational fishery. This study aimed to monitor the muskellunge fishery using angler diaries. Fishing effort and success, as well as fish length and sex, were noted from 2010 to 2013 in five sectors of the St. Lawrence River. A total of 2,619 individuals were captured with an angling effort of 12,503 rod hours. Angling success varied from 0.17 to 0.30 muskellunge/rod hour, depending on sector. Based on historical data, size of angled fish increased over the past century. The proportion of catch larger than 44 inches increased from 19% in 1918-1927 to 53% in 2010-2013. However, the proportion of catch smaller than n35 inches (88.9 cm) was low in the downstream sectors of the river, suggesting recruitment failure in recent years. The status of muskellunge stocks appears healthy in the upstream sectors of the St. Lawrence River but remains fragile downstream. In the context of large scale habitat losses observed during the past decade, studies are needed to measure genetic structure of populations and to identify, restore and protect critical spawning, nursery and growth habitats. Angler diaries have proved to be an effective management tool that should be maintained or expanded in the future.

voluntary-angler-diaries

(English) Crossman, E. J., J. S. Campbell and L. E. M. Munro. 1986. The muskellunge – What’s in a name? p. 345 In G. E. Hall [ed.]. Managing Muskies. American Fisheries Society Special Publication 15. Bethesda, Maryland. 372 p.

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Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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The scientific and common names of the muskellunge have an interesting history. The accepted scientific name, Esox masquinongy, is attributed to S. L. Mitchell, a New York physician. The description of this new species and the introduction of this scientific name are supposed to have been published in 1824. No copy of this publication has been seen at least since 1842 and there is doubt that the 1824 description and use of the name ever existed. The scientific name has passed through stages during which people defined the muskellunge largely on the basis of color pattern, as one species, three species and three subspecies of one species. The concensus now would appear to be that the three semi-distinct groups of populations represent three races of one variable species. It is generally assumed now that these three races, like the three ecotypes of Salmo gairdneri, do not warrant separated scientific names.

Much of the literature in the 1800ss muse be read with great care since the muskellunge and the northern pike were regularly confused and the scientific and common names interchanged. Over the years, there have been at least 94 common names applied to this species. The two most frequent names are muskellunge and maskinonge. The first is now the approved one but the second is still in use in Canada. Many attempts have been made to establish the derivation of these names from Indian words via French pronunciations. It would appear now very likely that the name is Algonquin in origin and represented a spotted kind of pike. The situation is clouded further by the general use today of the name “tiger muskellunge” for the hybrid between the muskellunge and northern pike. That name was first used for the western race of the muskellunge on the basis of the very bold vertical to oblique “strips” characteristics of muskellunge in that area.

taxonomy-and-nomenclature

(English) Crossman, E. J. 1986. The noble muskellunge: A review. p. 1-15 In G. E. Hall [ed.]. Managing Muskies. American Fisheries Society Special Publication 15. Bethesda, Maryland. 372 p.

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Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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Our knowledge and exploitation of the muskellunge have had interesting histories. The species was recognized later, regularly confused with Esox lucius, and the changes in the nomenclature and in taxonomy are almost impossible to follow. The meagre fossil evidence suggests muskellunge occurred in North America at least back to the Miocene, and had a much wider distribution in the past. It may have been a riverine fish originally, only secondarily adapting to standing waters at the end of the Wisconsin glaciers. An extensive, poorly documented commercial fishery which ended in 1936. Probably contributed to an early decline in availability and eventual apprehensive for the survival of the species. Documentation of information began about 1838, increased very slowly to the end of the 1940s, and for some areas of study, doubled during the decade from 1950-1960. The history of the development of information of the muskellunge is summarized in this review paper and suggestions are made on the types of studies which still need to be carried out.

taxonomy-and-nomenclature

(English) Crossman, E. J. 1978. Taxonomy and distribution of North American esocids. p. 13-26 In R. L. Kendall [ed.]. Selected Coolwater Fishes of North America. American Fisheries Society Special Publication 11. Washington, D. C. 437 p.

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Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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Presently, there are four species of native esocids, Esox masquinongy, E. lucius, E. niger and E. americanus and one exotic species, E. reicherti, at large in North America. The four native species now include five named forms, intergrades and natural hybrids. Taxonomic divisions within species are under study. Post-Wisconsin, natural distribution patterns have been changed by man and man is again adjusting the distributional limits of some species by extensive introductions.

Changes in taxonomic concepts of the family and species are traced. The present distribution of each species is given in detail and suggestions are made concerning their distributions in the past and future.

taxonomy-and-nomenclature

(English) Younk, J. A., B. R. Harwig and B. J. Pittman. 2010. Short and long term evaluation of passive integrated transponder and visible implant elastomer tag performance in muskellunge. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 30:281-288.

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Tagging and Marking

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Fisheries professionals charged with managing muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) frequently seek population information that requires the ability to identify cohorts as well as individuals; hence, reliable tagging methods are needed. Our approach was to simultaneously assess multiple marking techniques on different life stages of muskellunge over short and long time scales. We evaluated the short‐term detection of visible implant elastomer (VIE) and passive integrated transponder (PIT) tags in muskellunge fingerlings in experimental ponds. We compared survival (relative to that of control fish) and tag retention for two PIT tagging locations (the cheek and dorsal musculature) and one VIE location (the jaw). Overwinter survival did not differ between tagged and untagged fish (84–98%), but overwinter PIT tag retention was lower for the cheek (92%) than the dorsal musculature (100%). We also fin‐clipped and VIE‐tagged (jaw) 1,651 muskellunge fingerlings from 1997 to 2002 to evaluate long‐term tag retention in a broodstock lake. In addition, 125 adult muskellunge were captured and PIT‐tagged from 2003 to 2006. Muskellunge were sampled annually with trap nets and electrofishing during spring and fall. Only 2 VIE tags were detected in adults marked as fingerlings. The proportion of PIT‐tagged adults recaptured ranged from 52% to 84% during the sampling period. Our results indicate that both VIE and PIT tags are viable short‐term marks for muskellunge fingerlings, while PIT tags appear to be reliable long‐term tags when implanted in the dorsal musculature of adults.

tagging-and-marking

(English) Weber, M. J. and M. Flammang. 2017. Effects of passive integrated transponder tag size and implantation site on age-0 walleye and muskellunge tag retention, growth and survival. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 37:480-488.

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Tagging and Marking

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Fisheries management requires an understanding of the processes regulating populations, including recruitment, growth, mortality, emigration, and immigration. Tagging provides one of the best methods for addressing these questions, and PIT tags represent one of the newest technologies. Passive integrated transponder tags generally have high retention rates and minimal effects on fish growth and survival. Multiple PIT tag sizes are available, but little is known regarding the effects of tag size on tag retention, growth, or survival in fish. Thus, our objectives were to evaluate the effects of three PIT tag sizes (12, 23, and 32 mm) and two implantation sites (dorsal muscle and body cavity) on tag retention, growth, and survival of age‐0 walleyes (Sander vitreus) and muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) . Fish (210 individuals per species per year) were randomly assigned to one of six treatments or a control during 2014 and 2015 and were held for 112 d. Walleye survival was lower in 2014 (87%) than in 2015 (>99%) but did not vary between implantation sites or among tag sizes; muskellunge survival was 100% during both years. Tag retention over 112 d was nearly 100% in walleyes regardless of tagging site or tag size. In muskellunge, tag retention was lower during 2014 (65%) than during 2015 (93%) and was lower when implanted in the body cavity (63%) than in the dorsal muscle (87%); however, tag retention was similar among tag sizes. Walleyes and muskellunge grew little over the winter, and growth was generally similar among fish with different implantation sites and tag sizes. Collectively, our results indicate that PIT tags larger than 12 mm can be successfully used in walleyes and muskellunge and will likely increase the tag detection rates for these species, particularly in studies that use stationary PIT tag antennas.

tagging-and-marking

(English) Walton-Rabideau, S. E., M. Newell, A. L. Jeanson, E. J. I. Lédée, J. M. Farrell and S. J. Cooke. 2019. Evaluation of tag retention, healing, growth and behavior in age-0 muskellunge following acoustic transmitter application. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 39:653-663.

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Tagging and Marking

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The development of small acoustic transmitters has enabled researchers to monitor earlier life stages and smaller fish species than was previously possible. The underlying assumptions of any telemetry study are minimal tag loss and negligible effects on the behavior, survival, and growth of tagged individuals. To that end, tag retention, healing, survival, specific growth rates, and behavior were evaluated for 96 age‐0 muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) (TL [mean ± SD] = 205 ± 10 mm) from three treatment groups. Tagged fish were compared to untagged controls and sham fish (fish that had undergone anesthesia and laparotomy but not transmitter implantation). Thirty‐two fish (tagged group) were implanted with one of the smallest commercially available acoustic transmitters (Juvenile Salmon Acoustic Telemetry tag; 12.0 × 5.3 × 3.7 mm, 0.217 g in air, >120‐d tag life) and monitored in a 4‐month, overwinter tank experiment. Tricaine methanesulfonate was used for anesthesia, incisions were closed with a synthetic absorbable monofilament, and all surgeries were conducted by a single trained researcher. All tags were retained throughout the experiment; surgical wounds healed within 30 d, 32% of sutures were retained at 120 d postsurgery, and survival did not differ between treatments. No biologically significant effects of tagging on mean relative growth rates (percent change in weight/d) were observed among the three groups (tagged, untagged, and sham fish) at 4 months postprocessing. The reaction of tagged fish to a moving object within 15 minutes after tagging was slower than the reaction at 7 d postsurgery, reiterating the importance of testing appropriate sedation methods prior to releasing fish in field studies. Results validate the utility of surgical implantation of small acoustic transmitters in juvenile muskellunge for future studies, although immobilization methods for early life stages require further study.

tagging-and-marking

(English) Wahl, D. H. and R. A. Stein. 1987. Application of liquid oxytetracycline in formulated feeds to mark and treat tiger muskellunge. The Progressive Fish Culturist 49:312-314.

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Tagging and Marking

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When added to pelleted diets, liquid oxytetracycline (500 mg/kg of fish per day) was effective in marking (after 12 d) and disease treatment (after 3 d) of tiger muskellunge (the hybrid of northern pike, Esox lucius, and muskellunge, E. masquinongy). Liquid oxytetracycline is more easily applied and costs less than traditional methods for these purposes.

tagging-and-marking

(English) Wagner, G. N., S. J. Cooke, R. S. Brown and K. A. Deters. 2011. Surgical implantation techniques for electronic tags in fish. Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries 21:71-81.

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Tagging and Marking

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Intracoelomic implantation of transmitters into fish requires making a surgical incision, incision closure, and other surgery related techniques; however, the tools and techniques used in the surgical process vary widely. We review the available literature and focus on tools and techniques used for conducting surgery on juvenile salmonids because of the large amount of research that is conducted on them. The use of sterilized surgical instruments properly selected for a given size of fish will minimize tissue damage and infection rates, and speed the wound healing of fish implanted with transmitters. For the implantation of transmitters into small fish, the optimal surgical methods include making an incision on the ventral midline along the linea alba (for studies under 1 month), protecting the viscera (by lifting the skin with forceps while creating the incision), and using absorbable monofilament suture with a small-swaged-on swaged-on tapered or reverse-cutting needle. Standardizing the implantation techniques to be used in a study involving particular species and age classes of fish will improve survival and transmitter retention while allowing for comparisons to be made among studies and across multiple years. This review should be useful for researchers working on juvenile salmonids and other sizes and species of fish.

tagging-and-marking

(English) Wagner, C. P., L. M. Einfalt, A. B. Scimone and D. H. Wahl. 2007. Survival, growth and tag retention in age-0 muskellunge implanted with passive integrated transponders. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 27:973-877.

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Tagging and Marking

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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.

tagging-and-marking

(English) Wachelka, H. 1996. Rideau River telemetry study. p. 67-71 In S. J. Kerr and C. H. Olver [eds.]. Managing Muskies in the 90s Workshop Proceedings. Southern Region Science and Technology Transfer Unit. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. Kemptville, Ontario. 170 p.

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Tagging and Marking

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The Rideau River supports an active muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) sport fishery. However, it also faces heavy recreational use and increasing development pressures. Little is known about the specific spawning habitats utilized by this population of muskellunge. This study was conducted by a group of concerned anglers from Muskies Canada Inc. (MCI) to provide an insight into critical spawning habitats used by these fish. External radio tags were attached to ten fish. Immediate catch-and-release survival for the study fish was high. Preliminary results suggests that spawning sites include bays, creeks and river bend areas.

tagging-and-marking

(English) Tipping, J. M. and J. R. Heinricher. 1993. Use of magnetic tags to mark tiger muskellunge. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 13:190-193.

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Tagging and Marking

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Tiger muskellunge (Esox masquinongy × E. lucius) were marked with magnetic wire tags in the cheek musculature, dorsal fin, and anal fin and later examined with a magnetic wire wand detector in an effort to determine the viability of using tag location as a means of identifying groups of fish. Tag retention was 88.3% in the dorsal fin after 185 d, 99.4% in the cheek after 185 d, and 99.0% in the anal fin after 72 d. Varying tag location appears to be a useful way to identify groups of tiger muskellunge.

tagging-and-marking

Rude, N. P., G. W. Whiteledge, Q. E. Phelps and S. Hirst. 2011. Long term PIT and T-bar anchor tag retention rates in adult muskellunge. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 31:515-519.

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Tagging and Marking

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Mark–recapture studies require knowledge of tag retention rates specific to the tag types, fish species and size, and study duration. We determined the probability of tag loss for passive integrated transponder (PIT) tags implanted into dorsal musculature, T‐bar anchor tags attached to dorsal pterygiophores, and both tags in relation to years post-tagging for double‐marked adult muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) over a 10‐year period. We also used PIT tags as a benchmark to assess the interactive effects of fish length at tagging, sex, and years post-tagging on T‐bar anchor tag loss rates. Only five instances of PIT tag loss were identified; the calculated probability of a fish’s losing its PIT tag was consistently less than 1.0% for up to 10 years post-tagging. The probability of T‐bar anchor tag loss by muskellunge was related to both the number of years post-tagging and the total length (TL) of the fish at tagging. The T‐bar anchor tag loss rate 1 year after tagging was 6.5%. Individuals of less than 750 mm TL at tagging had anchor tag loss rates less than 10% for up to 6 years after tagging. However, the proportion of fish losing T‐bar anchor tags steadily increased with increasing years post-tagging (∼30% after 6 years) for larger muskellunge. Fish gender did not influence the probability of T‐bar anchor tag loss. Our results indicate that T‐bar anchor tags are best suited for short‐term applications (≤1 year) involving adult muskellunge. We recommend use of PIT tags for longer‐term tagging studies, particularly for muskellunge larger than 750 mm TL.

tagging-and-marking

(English) Richards, K. and R. Ramsell. 1986. Quantifying the success of muskellunge catch-and-release programs: A summary of cooperative angler tagging studies. p. 309-315 In G. E. Hall [ed.]. Managing Muskies. American Fisheries Society Special Publication 15. Bethesda, Maryland. 372 p.

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Tagging and Marking

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Catch-and-release fishing for muskellunge is one direct method by which anglers can contribute to the future of quality of their fishing experience and enhance the survival of these trophy fish. Muskellunge fishing club members from seven states participated in tagging studies in an effort to quantify survival of angler-caught and released muskellunge. Data from over 1,600 fish tagged and released since 1976 were examined for this summary. Approximately 17% of these angler-tagged muskellunge were recaptured by anglers. Recapture rates for 578 muskellunge caught, tagged and released by 16 experienced anglers ranged from 22% to 44% and averaged 28%. These rates equal or exceed most muskellunge exploitation estimates reported by fisheries agencies, which indicates excellent survival and tag retention for the fish handled by these anglers. In the future, even more extensive tagging studies on fewer bodies of water may provide even more useful information on the positive effects of muskellunge catch-and-release fishing.

tagging-and-marking

(English) Patrick, B. and R. Haas. 1971. Fin pulling as a technique for marking muskellunge fingerlings. The Progressive Fish Culturist 33:116-118.

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tagging-and-marking

(English) Pankhurst, K., J. D. Midwood and S. J. Cooke. 2014. The Brewer Pond radio tracking project. p. 28 In J. A. Midwood, S. J. Kerr, P. Levick and S. J. Cooke [eds.]. Muskellunge Science and Management Workshop: Progress Through Partnerships. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Muskies Canada Inc. and Carleton University. Ottawa, Ontario. 37 p.

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Tagging and Marking

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The portion of the Rideau River that flows through Ottawa, Ontario, supports a recreational fishery for muskellunge (Esox masquinongy). These muskellunge are a globally unique population due to their successful propagation within a large urban centre. There is also a healthy northern pike (Esox lucius) population. To ensure the persistence of these esocid populations and the fisheries they support it is important to maintain existing spawning and nursery habitat and, where possible, remediate historical habitat. Brewer Pond was created by reclaiming land from the floodplain of the Rideau River. It became a popular recreational swimming destination in the 1960s but was closed due to water quality concerns in the 1970s. Currently, the pond is an important feature in this popular residential park. With support from a variety of stakeholders, there is collectively interest in reconnecting the pond to the Rideau River and naturalizing it to provide fish habitat. Construction is slated to break ground in late summer of 2014. Using radio tracking, our primary goal was to evaluate the use of the proposed backwater area at Brewers Pond by adult esocids for foraging, spawning and nursery habitat. In addition, we will attempt to identify other key spawning, nursery, foraging and over-wintering habitats along this stretch of river. In the summer and fall of 2013, 20 adult muskellunge and 20 adult northern pike were captured and radio-tagged in the region around Brewer Park Pond. These individuals have been tracked on a bi-monthly basis (including during the winter) with daily tracking during the spawning period. Preliminary results suggest that there is considerable activity by both species in the Brewer Park Pond area. In addition, key aggregation areas during the winter and during the spawning period have been identified. Results from this study will provide an important pre-construction baseline and allow us to determine the effectiveness of habitat restoration activities once complete.

tagging-and-marking

(English) Miller, L. M. , M. C. Ward and D. W. Schultz. 2015. Using genetic markers as individual tags: A case study of a mark-recapture estimate of adult muskellunge population size. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 35:210-215.

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Tag retention, tag reporting rate, misreading of tags, and other issues are common concerns with traditional tagging methods when marking fish for various stock assessments. These concerns have prompted the development and evaluation of alternative marking techniques by fisheries scientists. Wildlife scientists have overcome these obstacles by using genetic samples in lieu of tagging when studying rare, elusive, and capture‐sensitive species. Recent technological advances facilitate similar alternatives for fisheries stock assessment. Muskellunge Esox masquinongy populations exist at low density and are difficult to sample; the Muskellunge is therefore an appropriate species to use in assessing this tool. We used microsatellite DNA analysis of samples from two connected lakes in north‐central Minnesota to estimate adult population size using mark–recapture techniques. In total, 178 unique fish were identified during a trap‐net marking period; 59 individuals were identified within an electrofishing resampling period, and 28 of those were recaptures, recognized by their matching genotypes. Based on these data, we obtained a population estimate of 369 adults (95% confidence interval = 269–470). The results of this study demonstrate the utility of genetic markers in place of traditional tagging methods for fish.

tagging-and-marking

(English) Mangan, B. P. 1998. Long term retention of a radio transmitter by a muskellunge. Journal of Freshwater Ecology 13:485-487.

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The use of surgically implanted radio transmitters in fish is widespread. There are, however, some questions concerning retention time of transmitters and effects on fish health. I serendipitously recovered a large adult muskellunge implanted with a radio transmitter for 13 years. Although a large fibrous mass was associated with the transmitter, this ripe female otherwise appeared to be disease-free.

tagging-and-marking

(English) Jepsen, N., A. Koed, E. B. Thorstad and E. Baras. 2002. Surgical implantation of telemetry transmitters in fish: How much have we learned? Hydrobiologia 483:239-248.

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Surgical implantation has become a well-established method for attaching telemetry transmitters in studies of fish behaviour. However, a rather large number of reports of transmitter expulsion, fish mortality and adverse effects on fish physiology or behaviour, suggests that refinement and evaluation of the methods is needed, especially when tagging fish species for which no protocol has ever been assayed. This paper summarizes the authors’ own experiences with telemetry transmitter implantation, primarily from field studies involving numerous species of fish. Where appropriate, results from existing literature are summarized and discussed. The paper focuses on how choice of surgical procedure, fish size, morphology, behaviour and environmental conditions can affect the success of telemetry transmitter implantation in fish.

tagging-and-marking

(English) Dorsey, L. G. 2004. Retention of coded wire tags by age-0 muskellunge. Journal of Freshwater Ecology 19:333-337.

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Retention of coded wire tags implanted in three different locations (right cheek, left cheek, and dorsal fin) in age-0 muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) was monitored over 90 d. Survival over the course of the study was compared among the three groups and an untagged control group. Fish were held in 2082 L circular tanks and checked for tags 1, 3, 7, 30, 60, and 90 d post-tagging. Tag retention 1 d post-tagging was lowest in the left cheek (86%) and was different from both the right cheek and dorsal fin groups (>98%). These differences appeared to be a result of tag placement technique rather than anatomical location. Retention for all groups did not change after 30 d post-tagging. Survival during the experiment period was 2 75% for all groups, and survival for all groups declined after 7 d post-tagging. No differences in survival rates among tagged and control groups were observed.

tagging-and-marking

(English) Donaldson, M. R., R. Arlinghaus, K. C. Hanson and S. J. Cooke. 2008. Enhancing catch-and-release science with biotelemetry. Fish and Fisheries 9:79-105.

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Catch‐and‐release (C&R) angling is widely practised by anglers and is a common fisheries management strategy or is a by‐product of harvest regulations. Accordingly, there is a growing body of research that examines not only the mortality associated with C&R, but also the sublethal physiological and behavioural consequences. Biotelemetry offers a powerful means of remotely monitoring the behaviour, physiology and mortality of fish caught and released in their natural environment, but we contend that its usefulness is still underappreciated by scholars and managers. In this study, we review the applications of biotelemetry in C&R science, identify novel research directions, opportunities and challenges. There are now about 250 C&R studies but only one quarter of these utilize biotelemetry. In fact, almost all of the C&R studies that have used biotelemetry have been conducted within the last decade. We found that the majority of C&R telemetry studies used either radio or acoustic telemetry, while comparatively few studies have used satellite technologies. Most C&R biotelemetry studies have been used to assess mortality rates, behavioural impairments or to evaluate the effects of displacement on fish. A small fraction of studies (<8%) have used physiological sensors despite the fact that these tools are highly applicable to understanding the multiple sublethal consequences of C&R and are useful for providing mechanistic insights into endpoints such as death. We conclude that C&R science has the potential to benefit greatly from biotelemetry technology, particularly with respect to providing more robust short‐term and delayed mortality estimates and adopting a more integrative and comparative approach to understanding the lethal and sublethal impacts of C&R. However, there are still a number of challenges including (i) the need for appropriate controls and methodological approaches, (ii) the need for accounting for tagging and handling stress and mortality, and (iii) the need for certainty in assessing mortality. However, the benefits associated with C&R biotelemetry outweigh its disadvantages and limitations and thereby offer C&R researchers a suite of new tools to enhance fisheries management and conservation.

tagging-and-marking

(English) Bridger, C. A. and R. K. Booth. 2003. The effects of biotelemetry transmitter presence and attachment procedures on fish physiology and behavior. Reviews in Fisheries Science 11:13-34.

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Biotelemetry—the process of conveying data from a transmitter-attached animal to a data collection site—has received increasing awareness from fisheries researchers. Prior to biotelemetry data collection, it is imperative that researchers are aware of and understand the possible effects that transmitter presence and attachment procedures may have on ‘normal’ fish behavior and physiology. To allow successful transmitter attachment, numerous methods to anesthetize the study fish, with varied impact and effectiveness, may be employed. Following anesthetization, three standard methods of transmitter attachment have been developed—external attachment, intragastric insertion, and surgical implantation. Although each method has advantages and disadvantages, their success largely depends on factors such as the species, environment, fish and transmitter size, and duration of the telemetry study. Additionally, each method of attachment can affect experimental fish physiology and behavior in varying ways. After describing each of the transmitter attachment procedures, we review the effects of transmitter presence and attachment procedure on fish physiology and behavior, with special focus on implications to aquaculture and fisheries related studies.

tagging-and-marking

Wahl, D. H., L. M. Einfalt and D. B. Wojcieszak. 2012. Effects of experience with predators on the behaviour and survival of muskellunge and tiger muskellunge. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 141:139-146

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We assessed predator acclimation as a technique to improve the poststocking survival of juvenile muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) and tiger muskellunge (muskellunge × northern pike E. lucius ) in laboratory, pond, and lake experiments. For all experiments, a subset of esocids was exposed to feeding largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) (250–300 mm total length). In laboratory pools containing simulated vegetation (50% of pool), we tested the vulnerability of predator‐acclimated and naive muskellunge and tiger muskellunge to largemouth bass predation. For both species, survival rates were similar regardless of predator experience. Predator‐acclimated esocids, however, spent more time in the vegetation, indicating that exposure to predators may alter some behaviors. We also introduced equal numbers of naive and predator‐acclimated tiger muskellunge into ponds and lakes containing largemouth bass. To determine the number of surviving fish, ponds were drained after 7 d, whereas lakes were sampled immediately after stocking and throughout the fall. We found similar survival rates between naive and predator‐acclimated individuals, suggesting that predator acclimation techniques that are successful with other species are not effective in reducing losses of stocked muskellunge and tiger muskellunge.

stocking-and-transfers

(English) Wahl, D. H. 1999. An ecological context for evaluating the factors influencing muskellunge stocking success. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 19:238-248.

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From an ecological perspective, predation, competition or resource partitioning, and abiotic factors interact to affect species distribution and abundance. To make management recommendations, I review research dealing with the relative influence of these factors in determining stocking success of muskellunge (Esox masquinongy). Survival of stocked muskellunge is affected by losses to resident predators. Prey preference and composition are also important, and better muskellunge survival and growth occurs in systems with soft‐rayed or fusiform prey rather than in centrarchid‐dominated systems. However, potential for competition with resident fishes has not been carefully considered. Abiotic factors, particularly temperature, can influence stocking mortality and subsequent growth. Survival increases with size and is maximized with large muskellunge fingerlings (>240 mm), but cost‐effectiveness can vary substantially with predator and prey populations. Hatchery rearing techniques can also affect muskellunge stocking success. Pellet‐reared fish have lower survival than minnow‐reared fish because predation mortality is higher, but both groups exhibit similar food consumption and growth. The parental population can affect survival and growth because temperature‐related differences in bioenergetic variables occur among muskellunge populations. In addition to compromising genetic integrity, the mixing of populations with different physiological characteristics may have negative consequences for native populations. Thermal regimes of recipient waters should be considered in choosing the most appropriate population for stocking outside the native range. Muskellunge stocking should be pursued within an ecological context that integrates the relative importance of predation, competition, and abiotic factors. This framework provides a guide for making management decisions concerning populations, hatchery rearing techniques, sizes, and timing of muskellunge introductions into systems with specific characteristics.

stocking-and-transfers

(English) Wagner, C. P. and D. H. Wahl. 2011. Movement, home range and habitat selection of stocked juvenile muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) in Forbes Lake, Illinois: Exploring the effects of latitudinal origin. Fisheries Management and Ecology 18:482-496.

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Intraspecific seasonal and diel variation in movement behaviours of three stocks of juvenile (age-2; 399-610 mm total length) muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) were assessed using radio telemetry in Forbes Lake (225 ha), Illinois, USA. Experimental populations included muskellunge from the upper Mississippi (Leech Lake, Minnesota) and Ohio (Cave Run Lake, Kentucky) river drainages, as well as progeny from North Spring Lake, Illinois, a mixed origin stock. No differences in hourly movement rates or home rages were detected among stocks. Movement rates were greatest during spring (mean ± SE = 42 ± 4 m/hr), lowest during summer (16 ± 3 m/hr) and intermediate in autumn (28 ± 5 m/hr). Additionally, movement rates during the summer were greater at night than crepuscular periods. Home range sizes were similar during spring and autumn (mean ± SE = 17-18 ± 3-4 ha) and decreased during summer (5 ± 3 ha). Although habitat selection characteristics were generally similar among stocks, fish from the upper Mississippi River drainage occupied deeper water more frequently and selected the pelagic zone more strongly during the spring that those from the Ohio River and mixed origin stocks. Within the littoral zone, muskellunge selected coarse woody habitat and aquatic macrophytes. Collectively, these findings suggest little behavioural differentiation among genetically divergent stocks when evaluated in a common reservoir environment.

stocking-and-transfers

(English) Szendrey, T. A. and D. H. Wahl. 1995. Effect of feeding experience on growth, vulnerability to predation and survival of esocids. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 15:610-620.

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We evaluated direct and indirect effects of feeding experience on growth, food consumption, susceptibility to predation, and survival of esocids. We conducted five experimental stockings of equal numbers and similar sizes (200 mm) of experienced (minnow‐fed) and naive (pellet‐fed) muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) (two stockings) and tiger muskellunge (muskellunge × northern pike (E. lucius) ; three stockings) in reservoirs. Feeding experience had no direct influence on prey consumption and growth. Food consumption was similar in laboratory pool experiments. In contrast, experienced esocids exhibited higher fall survival than naive fish of both taxa. Feeding experience indirectly affected survival, because predation by largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) was higher on naive esocids. Examination of potential mechanisms in field and laboratory experiments suggested predation vulnerability was not affected by differences in habitat selection, foraging behavior, antipredatory behavior, or dispersal. Color pattern between minnow‐ and pellet‐fed fish differed in both absolute color and contrast between light and dark markings, which may influence susceptibility to predation. Our results suggest that feeding experience can affect survival of introduced fish.

stocking-and-transfers

(English) Szendrey, T. A. and D. H. Wahl. 1996. Size-specific survival and growth of stocked muskellunge: Effects of predation and prey availability. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 16:395-402.

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We examined survival, predation mortality, growth, and prey consumption for three sizes of fingerlings of muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) after stocking. Small (100 mm total length), medium (200 mm), and large (250 mm) fingerlings were introduced into each of three reservoirs over 3 years. Fall survival, based on population estimates and electrofishing catch per unit effort, was lowest for small fingerlings and increased with fingerling size. Across all reservoirs, survival of large fingerlings was 2–3 times that of medium fingerlings. Cost‐benefit analyses showed large fingerlings to have the lowest cost per survivor. Predation by largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) decreased with fingerling size at stocking. Both foraging success and growth of stocked fingerlings were correlated with prey density. In contrast, prey species composition did not appear to influence foraging success or growth. Because they were stocked earlier, medium fingerlings achieved a greater size than did large fingerlings through the first fall when prey density was high but not when prey density was low. To maximize survival, growth, and cost‐effectiveness, we recommend stocking large muskellunge fingerlings in systems with high prey and low largemouth bass densities.

stocking-and-transfers

(English) Storck, T. W. and D. L. Newman. 1992. Contribution of tiger muskellunge to the sport fishery of a small centrarchid dominated impoundment. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 12:213-221

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We used creel and draining censuses to measure angling catch, harvest, and hooking mortality of tiger muskellunge (female muskellunge Esox masquinongy × male northern pike E. lucius ) in a 6. l ‐hectare Illinois impoundment dominated by largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) and bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus) . The vulnerability of tiger muskellunge to angling produced a substantial catch‐and‐release fishery: 226 hybrids stocked in 1981 and 1982 were caught 388 times (1.7 times per fish) during four fishing seasons, and 27 others were recovered in the draining census in 1985. Only four legal fish (≥762 mm in total length) were harvested, but this number might have increased to 29 (13% of the number stocked) if the minimum‐length limit had been reduced to 710 mm. Strict enforcement of a 762‐mm minimum‐length limit failed to generate a productive and cost‐effective trophy fishery, because growth was slow and many hybrids died from natural or hooking mortality before they reached legal size, The cost of each trophy fish harvested at Ridge Lake was prohibitively high (US $100); a more reasonable investment of about $1.00 was required for each fish that contributed to the catch‐and‐release fishery. More than 40% of the hybrids stocked in 1981 and 1982 survived the first winter, and at least 19% were alive in April 1985. Twelve percent of tiger muskellunge caught by anglers died within 24 h of capture, Hooking mortality increased as water temperature increased and was greater in the last year of the study (22%) than in the previous 3 years (8–10%). Hooking mortality was not affected by type of bait (live or artificial) or size of fish. Predation by tiger muskellunge on bluegill did not reduce bluegill density and hence had no apparent effect on growth, size structure, or angling catch of bluegill.

stocking-and-transfers

Serns, S. L. and L. M. Andrews. 1986. Comparative survival and growth of three sizes of muskellunge fingerlings stocked in four Wisconsin lakes. p. 229-237 In G. E. Hall [ed.]. Managing Muskies. American Fisheries Society Special Publication 15. Bethesda, Maryland. 372 p.

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Stocking and Transfers

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The survival and growth of 4, 8 and 12 inch muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) fingerlings stocked at the rate of 4/acre in four northern Wisconsin lakes in 1976 and 1977 were investigated. Fish from the six separate stockings were given a distinctive fin clip and data on survival and growth were obtained in subsequent electrofishing and fyke netting collections.

In Arrowhead Lake, in all three size groups survival was similar for fish stocked in 1976 but for those stocked in 1977 survival was highest for 12 inch fingerlings. Survival was also highest for the 12 inch fingerlings stocked in Branch and Johnson lakes in both years, but in Sparkling Lake survival was negligible both years for all stocked fingerlings. Growth in Arrowhead Lake was better than growth of fingerlings in hatchery rearing ponds. The good survival and growth of fingerlings stocked in Arrowhead Lake may be attributed to the low density of northern pike and other predators and an abundant supply of your-of-year yellow perch (Perca flavescens), a good potential food source.

Small muskellunge fingerlings (4 inches) can contribute to a sport fishery when stocked in a lake with a low density of predators and a good supply of suitable forage. Where moderate – large northern pike populations exist it is recommended that only larger (12 inches) fingerlings be stocked.

stocking-and-transfers

(English) Serns, S. L. and L. M. Andrews. 1983. Survival and growth of muskellunge fingerlings stocked in four Vilas County, Wisconsin, lakes. Fisheries Management Report 116. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Madison, Wisconsin. 12 p.

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Four-, eight-, and twelve inch muskellunge fingerlings were stocked at the rate of 4/acre in four Vilas County lakes in 1976 and 1977, and their subsequent survival and growth were evaluated. Short- and long-term survival of all three size groups was similar in Arrowhead Lake for fish stocked in 1976, while short-and-long-terms survival for muskellunge fingerlings stocked in Arrowhead Lake in 1977 was highest for stocked 12 inch fingerlings. Survival was also highest for the 12 inch fingerlings stocked in Branch and Johnson lakes in both 1976 and 1977, while survival of all three size groups in Sparkling Lake was negligible both years. Growth of the muskellunge fingerlings stocked in Arrowhead Lake was better than the growth of fingerlings in hatchery rearing ponds. The good survival and growth of fingerlings stocked in Arrowhead Lake can probably be attributed to the low density of northern pike and other potential predators and an abundant supply of you-of-the-year yellow perch in 1976 and 1977.The yellow perch probably provided a food source for the stocked muskellunge and served as a buffer from would-be predators. This study indicated that small muskellunge fingerlings (approximately 4 inches) can contributed to a sport fishery when stocked in a lake with a low density of predators and a good supply of suitable forage. It is recommended that only large (12 inches or larger) fingerlings be stocked where there is a moderate-to=large northern pike (predator) population.

stocking-and-transfers

(English) Rougemont, Q., A. Carrier, J. Le Luyer, A. Ferchaud, J. M. Farrell, D. Hatin, P. Brodeur and L. Bernatchez. 2019. Combining population genomics and forward simulations to investigate stocking impacts: A case study of the muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) from the St. Lawrence River basin. Evolutionary Applications 12:902-922.

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Understanding the genetic and evolutionary impacts of stocking on wild fish populations has long been of interest as negative consequences such as reduced fitness and loss of genetic diversity are commonly reported outcomes. In an attempt to sustain a fishery, managers implemented nearly five decades of extensive stocking of over a million Muskellunge (Esox masquinongy ), a native species in the Lower St. Lawrence River (Québec, Canada). We investigated the effect of this stocking on population genetic structure and allelic diversity in the St. Lawrence River in addition to tributaries and several stocked inland lakes. Using genotype by sequencing, we genotyped 643 individuals representing 22 locations and combined this information with forward simulations to investigate the genetic consequences of long‐term stocking. Individuals native to the St. Lawrence watershed were genetically differentiated from stocking sources and tributaries, and inland lakes were naturally differentiated from the main river. Empirical data and simulations within the St. Lawrence River revealed weak stocking effects on admixture patterns. Our data suggest that the genetic structure associated with stocked fish was diluted into its relatively large effective population size. This interpretation is also consistent with a hypothesis that selection against introgression was in operation and relatively efficient within the large St. Lawrence River system. In contrast, smaller populations from adjacent tributaries and lakes displayed greater stocking‐related admixture that resulted in comparatively higher heterozygosity than the St. Lawrence. Finally, individuals from inland lakes that were established by stocking maintained a close affinity with their source populations. This study illustrated a benefit of combining extensive genomic data with forward simulations for improved inference regarding population‐level genetic effects of long‐term stocking, and its relevance for fishery management decision making.

stocking-and-transfers

(English) Miller, L. M., S. W. Mero and J. A. Younk. 2012. The impact of stocking on the current ancestry in twenty native and introduced muskellunge populations in Minnesota. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 141:1411-1423.

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Fish stocking, often from multiple source populations, is a common management practice frequently conducted without the means or effort to determine the reproductive contributions of stocked fish. Historically, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MNDNR) has stocked four strains of muskellunge Esox masquinongy , but the contribution of these strains to current populations was unknown. Two strains came from Minnesota lakes, Shoepack Lake and Leech Lake, and the other strains came from Wisconsin and Iowa hatcheries and were of uncertain origin. The MNDNR discontinued stocking the Shoepack strain in the 1980s when that strain displayed poor growth in stocked waters. Managers were concerned that ancestry from this strain might be limiting the genetic potential for muskellunge to attain trophy size in stocked populations. Using 13 microsatellite DNA markers, we determined the ancestry of muskellunge in 10 supplemented native populations and 10 introduced populations. The ancestry from each of the four stocked strains of muskellunge was detected in some populations, but the level of ancestry was unrelated to the amount of stocking of a strain. Ancestry from native populations persisted in six of the supplemented populations despite years of stocking. The potential effects of Shoepack strain ancestry on fish size were limited in most lakes because of its low persistence. All stocked strains reproduced in at least some of the lakes, but some lakes had no evidence of reproduction by any stocked strain. Our results will help MNDNR manage genetic diversity among muskellunge populations and direct efforts toward appropriate actions to improve size structure. This study reinforces how genetic data are often useful for evaluating ancestry in stocked fish populations, whereas stocking histories may be poor indicators of current genetic composition.

stocking-and-transfers

(English) Mather, M. E., R. A. Stein and R. F. Carline. 1986. Environmental assessment of mortality and hyperglycemia in tiger muskellunge due to stocking stressors. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 115:762-770.

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Tiger muskellunge (the F1 hybrid of female muskellunge Esox masquinongy and male northern pike E. lucius) have survived poorly when stocked in reservoirs. To understand why, we quantified, in the laboratory, both mortality and plasma glucose responses to three common stocking stressors: Dipnet handling, confinement, and temperature increase. No young‐of‐year hybrids died within 48 h when the temperature was abruptly increased 10°C and only 5% died when the temperature was increased 12°C, but 98% died within 4 h when the temperature was increased 15°C. Thus, we concluded that thermal stress is an important determinant of post-stocking mortality. Mortalities in response to three multiple‐stressor treatments–(1) handling and temperature increase, (2) handling, confinement at a fish density of 83 g/L, and temperature increase, and (3) handling, confinement at 135 g/L, and temperature increase–did not differ from each other or from mortality associated with a temperature increase alone. Thus, handling and moderate‐density confinement during transport do not necessarily increase post-stocking mortality of tiger muskellunge. Abrupt temperature increases of 12 and 15°C increased peak plasma glucose concentrations significantly. Handling and confinement together caused a significant hyperglycemia both with and without a temperature increase. However, the relative magnitude of the hyperglycemia caused by individual handling and confinement stressors depended on the presence of a thermal stressor. Finally, we found that plasma glucose concentrations and mortality were not correlated. Although glucose is easily measured and sensitive to small changes in stress, it is not a good indicator of reduced survival and should not be used as such in studies intended to quantify stress‐induced mortality.

stocking-and-transfers

(English) Mather, M. E., and D. H. Wahl. 1989. Comparative mortality of three esocids due to stocking stressors. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 46:214-217.

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For stocked sportfish, stocking stress can cause substantial mortality. We evaluated mortality of three young-of-year esocids, northern pike (Esox lucius), muskellunge (E. masquinongy), and their F1 hybrid, the tiger muskellunge, in response to simulated handling, transport, and thermal stressors in the laboratory. In 15 °C acclimated esocids, a 10° rapid temperature increase caused little mortality. A 12° increase killed some fish in all taxa; however, mean mortality did not differ significantly among northern pike , tiger muskellunge , and muskellunge . Nearly all 15 °C acclimated fish (98%) died in response to a 15° increase. Tempering (0.15°∙min−1g∙L s dipnet) and transport confinement (60 ) did not reduce this near complete mortality. Handling (30−1 min) also did not alter mortality when compared with a 12° temperature increase alone. Field experiments, completed concurrently, confirmed our laboratory finding that healthy esocids, acclimated to 15 °C, stocked at lake temperatures corresponding to a temperature increase for 120 , suffered little mortality. Because mortality did not differ among these two species and their hybrid, differential vulnerability to these stocking stressors need not be considered when deciding which esocid to stock.

stocking-and-transfers

(English) Margenau, T. L. 1999. Muskellunge stocking strategies in Wisconsin: The first century and beyond. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 19:223-229.

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Stocking and Transfers

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After nearly a century of the propagation of muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) in Wisconsin, hatchery production is capable of meeting the stocking needs of management. Stocking of fertilized eggs, fry, fingerlings, or yearling muskellunge can each be used to develop a cost‐effective stocking strategy if environmental conditions of a specific water body are known. Although low post-stocking survival has been a problem for management, stocking still contributes to the sport fishery, however, future stocking strategies need to consider the effects of stocked muskellunge on natural stocks of muskellunge and other fishes.

stocking-and-transfers

(English) Margenau, T. L. 1996. Muskellunge stocking in Wisconsin: At the crossroads. p. 93-98 In S. J. Kerr and C. H. Olver [eds.]. Managing Muskies in the 90s Workshop Proceedings. Southern Region Science and Technology Transfer Unit. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. Kemptville, Ontario. 170 p.

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Stocking and Transfers

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After nearly a century of muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) propagation in Wisconsin, hatchery production is capable of meeting the stocking needs of management. Stocking of fertilized eggs, fry, fingerlings or yearling age muskellunge can each be used in developing a cost-effective stocking strategy if environmental conditions of a specific waterbody are known. While low post-stocking survival rates have been a management problem, stocking efforts still contribute to the sport fishery. However, future stocking strategies need to consider the implications of stocking with regard to natural stocks of muskellunge and other fishes.

stocking-and-transfers

(English) Johnson, L. D. 1978. Evaluation of the esocid stocking program in Wisconsin. p. 298-301 In R. L. Kendall [ed.]. Selected Coolwater Fishes of North America. American Fisheries Society Special Publication 11. Washington, D. C. 437 p.

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Stocking and Transfers

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There was great variability in the range of survival of stocked esocids in Wisconsin waters. Generally, muskellunge and northern pike survived in the rage of zero to 60% over short term intervals. Despite high variations, the stocked fingerlings added to the lake populations. There was an overall tendency for hybrids of these two species to survive at higher values , up to 85%. Dry diet-fed hybrids, however, tended toward lower survival than minnow-fed hybrids.

stocking-and-transfers

(English) Johnson, B. M. and T. L. Margenau. 1993. Growth and size-selective mortality of stocked muskellunge: Effects on size distributions. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 13:625-629.

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Stocking and Transfers

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Sport fisheries for muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) are often sustained by stocking. Size‐selective mortality has been identified as an important factor affecting stocked muskellunge, However, this mortality is difficult to assess because its effects on the population can be confounded by growth. To partition observed shifts in length frequencies of stocked muskellunge into growth and mortality effects, two lots each of approximately 1,000 hatchery‐reared muskellunge fingerlings were sorted into 10‐mm size‐groups, marked with size‐specific fin clips, and stocked into two northwestern Wisconsin lakes. Beginning 30 d after stocking, we used electrofishing to examine length distributions and estimate abundance of stocked fish. Shifts in the length‐frequency distributions after stocking were found to be caused by size‐selective mortality and growth. Mortality was highest for the smallest fish. A size‐based analysis indicated that growth in fall contributed far more than size‐selective mortality contributed to changes in length distributions. Our analysis suggests that it may be important to monitor the fate of size‐classes within cohorts if cohort dynamics are to be fully understood.

stocking-and-transfers

(English) Hanson, D. A., M. D. Staggs, S. L. Serns, L. D. Johnson and L. M. Andrew, 1986. Survival of stocked muskellunge eggs, fry and fingerlings in Wisconsin lakes. p. 216-228 In G. E. Hall [ed.]. Managing Muskies. American Fisheries Society Special Publication 15. Bethesda, Maryland. 372 p.

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Stocking and Transfers

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Angler harvests of muskellunge exceeds natural recruitment in most muskellunge waters in Wisconsin; consequently, populations are supplemented by hatchery propagation. This paper summarizes survival estimates from 5 egg, 6 fry and 74 fingerling stockings. Factors influencing survival were examined by comparing estimates of fall fingerling density and two indices of survival to a set of independent factors using simple correlation and stepwise regression.

Stocking fertilized muskellunge eggs on gravel and sand substrate resulted in a measurable year class of muskellunge in two of five trials, and fall fingerlings were observed from two of six fry stocking. Survival of stocked fingerlings to fall averaged 38.7% and ranged from 0.0% to 95.7%.

In multiple regression analyses of 59 fingerling stocking, a significant positive relationship was found between observed survival to fall and length at stocking. A negative relationship between fall survival and days ar large was also identified but this was expected. The geometric mean daily survival was independent of the number of days in the lake and provided a better index for examining the effects of the independent factors on fingerling survival. Mean daily survival was positively correlated with length at stocking and days at large. The fall population density of fingerlings was highly correlated with the initial stocking rates. Tests of the above model with nine later stockings found the effects of length at stocking to be variable.

This study suggested that best survival for first fall was achieved by stocking the largest fingerlings, however, similar results may have been achieved by stocking proportionately greater numbers of smaller fingerlings. There was no evidence that high stocking rates adversely affected fingerling survival.

stocking-and-transfers

(English) Hanson, D. A. and T. L. Margenau. 1992. Movement, habitat selection, behaviour and survival of stocked muskellunge. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 12:474-483.

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Stocking and Transfers

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High poststocking mortality of muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) has long been an important management problem. This paper documents poststocking dispersal and subsequent movement, habitat selection, behavior, and survival of fall stocked young‐of‐the‐year muskellunge (12.1–13.1 in total length) with the objective of providing insights into the mechanism controlling short‐term survival. Radio transmitters were surgically implanted into 27 muskellunge that were then stocked with untagged muskellunge into two northern Wisconsin lakes and monitored for 34 d. Most dispersal from stocking locations occurred within 2 weeks after stocking. Muskellunge selected inshore areas generally less than 10 ft deep. Emersed vegetation, particularly bulrushes Scirpus spp., submersed vegetation, and the trunks and branches of downed trees were preferred cover. The first day following stocking, muskellunge appeared stressed, failing to demonstrate an escape response when approached. Survival of both transmitter‐tagged and untagged muskellunge in these stockings was higher than in previous investigations; presumably this was related to the large size of fish at stocking. Results of this study should aid habitat management and the design of future studies of ways to minimize poststocking mortality of muskellunge.

stocking-and-transfers

(English) Hanchin, P., B. L. Sloss, K. N. Turnquist, K. L. Kapuscinski, J. M. Farrell, L. M. Miller, K. Scribner and C. C. Wilson. 2017. Brood source identification and the effects of supplementation on muskellunge in the Great Lakes. p. 673-674 In K. L. Kapuscinski, T. D. Simonson, D. P. Crane, S. J. Kerr, J. S. Diana and J. M. Farrell [eds.]. Muskellunge Management: Fifty Years of Cooperation among Anglers, Scientists and Fisheries Biologists. American Fisheries Society Symposium 85. Bethesda, Maryland. 675 p.

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Stocking and Transfers

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Current muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) management in Great Lakes states and provinces calls for stocking muskellunge native to the Great Lake to re-establish sustainable populations that have previously experienced population declines or extirpation. Accordingly, native Great Lakes muskellunge brood sources must be identified or established to meet that need. Managers who seek to develop future muskellunge broodstocks benefit from knowledge of stock structure to better match the origin of hatchery fish to the locations in which they will be stocked. Therefore, our objectives were to (1) determine if the genetic structure of non-admixed Great Lakes muskellunge populations is consistent with a genetic stock model that can be described in terms of genetic stock identification and degree of stock isolation for the identification of potential brood sources, and (2) determine if significant admixture is present in Great Lakes muskellunge populations consistent with introgression between stocked and resident Great Lakes muskellunge . Fourteen microsatellite loci were used to characterize genetic diversity and structure of more than 1,800 muskellunge from more than 40 locations throughout the Great Lakes and associated inland drainages. Genetic diversity and molecular variance will be compared within and among various genetic structure models to identify possible influences of historical stocking and, ultimately, potential brood sources for Great Lakes muskellunge supplementation efforts.

stocking-and-transfers

(English) Gilchrist, G., W. Wegman, T. Langley, P. Methner, M. Newell, C. C. Wilson, K. M. Wozney and I. M. Young. 2017. An overview of the Lake Simcoe muskellunge restoration project, Lake Simcoe, Ontario. p. 615-632 In K. L. Kapuscinski, T. D. Simonson, D. P. Crane, S. J. Kerr, J. S. Diana and J. M. Farrell [eds.]. Muskellunge Management: Fifty years of Cooperation among Anglers, Scientists and Fisheries Biologists. American Fisheries Society Symposium 85. Bethesda, Maryland. 675 p.

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Stocking and Transfers

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The muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) is native to Lake Simcoe, Ontario, and historically supported commercial and sport fisheries. After significant overharvest, habitat lost and ecological change in the late 1800s and early 1900s, the Lake Simcoe populations was substantially reduced by the 1930s through to the late 1960s. Muskellunge were rarely detected beyond the 1980s although the sport fishery remained open until 2005. More recently, restoration feasibility and habitat inventory studies determined that restoration of the Lake Simcoe muskellunge population is a realistic management objective. The goal of the Lake Simcoe muskellunge restoration project is to restore a self-sustaining muskellunge population to Lake Simcoe through a long term collaborative effort that includes habitat enhancement, rehabilitative stocking and effectiveness monitoring. Rehabilitative stocking was initiated in 2005 and habitat rehabilitation efforts focused on critical spawning and nursery areas. Here, we provide recent results from early effectiveness monitoring efforts and identify challenges related to restoring muskellunge and their habitats. These and other obstacles are being addressed through the ongoing partnerships that have guided this long term restoration project to date.

stocking-and-transfers

(English) Farrell, J. M. And R. G. Werner. 1996. Contribution of natural reproduction and stocking on fall age-0 esocid abundance in Rose Bay, St. Lawrence River. p. 99-104 In S. J. Kerr and C. H. Olver [eds.]. Managing Muskies in the 90s Workshop Proceedings. Southern Region Science and Technology Transfer Unit. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. Kemptville, Ontario. 170 p.

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Stocking and Transfers

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Survival of muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) from the egg stage to early fall juvenile was compared for three modes of origin including natural reproduction, advanced fry stocking and small fingerling stocking. Natural reproduction of northern pike (Esox lucius) was also compared with muskellunge. The egg deposition estimate for northern pike (1,240,300) was over twenty times that of muskellunge (56,000). Survival of northern pike to fall juvenile, however, was estimated to be zero. In comparison, natural muskellunge reproduction contributed 33% of the fall juvenile abundance. Differences in spawning preferences may explain the variability in recruitment. Both strategies of muskellunge stocking contributed to the fall population with post-stocking survival greatest for fingerlings (38.6%) and lower for advanced fry (2.94%). The advanced fry stocking accounted for56% of the fall juvenile population however. When evaluating survival from the egg stage to fall juvenile, advanced fry were most successful. Fingerling survival from eggs was lower because of high mortality during culture. We conclude fry stocking may be a more cost effective strategy where survival is sufficient.

stocking-and-transfers

(English) Caspers, T. S., M. J. Hansen and S. W. Hewett. 2017. Effect of stocking and biotic and abiotic factors on muskellunge recruitment in northern Wisconsin lakes. p. 671 In K. L. Kapuscinski, T. D. Simonson, D. P. Crane, S. J. Kerr, J. S. Diana and J. M. Farrell [eds.]. Muskellunge Management: Fifty Years of Cooperation among Anglers, Scientists and Fisheries Biologists. American Fisheries Society Symposium 85. Bethesda, Maryland. 675 p.

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Stocking and Transfers

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The muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) is an important recreational fish species in North America. Some populations of muskellunge are in decline despite a reduction in harvest by anglers largely to a growing catch-and-release ethic. Our objectives were to determine if muskellunge recruitment was influenced by stocking, biotic factors and abiotic factors in northern Wisconsin lakes. To address our first objective, we compared parameters of Ricker stock-recruit models from stocked and nonstocked lakes to determine whether stocking enhanced muskellunge abundance. Density dependence of recruitment rates did not differe significantly between stocked and non stocked lakes but the recruitment rate was significantly higher in stocked lakes than in nonstocked lakes. this finding confirmed that muskellunge stocking significantly increased recruitment in Wisconsin lakes, so stocking can continue to be used to supplement muskellunge populations with low natural recruitment. To address our second objective, we tested biotic and abiotic variables in stock-recruit models as possible explanatory variable for muskellunge recruitment in Wiesoncin lakes. Adult stock density, stocked muskellunge density, average spring temperatures, spring temperature variation and age-0 walleye (Sander vitreus) abundance explained significant muskellunge recruitment variation. Our findings indicate that muskellunge recruitment is regulated by a mix of stocking as well as abiotic and biotic environmental factors in northern Wisconsin lakes.

stocking-and-transfers

(English) Carline, R. F., R. A. Stein and L. M. Riley. 1986. Effects of size at stocking, season, largemouth bass predation and forage abundance on survival of tiger muskellunge. p. 151-157 In G. E. Hall [ed.]. Managing Muskies. American Fisheries Society Symposium 15. Bethesda, Maryland. 372 p.

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Stocking and Transfers

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We conducted studies in the laboratory, experimental ponds (0.8 and 2.0 hectares), and small impoundments (69 and 253 hectares) to define temporal patterns of tiger muskellunge mortality and to identify factors controlling their mortality and growth. Total mortality 50 days after stocking in ponds or impoundments ranged from 5 to 100% and averaged about 70% in sixteen trials. Mortality of hybrids due to stresses associated with transport, handling and temperature changes at stocking were reduced when fish were stocked in early autumn at water temperatures below 20°C. Mortality attributable to predation by largemouth bass ranged from 0-100% (mean 30%) and was related directly to largemouth bass densities and inversely to indices of abundance of largemouth bass prey. Predation on hybrids was most intense when small fish (168-184 mm long) were stocked in summer and was inconsequential when large hybrids (196-255 mm long) were stocked in autumn. The presence of aquatic macrophytes did not influence intensity of predation by moderate to high densities of largemouth bass, even though hybrids preferred vegetated areas/

Overwinter survival of hybrids was directly related to their length. Largest hybrids (mean length 255 mm) had highest survival to spring (at least 40%) and to the following autumn (13%). Hybrid diet was related to prey type, density and size. When gizzard shad were present they were the most common prey and growth of hybrids was faster in lakes with a gizzard shad-cyprinid forage base than in lakes with only centrarchids. Because hybrid growth was positively related to prey density and hybrid size was directly related to survival, an assessment of available forage should provide guidance on number and size of hybrids to stock in a given lake. By stocking relatively large hybrids in autumn, short term survival can be enhanced. However, factors affecting overwinter survival need to be identified before appropriate measures can be develop to increase survival to age 1.

stocking-and-transfers

(English) Beyerle, G. B. 1981. Comparative growth and survival of 8.9 and 17.8 cm (3.5 and 7.0 inch) tiger muskellunge planted in a small lake with forage fishes. Fisheries Research Report No. 1894. Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Lansing, Michigan.

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Stocking and Transfers

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For three consecutive years identical numbers of « early-plant » (about 8 9 cm total length) and « normal-plant » (about 17. 8 cm total length) tiger muskellunge fingerlings were stocked in 6.1-ha Daggett Lake with bluegills and minnows as forage. Survival of all three early plants was considerably higher (mean 36. 0%) than survival of normal plants (mean 15.1%), and was comparable with the survival of northern pike planted at 8. 9 cm. There was no significant difference in the mean lengths of surviving early- and normal-plant tiger muskies at age I and II. In fish populations with low predator densities (less than 15 fish per hectare), it may be biologically and economically sound to stock tiger musky fingerlings at 8. 9 cm rather than at a larger size.

stocking-and-transfers

(English) Belusz, L. C. 1978. An evaluation of the muskellunge fishery of Lake Pomme de Terre and efforts to improve stocking success. p. 292-297 In R. L. Kendall [ed.]. Selected Coolwater Fishes of Noarth American. American Fisheries Society Speciall Publication 11. Washington, D. C. 437 p.

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Stocking and Transfers

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Two independent creel census methods (roving and probability) were used to measure fishing pressure and angler success for muskellunge at Lake Pomme de Terre. The two methods provided significant differences in estimated muskellunge harvest and angler effort. The probability method was considered to be more accurate since it utilizes only completed dtrip information for calculating angler effort. Angler acceptance of muskellunge as a trophy fish has increased since this species was first stocked in 1966. Heavy exploitation of initial releases of muskellunge by anglers in 1972 coupled with limited hatchery production of fingerlings has resulted in a limited adult population that provides an annual harvest of 100 to 200 muskellunge per year. Stocking mortality of fingerling muskellunge can be very high and delayed releases of muskellunge held in isolation coves showed that the period of greatest mortality occurred within 48 hours. It is suggested that fingerlings be released in areas near aquatic vegetation and that releases by made after dark to reduce stress. Delayed mortality of muskellunge may be caused by latent pathogens under stress conditions associated with transportation and handling.

stocking-and-transfers

(English) Bean, Z. 1986. Muskellunge transportation units. p. 344 In G. E. Hall [ed.]. Managing Muskies. American Fisheries Society Special Publication 15. Bethesda, Maryland. 372 p.

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Stocking and Transfers

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Several fish transportation units were examined and numerically rated for their ability to transport muskellunge and muskellunge-northern pike hybrids. Various life support systems including air blowers, bottom-draw aerators, surface agitators, and oxygen injection were installed on tanks of varying capacity, construction and locomotion. The factors used in establishing the ranking were loading density, initial cost and operation experience. Of the factors considered, loading density has the greatest significance in establishing the numerical rating. Insulated fibreglass construction tanks using bottom-draw aerators with oxygen injection received the highest rating. Recommended safe loading levels were established for two units currently in use by the Pennsylvania Fish Commission.

stocking-and-transfers

(English) Weller, J. D., J. P. LeBlanc, A. P. LIskauskas and P. Chow-Fraser. 2016. Spawning season distribution in subpopulations of muskellunge in Georgian Bay, Lake Huron. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 145:795-809

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Spawning and Reproduction

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Loss of spawning and nursery habitats has been implicated as a major factor in the widespread decline of Muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) populations in North America. Although there is limited evidence of spawning site fidelity in Great Lakes populations of Muskellunge, such behavior could result in recruitment failure if individuals return each year to spawning sites that have become degraded. We compared the spawning behaviors of individual Muskellunge across three subpopulations in Georgian Bay, Lake Huron, to address the hypothesis that the use of specific spawning sites and spawning site fidelity are independent of the habitat’s suitability for successful recruitment. The study regions (southeastern, northeastern, and northern Georgian Bay) have experienced different impacts from human development and sustained low water levels. We radio‐tagged 49 adult Muskellunge and tracked them for up to 3 years (between 2012 and 2015). Sufficient multiyear data were only acquired for 18 individuals in the southeastern region; among those fish, 16 showed fidelity to at least one activity center over 2–3 years. Male Muskellunge occupied significantly smaller activity centers and shallower depths than females during the spawning season. The locations of adult Muskellunge were in close proximity to current and historic nursery sites that had been identified in each region by other studies, supporting the close spatial linkage between spawning habitat and nursery habitat. This study is the first to confirm spawning site fidelity in Georgian Bay Muskellunge, and our results support the spatial association between spawning and nursery habitats. The repeated use of degraded habitat by spawning adults, as appears to be the case in southeastern Georgian Bay, highlights the need to identify and protect spawning and nursery habitats.

spawning-and-reproduction

(English) Monfette, R., S. Guenette, N. Dubuc, R. Fortin and H. Fournier. 1996. Northern pike and muskellunge spawning ecology and reproductive success in the lower Ottawa River. p. 55-65 In S. J. Kerr and C. H. Olver [eds.]. Managing Muskies in the 90s Workshop Proceedings. Southern Region Science and Technology Transfer Unit. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. Kemptville, Ontario. 170 p.

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Spawning and Reproduction

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Spawning (1995) and reproductive success (1994 and 1995) of northern pike (Esox lucius) and muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) were compared in two bays (Martin and Pentecôte) and one tributary (Kinonge River) of the Carillon Reservoir on the Ottawa River. Eggs collected in 60 cm x 60 cm baskets served to determine spawning sequences and differential utilization of habitat. The northern pike spawning sequence was similar at the three sites, the peak occurring between April 20 and 27. Muskellunge spawning peaked two weeks later in the Kinonge river (May 12-17) than in the two bays (April 27-May 5). Martin Bay had a second spawning peak during the May 16-19 interval. In the Kinonge River, northern pike egg deposition was more frequent in lentic, shallow, vegetated turbid sectors and on clay and silt dominated substrates whereas muskellunge egg deposition was more frequent in lotic, less turbid sectors on sand substrates with no vegetation present. Spawning habitat segregation was less pronounced in the two bays where trends in egg deposition of both species relative to environmental variables was more similar. Young-of-the-year seine catches–per-unit-of-effort suggest that northern pike reproductive success was nil in Martin Bay in 1994 and 1995; good in Pentecôte Bay and in the Kinonge River in 1994 but very low in 1995. Muskellunge reproductive success was good in both years in the Kinonge River but negligible in the two bays.

spawning-and-reproduction

(English) Gammon, J. R. 1986. Sperm production and spawning success for muskellunge and northern pike. p. 87-92 In G. E. Hall [ed.].Managing Muskies. American Fisheries Society Special Publication 15. Bethesda, Maryland. 372 p.

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Spawning and Reproduction

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Sperm production and success of natural fertilization were examined for both muskellunge and northern pike to assess their potential importance in natural reproduction. The annual cycle of spermatogenesis, the relative sizes of the testes and the production of spermatozoa were determined for both species. Mature testes in muskellunge weigh less than half those of northern pike of the same size. The density of spermatozoa within the testes of muskellunge was about 7% less than for northern pike.

The viability of naturally spawned eggs of both species was determined by collecting eggs with trays and handnets in 1960 and 1964. Fertilization rates of 47.2% and 70.6% were determined for two collections of northern pike eggs on trays. Fertilization rates of newly spawned muskellunge eggs ranged from 30.0% to 88.4% for three tray collections. Slightly less than 50% of these eggs remained alive after 3-4 days laboratory incubation in aerated water. The viability of eggs collected with hand nets from Anacharis beds was low. Predation by minnows caused significant egg mortality at one site.

spawning-and-reproduction

(English) Simpkins, D. G. and W. A. Hubert. 1998. A technique for estimating the accuracy of fish locations by radiotelemetry. Journal of Freshwater Ecology 13:263-268.

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Sampling Techniques and Protocols

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Radiotelemetry is a useful tool to describe habitat use by fish, but studies may inaccurately describe microhabitat use due to failure to account for errors when identifying fish locations. We developed a technique that identifies the extent of location errors of a hand-held radiotelemetry system. The ranges of location errors were determined among different observers, between land and water, and at an array of distances (5—125 m) between transmitters and receivers. No significant differences occurred among three observers at distances of 100 m or less or between transmitters on land or in water. Location error increased significantly with distance between transmitter and receiver; mean error was 0.5 m at 5 m and 4.5 m at 100 m. The 95th percentile of location errors was 1.5 m at 5 m and 10.5 m at 100 m. The number of trials needed to define location errors within 20% of the true mean (P ≤ 0.05) was 109 at 5 m and 46 at 100 m. Determination of location error with radiotelemetry equipment can be conducted by two people on land with a relatively small amount of effort when the results are to be applied to relatively shallow waters.

sampling-techniques-and-protocols

(English) Schoenebeck, C. W and M. J. Hansen. 2005. Electrofishing catchability of walleye, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, northern pike and muskellunge in Wisconsin lakes. North American Journal of Fisheries Management25:1341-1352.

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Sampling Techniques and Protocols

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We sought to determine whether electrofishing catchability was density dependent and varied with physical and biological factors for walleyes (Sander vitreus), largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides), smallmouth bass (M. dolomieu), northern pike (Esox lucius), and muskellunge (E. masquinongy) in Wisconsin lakes. Electrofishing catch rate (number of fish caught per shoreline mile) was linearly related to population density (number of fish per acre) in spring for largemouth bass, northern pike, and muskellunge and in fall for walleyes, largemouth bass, and smallmouth bass. In contrast, gear saturation caused the electrofishing catch rate to be nonlinearly related (hyperstable) to population density for walleyes and smallmouth bass during spring. Catchability was higher during spring than fall for walleyes, largemouth bass, and smallmouth bass. Catchability of walleyes during fall was positively related to the percentage of littoral zone, whereas catchability of largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and muskellunge was negatively related to the shoreline development index. Other physical and chemical variables failed to describe significant residual variation in catchability of any other species in any other season. We conclude that population density cannot be accurately estimated from the electrofishing catch rates of walleyes and smallmouth bass during spring. Therefore, mark–recapture methods must still be used to estimate population density if managers choose to sample those species during spring in Wisconsin lakes.

sampling-techniques-and-protocols

(English) Pole, K. L. and D. W. Willis. 1996. Seasonal influences on freshwater fisheries sampling data. Reviews in Fisheries Science 4:57-73.

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Sampling Techniques and Protocols

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Fisheries managers often assess fish populations using catch per unit effort (CPUE), size and age structure, growth, and condition. For many freshwater fishes and common sampling gears, CPUE, size and age structure, and condition are highest in the spring and fall, while growth commonly is fastest during the summer growing season. However, there are exceptions to these general trends, especially in populations with erratic recruitment, growth, or mortality. At the least, CPUE, size and age structure, growth, and condition of fish should be expected to change with season, given the effects of variable recruitment, growth, and mortality. However, if recruitment, growth, and mortality are relatively stable, seasonal changes in sampling data occur due to changes in fish behavior caused by many factors (e.g., changes in temperature, turbidity, food availability, photoperiod, etc.). However, these patterns of change through the seasons should not necessarily be assumed to be the same for all fish species or for species in all habitats or geographic regions. Thus, managers and researchers need to consider the seasonal patterns in sampling data for a particular species within a certain habitat in their geographic region when collecting standardized data sets, and when assessing populations and communities.

sampling-techniques-and-protocols

(English) Petering, R. W., G. L. Isbell and R. L. Miller. 1995. A survey method for determining angler preference for catches of various fish length and number combination. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 15:732-735.

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Sampling Techniques and Protocols

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To help predict what effect potential length‐ or bag‐limit regulations might have on angler satisfaction, anglers at two Ohio lakes were asked to rate their preferences for hypothetical catches of crappies Pomoxis spp. consisting of various combinations of lengths and numbers. Anglers at Delaware and Paint Creek lakes rated catches by scoring them on a unitless semantic differentiation scale where 1 was the lowest and 5 was the highest satisfaction. Catch scenarios consisting of 5, 10, 15, or 20 fish of 127–279 mm total length in 25.4‐mm increments were described to the anglers by interviewers using verbal and visual communication. Analysis of weighted leasts‐quares estimates indicated lake, fish length, and number of fish all significantly affected variance in responses. Fish length was the most influential independent variable, Differences between lakes were most apparent for the 5‐fish scenarios. The predominant effect of fish length on angler preference justifies management actions on these two study lakes, such as length limits that would result in catches of fewer fish of larger average size.

sampling-techniques-and-protocols

(English) Light, R. W., P. H. Adler and D. E. Arnold. 1983. Evaluation of gastric lavage for stomach analyses. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 3:81-85.

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Sampling Techniques and Protocols

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The efficiency of gastric lavage for the removal of stomach contents of two species of fish was tested at The Pennsylvania State University in 1981. This technique was effective for 98% of the brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) examined, and 100% for slimy sculpins (Cottus cognatus). No mortality occurred in either species during the 3‐week post‐lavage period

sampling-techniques-and-protocols

(English) Kerns, J. A., D. Isermann and T. D. Simonson. 2017. Electrofishing catchability of age-0 muskellunge in northern Wisconsin lakes. p. 561-562 In K. L. Kapuscinski, T. D. Simonson, D. P. Crane, S. J. Kerr, J. S. Diana and J. M. Farrell [eds.]. Muskellunge Management: Fifty Years of Cooperation among Anglers, Scientists and Fisheries Biologists. American Fisheries Society Symposium 85. Bethesda, Maryland. 675 p.

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Sampling Techniques and Protocols

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To assess the effectiveness of muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) stocking, biologists conduct electrofishing survey in fall to estimate catch per effort (CPE) and relative contribution of stocked fish. Inherent assumptions of this sampling are that wild and stocked fish have equal probability of capture and that changes in CPE reflect differences in actual abundance. However, capture rates of age-0 muskellunge tend to be low for both wild and stocked fish making it difficult to determine if electrofishing catch is a meaningful predictor of actual abundance. The goal of our study was to determine the efffectiveness of electrofishing for capturing individual age-0 muskellunge by determining locations of stocked fish released into two lakes in northern Wisconsin. All stocked fish received a fin clip and at least 40 fish per lake were inserted with radio transmitters. All fish were released at a single boat ramp on each lake which followed standard Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) protocols. Stocked muskellunge with transmitters were tracked weekly for one month after release. Fish were also sampled weekly using standard Wisconsin DNR electrofishing methods that included a single boat following a single line transect around the shoreline of each lake. Comparing known locations of radio-tagged fish to the area sampled by the electrofishing boat revealed that most sampling effort was expended outside the area where stocked fish were located. Our initial results suggest that the majority of hatchery fish remained in the vicinity of the release location with fish moving a maximum distance of 0.4-0.7 km on average away from the release location within four weeks after stocking. Based on these results, biologist will be able to improve sampling protocols to evaluate muskellunge stocking success by stratifying sampling effort so more time is spend sampling where fish are located.

sampling-techniques-and-protocols

(English) Kamler, J. F. and K. L. Pope. 2001. Nonlethal methods of examining fish stomach contents. Reviews in Fisheries Science 9:1-11.

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Sampling Techniques and Protocols

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Several nonlethal methods have been developed to determine the stomach contents of fish, including gastroscopes, tubes, stomach suction, stomach flushing, emetics, forceps, and chronic fistulas. By reviewing the literature on this subject, we found that the effectiveness (ability to remove all stomach contents) of the different methods depends on size, age, species of fish, and the size of the food items in the stomach. Overall, various methods of stomach flushing were the most effective method of recovering stomach items from a variety of fishes. Mechanized pressure appeared to be the most efficient method of stomach flushing for most large fishes. The use of syringes allowed stomach flushing to be performed on most young and small fishes. The use of tubes and stomach suctions, much simpler and less expensive methods than stomach flushing, were nearly as effective for some fishes such as black bass (Micropterus spp.) and salmonids.

sampling-techniques-and-protocols

(English) Jobling, M. 1981. Temperature and final preferendum: Rapid methods for the assessment of optimum growth temperatures. Journal of Fish Biology 19:439-455.

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Sampling Techniques and Protocols

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The relationship between the temperature requirements of some fish species, using published data for growth optima, final preferences and lethal limits were examined. A good correlation was found and it is suggested that the data established gives a good estimate of the temperature promoting maximum growth. Determinations of final preferenda are easily conducted in the laboratory and could therefore be used to give rapid assessments of optimum growth temperatures of potential culture species. The practical application of such measurements is discussed.

sampling-techniques-and-protocols

(English) Hayward, R. S., F. J. Margraf, C. T. Knight and D. J. Glomski. 1989. Gear bias in field estimation of the amount of food consumed by fish. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 46:874-876.

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Sampling Techniques and Protocols

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We made concurrent collections of small (85–100) yellow perch (Perca flavescens) at the bottom of Lake Erie with an active gear (otter trawl) and a passive gear (gillnet) within a 24-h sampling period. During daylight periods when yellow perch feeding activity was most prominent, gillnetted fish possessed significantly higher median food amounts in stomachs than did trawled fish. Estimated daily food consumption for small yellow perch was 5.86% of body weight by gillnet sampling and 3.98% by trawl sampling. Passive gears tend to sample the most active fish (more likely to be feeding) and may, therefore, yield upwardly biased estimates of food consumption for individuals within a population. Active gears are considered to give more accurate estimates because quiescent and low activity, as well as the more active members of a population, are sampled.

sampling-techniques-and-protocols

(English) Foster, J. R. 1977. Pulsed gastric lavage: An efficient methods of removing the stomach contents of live fish. Progressive Fish Culturist 39:166-169.

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Sampling Techniques and Protocols

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Laboratory and field tests of an improved water flushing method for removing stomach contents of live fish were conducted on largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) and grass pickerel (Esox americanus vermiculatus) and compared with the suction pump, stomach flush, and induced regurgitation methods. Pulsed gastric lavage was not injurious to the fish and, of the methods tested, it enabled procurement of the most accurate samples through the entire range of predator sizes and types of prey foods.

sampling-techniques-and-protocols

(English) Robbins, M. 2014. Ontario muskellunge regulations and enforcement issues. p. 15 In J. D, Midwood, S. J. Kerr, P. Levic and S. J. Cooke [eds.]. Muskellunge Science and Management: Progress Through Partnerships. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Muskies Canada Inc. and Carleton University. Ottawa, Ontario. 37 p.

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Regulations and Enforcement

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In most respects muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) fishing regulations in Ontario are very similar to those for other fish species and yet the techniques of muskellunge angling and the objectives of the angler are often quite different from other targeted sport fish. This presentation will address some of the common questions and concerns raised by muskellunge anglers such as the restriction on the use of live fish as bait, muskellunge limits for Conservation Licence holders and the requirement to immediately release fish in excess of “catch-and-retain” limits and fish of prohibited size.

The presentation will also address a priority issue for OMNR enforcement. In recent years, conservation officers have found significant numbers of non-baitfish species such as yellow perch, sunfish, crayfish and bullheads in Ontario retail bait shops as well as exotic species such as goby, loach and aquarium species in angler bait buckets. The presence of non-baitfish species, in combination with the widespread and unlawful practice of “bait bucket dumping” represents a significant threat to Ontario’s aquatic biodiversity. The OMNR enforcement program is taking active steps to influence a change in angler behavior and in commercial bait industry practices

regulations-and-enforcement

(English) Morequ, C. M. and B. G. Mathias. 2018. Using limited data to identify optimal bag and size limits to prevent overfishing. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 38:747-758.

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Regulations and Enforcement

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Bag and size limits are commonly used in recreational fisheries management, but these regulations are often treated as separate management tools. This effectively overlooks how bag and size limits can be simultaneously used to achieve multiple management outcomes (e.g., reduce exploitation, prevent overfishing, maximize angler acceptance, etc.). Our objectives were to combine data‐limited stock assessment methods with an angler catch simulation and a yield‐per‐recruit model to assess the effectiveness of bag and size limits to decrease exploitation rates and improve the spawning potential ratio (SPR ). We then applied these methods to the Kipawa Lake Walleye Sander vitreus fishery that has experienced overfishing and poor fishing quality. Using data‐limited assessment methods, the exploitation rate was estimated at 0.45 (95% CI = 0.32–0.59) and the population was overfished (mean SPR = 0.06; 95% CI = 0.02–0.13). Bag limits significantly reduced total harvest when extremely restrictive (i.e., reduced to one fish per angler from the current limit of six), but changes in bag limits alone were not sufficient to prevent overharvest because SPR remained below 0.35. Size limits could be used to prevent overharvest with narrow harvest slots (up to a 14‐cm slot range with a minimum harvestable size greater than 32 cm) or large minimum size limits (>52 cm) at the current bag limit of six. When bag limits were reduced to one or two fish per day, harvest windows could be 3–13 cm larger and minimum length limits could be 3–12 cm lower to prevent overharvest. This analysis outlines a relatively simple and effective method that can be applied using data commonly collected in annual agency surveys to predict which regulatory combinations can be used to prevent overharvest, reduce exploitation rates, and maximize angler satisfaction and acceptance of regulations. Finally, the data and model code are included in the Supplement and can be easily applied to other data limited fisheries.

regulations-and-enforcement

(English) MacLennan, D. 1996. Changes in the muskellunge fishery and population of Lake St. Clair after an increase in the minimum size limit. p. 19-22 In S. J. Kerr and C. H. Olver [eds.] Managing Muskies in the 90s Workshop Proceedings. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. Kemptville, Ontario. 169 p.

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Regulations and Enforcement

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In response to high harvests and indications of stock declines in the late 1970s and early 1980s the minimum size limit for muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) for Lake St. Clair was elevated from 76 to 102 cm (30 to 40 inches) in 1987. This regulation change was implemented to protect female muskellunge through two repeat spawnings and to support a muskellunge management objective for a high quality trophy fishery based on natural reproduction. Changes in the muskellunge stock and fishery of Lake St. Clair were demonstrated by calculating length group specific indices of relative abundance. This analysis indicated that an immediate and dramatic increase had occurred in the newly protected 76 to 102 cm length group (an average annual increase of 15% with a doubling of the stock in seven years). Elevation of the minimum size limit afforded important protection to this segment of the stock which represents the prime breeding muskellunge. It also enabled a buildup of the spawning stock over the next four year period (1987-1990), with subsequent enhancements to recruitment based on strong year-classes occurring in 1991 and 1994. The dramatic turn-around in the Lake St. Clair muskellunge fishery emphasizes the need for, and benefit of, appropriate size-based regulations and effective angler catch-and-release initiatives. An angler diary program can make an extremely valuable contribution to management of muskellunge through the provision of comprehensive and cost-effective stock monitoring data. Favourable changes to musky habitat occurred during the same period but the habitat contribution to musky production and abundance, relative to changes in angling regulations and angler attitudes is unknown.

regulations-and-enforcement

(English) Lewis, C. A. 1996. Size limit regulations: Do they work?. p. 159-161 In S. J. Kerr and C. H. Olver [eds.]. Managing Muskies in the 90s Workshop Proceedings. Southern Region Science and Technology Transfer Unit. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. Kemptville, Ontario. 170 p.

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Regulations and Enforcement

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regulations-and-enforcement

(English) Kerr, S. J. 1998. Muskellunge regulations in Ontario: The last fifty (1949-1998) years. Fisheries Section, Fish and Wildlife Branch. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. Peterborough, Ontario. 34 p.

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Regulations and Enforcement

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regulations-and-enforcement

The muskellunge fishery of Escanaba

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Regulations and Enforcement

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The muskellunge population in Escanaba Lake has been unregulated by angling size, season or bag limits from 1946 through 1981. To evaluate changes in the population under those conditions, the harvest, yield and exploitation of wild and stocked muskellunge were analyzed for the period 1946-1981. Collection of pertinent data was facilitated by a compulsory permit-type creel census in effect during the entire 36 year period. Harvest for fish age I and older averaged 25 fish annually over the entire period. From 1956 through 1981, the estimated population and exploitation rate for age II and older muskellunge averaged 47 fish and 29% respectively. For age IV and older fish during t his same period the mean annual harvest was 6 fish and the yield 70 pounds; the population estimate averaged 25 fish and the exploitation rate 29% Yearling stocking were nine times more effective at adding fish to the creel than fingerling stockings. Thirteen percent of the harvested muskellunge were creeled during the closed season for muskellunge on other Wisconsin waters and only 5% of the muskellunge were part of a bag containing more than one muskellunge. Only 23% of the total number of muskellunge harvested in this period were 30.0 inches or longer. The Escanaba Lake muskellunge population did not exhibit reductions in population size or annual harvest during the 36 years of angling without restrictions on size, season or bag.

regulations-and-enforcement

(English) Doss, S. S., B. R. Murphy, L. Casetello, J. A. Williams, J. Copeland and V. J. DiCenzo. 2019. Field evaluation and simulation modeling of length limits and their effects on fishery quality for muskellunge in the New River, Virginia. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 39:3-16.

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Regulations and Enforcement

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The trophy fisheries for Muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) in the northern U.S.A. and Canada often are developed and maintained by using high minimum‐length limits (MLL s). However, the effectiveness of using such MLL s on southern‐latitude Muskellunge populations, which have different rates of growth and mortality, warrants further research. The Muskellunge fishery in the New River, Virginia, was managed under a 30‐in (75 cm) MLL until 2006 when the MLL was increased to 42 in (105 cm) to increase the abundance of large Muskellunge. We measured fishery quality before and after the institution of the 42‐in MLL using size structure, average individual condition, rates of growth and mortality, and CPUE . We also assessed the potential of alternative length regulations (other MLL s and a 40–48‐in protected‐slot limit) to improve the population’s size structure and trophy production using simulation models in the Fisheries Analyses and Modeling Simulator (FAMS ) program. Following the institution of the 42‐in MLL , we observed a 5‐in increase in the average size of Muskellunge, an increase in the population’s size structure with greater proportions of memorable‐size individuals (≥42 in) and an increase in the abundance of memorable‐size Muskellunge. However, declines in the average condition, i.e., relative weight (W r ), of large Muskellunge (≥38 in) suggest there is possible stockpiling of individuals just below the 42‐in length limit. Higher MLL s (e.g., 48‐in MLL ) could further improve fishery quality by increasing the survival of Muskellunge to large trophy sizes (≥50 in). However, managers should be wary of stockpiling under alternative MLL s as well. Furthermore, a higher MLL is unlikely to garner broad angler support in this system. Conversely, a protected‐slot limit that allows the production of some trophy‐sized Muskellunge while reducing the overall number of individuals, and that limits potential for stockpiling, may be a more agreeable regulatory option for New River fishery managers. These findings and the methods described within this study may be useful for fisheries managers working on other Muskellunge fisheries in southern systems.

regulations-and-enforcement

(English) Birkeland, C. and P. K. Dayton. 2005. The importance in fishery management of leaving the big ones. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 20:356-358.

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Regulations and Enforcement

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Research by Berkeley et al. and by Bobko and Berkeley has recently demonstrated that older individuals of some fish species produce larvae that have substantially better survival potential than do larvae from younger fishes. These new findings augment established knowledge that larger individuals usually have exponentially greater fecundity. This is important because commercial fisheries and especially recreational fishing often target the larger fish. The protection of larger or older individuals is necessary for the sustainability of species currently exploited by humans.

regulations-and-enforcement

(English) Allen, M. S. and W. E. Pine III. 2000. Defecting fish population responses to a minimum size limit: Effects of variable recruitment and duration of evaluation. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 20:672-682.

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Regulations and Enforcement

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We used a simulation model to evaluate how recruitment variability and evaluation duration would affect fisheries managers’ ability to detect fish population responses to a minimum length limit. Length limits modeled were 254 mm for white crappie (Pomoxis annularis) and 305, 356, and 457 mm for largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides). Simulations were conducted at recruitment variation (coefficient of variation, CV = 100 × SD/mean) of 20–100% for age‐1 recruits. We evaluated how population density, population biomass, total catch (fish harvested and released), yield, and proportional stock density (PSD) would differ in response to a single 3‐year or 5‐year length limit evaluation. For white crappies, simulations suggested that a 254‐mm length limit would not provide detectable differences (P > 0.10) in any population parameter if recruitment variability exceeded 90% for either evaluation period. Mean CV in recruits to age 0 or age 1 for empirical white crappie populations was 82% (range = 55–124, N = 14). Simulations revealed that largemouth bass populations would not exhibit detectable differences unless recruitment variability was 40% or less for a 305‐mm length limit and 65% or less for a 356‐mm length limit. Values of CV in recruits to age 0 or age 1 for largemouth bass populations averaged 66% (range = 11–189, N = 13). A 457‐mm length limit for largemouth bass provided detectable differences in total biomass and PSD up to recruitment variabilities of 100%. Detectable differences were more likely under 5‐year evaluations than 3‐year evaluations. Proportional stock density was the variable most likely to change in response to the size limit for both white crappies and largemouth bass. However, at recruitment variabilities greater than 90%, detectable differences did not occur in 3‐year or 5‐year evaluations, unless the size limit was 457 mm for largemouth bass. Fishery managers should consider effects of variable recruitment and duration of evaluation period when evaluating the success of a minimum length limit.

regulations-and-enforcement

(English) Spangler, G. R. 1968. Angler harvest and mortality of Esox masquinongy in Pigeon and Sturgeon lakes, Ontario. Journal of the Fisheries Research Board of Canada 25:1145-1154,

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Recreational Fisheries

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In 1961 a creel census was begun on Pigeon Lake in south-central Ontario to assess the contribution to the fishery of maskinonge transplanted from nearby Nogies Creek Fish Sanctuary. A correction being made for a tag loss of 58%, it was estimated that 30% of the transplanted fish had appeared in the anglers’ catch. The mean catch of maskinonge from Pigeon Lake for the seasons of 1961–65 was estimated to be 1318 fish per year. About 4% of the annual catch from Pigeon Lake was attributed directly to fish transplanted from Nogies Creek.From a catch curve the rate of total mortality of Pigeon Lake maskinonge age V or older was estimated to be 43% per year. Partitioning this into mortality due to fishing and mortality from other causes yielded estimates of 24.5% for each of these components.

recreational-fisheries

(English) Olson, D. E. and P. K. Cunnigham. 1989. Sport fisheries trends shown by an annual Minnesota fishing contest over a 58 year period. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 9:287-297.

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Recreational Fisheries

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Since 1915, Fuller’s Tackle Shop at Park Rapids in Minnesota’s northwestern lake region has sponsored an annual fishing contest. Contest records were available for 113,845 entries of 10 fish species from 1930 to 1987. Under increased exploitation, declining trends in number of large‐size entries and mean weight of total entries indicated the development of less desirable size structure for most sport‐fish species. The number of entries of muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) abruptly declined after the 1930s. Stocking and size restrictions have not restored a trophy muskellunge fishery. Under increased exploitation, entries of large northern pike Esox lucius have declined gradually since 1948. Numbers of large walleyes (Stizostedion vitreum) and largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) peaked in 1972 and 1977, respectively, and have since declined. Mean weights of bluegills (Lepomis macrochirus) and black crappies (Pomoxis nigromaculatus) have declined since the early 1950s. Large black crappies (≥ 1.75 lb) and bluegills (≥ 1.25 lb) nearly disappeared in the 1980s. Increased entries of rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) and brown trout (Salmo trutta) reflect successful management efforts for these species.

recreational-fisheries

(English) Mosindy, T. 1996. Recent trends in the Lake of the Woods muskellunge fishery. p. 105-113 In S. J. Kerr and C. H. Olver [eds.]. Managing Muskies in the 90s Workshop Proceedings. Southern Region Science and Technology Transfer Unit. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. Kemptville, Ontario. 170 p.

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Recreational Fisheries

Mosindy, T. 1996. Recent trends in the Lake of the Woods muskellunge fishery. p. 105-113 In S. J. Kerr and C. H. Olver [eds.]. Managing Muskies in the 90s Workshop Proceedings. Southern Region Science and Technology Transfer Unit. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. Kemptville, Ontario. 170 p.

recreational-fisheries

(English) Margenau, T. l., L. R. Meiller, E. B. Nelson, R. C. Stedman and D. E. Johnson. 1994. Opinions of anglers who fished muskellunge in Wisconsin, 1989. Research Report 563. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Madison, Wisconsin.

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Recreational Fisheries

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A mail questionnaire was designed to gather information on muskellunge fishing and regulation options in Wisconsin. Approximately 1,1 00 anglers who fish muskellunge in Wisconsin participated. Anglers defined a trophy muskellunge as at least 40 inches in length, and preferably greater than 45 inches. Anglers supported various regulatory options to varying degrees, with the greatest support shown for the current later season opening and high minimum size limits. Concern over Indian spear-fishing activities was identified by anglers as the biggest problem in muskellunge fishing. Most anglers in this survey practiced catch-and-release fishing unless the fish was a trophy or badly injured.

recreational-fisheries

(English) MacMahon, P. 1996. The Lac Seul trophy muskellunge fishery. p. 115-121 In S. J.Kerr and C. H. Olver [eds.]. Managing Muskies in the 90s Workshop Proceedings. Southern Region Science and Technology Transfer Unit. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. Kemptville, Ontario. 170 p.

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Recreational Fisheries

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In recent years, Lac Seul in northwestern Ontario has been the site of a fast growing trophy fishery for muskellunge (Esox masquinongy). Concern about the sustainability of this fishery prompted a catch-and-release regulation to protect the fishery while studies were initiated to investigate the status of the muskellunge population. Preliminary date indicates angler catch-per-unit-of-effort (CUE) declined by more than 50% in a three year period. Compared to other trophy musky populations, the fish are fast growing with a high theoretical maximum length. There is a possibility that, despite the catch-and-release regulation, the trophy fishery may not be sustainable at recent levels of angling effort.

recreational-fisheries

(English) Faust, M. D. and M. J. Hanson. 2016. Effects of consumption-oriented versus trophy-oriented fisheries on muskellunge population size structure in northern Wisconsin. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 36:1336-1346.

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Recreational Fisheries

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To determine whether a consumption‐oriented fishery was compatible with a trophy‐oriented fishery for muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) , we modeled effects of a spearing fishery and recreational angling fishery on population size structure (i.e., numbers of fish ≥ 102, 114, and 127 cm) in northern Wisconsin. An individual‐based simulation model was used to quantify the effect of harvest mortality at currently observed levels of recreational angling and tribal spearing fishery exploitation, along with simulated increases in exploitation, for three typical growth potentials (i.e., low, moderate, and high) of muskellunge in northern Wisconsin across a variety of minimum length limits (i.e., 71, 102, 114, and 127 cm). Populations with moderate to high growth potential and minimum length limits ≥ 114 cm were predicted to have lower declines in numbers of trophy muskellunge when subjected to angling‐only and mixed fisheries at observed and increased levels of exploitation, which suggested that fisheries with disparate motivations may be able to coexist under certain conditions such as restrictive length limits and low levels of exploitation. However, for most muskellunge populations in northern Wisconsin regulated by a 102m as larger declines were predicted across all growth potentials. Our results may be useful if muskellunge management options in northern Wisconsin are re‐examined in the future

recreational-fisheries

(English) Deacon, L. 1996. The Kawarttha lakes muskellunge fishery. p. 137-145 In S. J. Kerr and C. H. Olver [eds.]. Managing Muskies in the 90s Workshop Proceedings. Southern Region Science and Technology Transfer Unit. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. Kemptville, Ontario. 170 p.

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Recreational Fisheries

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Muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) are believed to have been one of the original dominant species in the Kawartha lakes fishery of southcentral Ontario. Historically, muskellunge have sustained both commercial and recreational fisheries. Creel surveys conducted by the Kawartha Lakes Fisheries Assessment Unit suggest that each of the Kawartha lakes sustains several thousand hours of muskellunge angler effort and catches of up to 1800 fish annually. Muskellunge angling success during the summer (June – August) fishery ranges from 0.01 to 0.09 fish per angler hour. Sizes of muskellunge from the Kawartha lakes are generally smaller than from other large muskellunge fisheries elsewhere in southern Ontario. Although muskellunge numbers have probably declined since the turn of the century, the Kawartha lakes still provide high quality muskellunge fisheries. Potential impacts resulting from the recent invasion of northern pike (Esox lucius) will be closely monitored.

recreational-fisheries

(English) Beardmore, B., W. Haider, L. M. Hunt and R. Arlinghaus. 2011. The importance of trip context for determining primary angler motivations: Are specialised anglers more catchy-oriented that previously believed? North American Journal of Fisheries Management 31:861-879.

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Recreational Fisheries

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Most conclusions from general assessments of angler motivations indicate that non-catch motives are more important to anglers than catch motives. Such research usually assesses the general motivation structure by anglers. To assess both general and more context‐specific angler motivations, we surveyed the same anglers from northeastern Germany using two phases of a complementary survey design. First, a 1‐year diary was used to collect trip‐specific information; second, a personalized mail survey was used to elicit context‐specific motivation information. Anglers selected their most important motives for their most frequent trip–target species combination (i.e., context) from a list of 10 salient fishing motives. Anglers frequently cited catch motives as the most important across a range of target species, large‐bodied species such as northern pike (Esox lucius) being primarily associated with trophy fishing. Some species (such as small‐bodied cyprinids) were targeted for noncatch reasons, while others (such as European perch [also known as Eurasian perch (Perca fluviatilis) attracted anglers seeking a multitude of psychological outcomes. Five distinct angler types were identified based on similarity of prime fishing motivation, namely, trophy‐seeking anglers; nontrophy, challenge‐seeking anglers; nature‐oriented anglers; meal‐sharing anglers; and social anglers. Members of these angler groups were similar in demographics and general angling behaviors but differed with respect to several indicators of angler specialization, indicating that committed anglers are more catch‐oriented than previously assumed.

recreational-fisheries

(English) Bahr, D. L., A. J. Carlson, O. E. Baird and M. C. Ward. 2018. Recapture rates and size selectivity of muskellunge by anglers within two Minnesota fisheries. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 8:152-158.

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Recreational Fisheries

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Increases in catch‐and‐release practices in addition to angler engagement in management activities to evaluate and improve the trophy potential of muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) fisheries have become prevalent in recent decades. An expectation of conservative angling practices and regulations is that released fish can be recaptured by anglers at a later time and potentially at a larger size. Although several studies have evaluated Muskellunge recapture rates, no studies have estimated the number of recaptured Muskellunge relative to the number present in the population. Additionally, few studies have evaluated angling size selectivity and the potential benefits or biases of incorporating those data into traditional Muskellunge assessments. This study evaluated the proportion of muskellunge that were caught and recaptured relative to the population estimates in two Minnesota water bodies and the potential length‐related bias from angler‐caught fish. Data were obtained from traditional sampling gears (i.e., trap netting, boat electrofishing) and angling by volunteer anglers in the Mississippi and Crow Wing rivers and Baby and Man lakes. Participating anglers captured 11–22% of the population, of which 1–3% were subsequently recaptured at both sites annually. Recaptured fish accounted for 5–16% of the annual catch. At the Mississippi River site, proportionally larger fish were angled compared with the modeled population size structure, whereas angler catch from Baby and Man lakes was similar to the modeled size structure, likely due to the differing techniques used by anglers in the two water bodies. A more thorough understanding of recapture rates and size selectivity may be particularly important when managing a low‐density species as angling pressure and angler involvement in management activities increase.

recreational-fisheries

(English) Axon, J. R. 1978. An evaluation of the muskellunge fishery in Cave Run Lake, Kentucky. p. 328-333 In R. L. Kendall [ed.]. Selected Coolwater Fishes of North America. American Fisheries Society Special Publication 11. Bethesda, Maryland. 437 p.

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Recreational Fisheries

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Cave Run Lake , 3,347 hectares, was impounded in 1974 on the Licking River. The river had a native population of muskellunge but an additional 0.3 fish/ha were stocked above the dam in 1973. Since then, annual stockings of the lake have occurred at the rates of 1.1-1.3 fish/ha; lengths of stocked fish have been 102-356 mm. The largest planting was in 1974; 10,445 fish of 102-305 mm length. Yearly standing crops of muskellunge in coves have ranged between 0 and 0.7 fish (0.04-0.7 kg)/hectare. In 1975, anglers took 56 muskellunge (214 kg) of legal size (762 mm minimum length) at a rate of 1 fish/58 hours. In 1976, these statistics improved to 1,029 fish (4,140 kg) and 1 fish/48 hours. Muskellunge provided 21% by weight of the total angler harvest that year. The 1977 muskellunge take was 478 fish (2,300 kg) at a rate of 1 fish/82 hours. The 1974 year class provided 68% and 78% of the muskellunge harvest in 1976 and 1977, respectively. Muskellunge reach legal length between ages II and IV compared with ages III-VI in Kentucky streams. Carp and gizzard shad were the only food items identified in stomachs of muskellunge.

recreational-fisheries

(English) Weeks, J. G. and M. J. Hanson. 2009. Walleye and muskellunge movement in the Manitowish chain of lakes, Vilas County, Wisconsin. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 29:791-804.

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Movements

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We quantified within‐year and between‐year movement of walleyes (Sander vitreus) and muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) in the Manitowish Chain of 10 interconnected lakes in Vilas County, Wisconsin. Beginning in May 2004, we marked 7,427 walleyes (55–2,720 fish/lake) and 491 muskellunge (24–99 fish/lake) with T‐bar anchor tags and marked 33 walleyes and 36 muskellunge with radio tags. Tags were recaptured and recovered through October 2005 via fyke‐netting, electrofishing, angling, and spearing. Anchor tag loss averaged 2.9% for walleyes and 2.1% for muskellunge. Of 1,752 anchor‐tagged walleyes (19–555 fish/lake), 81% (54–90% per lake) were recovered in the same lake in which they were tagged. Of the 95 muskellunge tagged (1–18 fish/lake), 53% (0–100% per lake) were recovered in the same lake in which they were tagged. For radio‐tagged fish, 82% (27 of 33 fish) of walleyes and 50% (18 of 36 fish) of muskellunge were recovered in the same lake in which they were tagged. Of 1,153 anchor tag returns for walleyes (8–326 fish/tag group and 6–340 fish/lake) and 57 anchor‐tag returns for muskellunge (1–17 fish/tag group and 1–12 fish/lake), 76% of walleyes (37–98% per lake) and 45% of muskellunge (0–100% per lake) were found in the same lake in spring 2004 and spring 2005. Our results indicate that most walleyes remained in the same lake during the year of tagging and between years, whereas half of all muskellunge did not remain in the same lake during the tagging year or between years. We recommend that walleye angling and spearing fisheries be managed for individual lakes and that muskellunge fisheries be managed for the entire chain of lakes.

movements

(English) Stronks, T. R. 1996. Seasonal movements of muskellunge in Lake Scugog, Ontario. p. 47-54 In S. J. Kerr and C. H. Olver [eds.]. Managing Muskies in the 90s Workshop Proceedings. Southern Regions Science and Technology Transfer Unit. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. Kemptville, Ontario. 170 p.

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Movements

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Muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) in Lake Scugog were implanted with radio transmitters in 1987 and 1988 to track movements over 14 months to help determine if the management regulations in pace were adequate to protect the muskellunge entering a spawning area via culverts under a highway. Summer home ranges were established by the muskellunge and these did not appear to change in the fall. Some fish exhibited pre-spawning behavior by staging close to the spawning area in the winter. The adult muskellunge entered the marsh in early April and stayed ten days in 1987 and 25 days in 1988. No tracking evidence of fractional spawning was noted and the adults had left the marsh well before the second Saturday in May, the opening of walleye (Stizostedion vitreum vitreum) season.

movements

(English) Stiras, J. S. 2017. Movement of muskellunge in the St. Croix River system. p. 181 In K. L. Kapuscinski, T. D. Simonson, D. P. Crane, S. J. Kerr, J. S. Diana and J. M. Farrell [eds.]. Muskellunge Management: Fifty Years of Cooperation among Angles, Scientists and Fisheries Biologists. American Fisheries Society Symposium 85. Bethesda, Maryland. 675 p.

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Movements

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Proposals to install fish barriers in Minnesota’s large rivers near the Twin Cities to prevent upstream expansion of Asian carp (silver carp Hypophthalmichthys molitrix, bighead carp H. nobilis, grass carp, Ctenopharyngodon idella and black carp Mylopharyngodon piceus) prompted a study to evaluate movement or riverine fish throughout this system. A stationary acoustic receiver network was deployed in the Minnesota, Mississippi and St. Croix rivers in 2013 to determine fish passage through the lock and dam systems and study movements and habitat preferences for several native fish species. Six muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) were captured from the St. Croix River in November 2014, implanted with transmitters equipped with temperature and depth sensors (donated by Muskies Inc.) returned to the St. Croix River and tracked for two years. All muskellunge traveled at least 15 river miles. Five of the muskellunge traveled into Pool 3 of the Mississippi River for brief period (typically 1-3 days) and returned to the St. Croix River. One muskellunge left the St. Croix River, passed thorugh Lock and Dam #3 in Red Wing, Minnesota, moved into Pool 4 of the Mississippi River and returned to the St. Croix River after 30 days. Four of the muskellunge generally preferred the lower St. Coroix River (>75% of detections). All of the muskellunge had recorded depths greater than 40 feet (12,2 m) with on exceeding 70 feet (21.3 m). Although the results are preliminary our study shows that placing a barrier at the mouth of the St. Croix River could restrict muskellunge movement between the St. Croix and Mississippi Rivers. Therefore, any barrier constructed to prevent upstream expansion of Asian carp should be tested to ensure that it does not interfere with movement of native fishes such as muskellunge. Continued research will evaluate the importance of fish movements between the St. Croix and Mississippi rivers.

movements

(English) Morrison, S. F. and L. H. Warren. 2015. Seasonal movements of muskellunge in North Bend Lake, West Virginia. Journal of the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies 2:42-49.

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Movements

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North Fork Hughes River, West Virginia, is a native muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) stream and is impounded by North Bend Lake, a 12.4-km long, 123-ha impoundment that serves as an important brood source for the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources. Muskellunge movement was monitored from 26 March 2010 through 2 January 2014 to monitor seasonal movements and to verify muskellunge migration through the outlet structure of the dam. Twenty-four fish were collected using pulsed DC boat-mounted electrofishing equipment and surgically implanted with acoustic transmitters. Six submersible data loggers were stationed throughout the lake. Data logger data were downloaded monthly throughout the study, resulting in 1,256,046 detections of implanted fish. Seasonal movement of marked fish was consistent during the four years of the study. Most fish moved throughout the entire length of the lake, and seven implanted fish left the lake through the outlet structure of the dam. Fish occupied the upper half of North Bend Lake in spring, and spent the summer and winter in the lower half of the lake. Fish occupied the lower lake in early and late fall, but exhibited a collective movement to the upper lake in October. Based on their upstream movements in early spring, muskellunge appeared to use the upper areas of the lake for spawning purposes. Knowledge of seasonal movements of muskellunge in North Bend Lake, particularly in spring, will enhance future broodstock collection efforts. Dam escapement by muskellunge may have a significant effect on fisheries in small impoundments, and should be considered in muskellunge management plans in similar systems.

movements

(English) Minor, J. D. and E. J. Crossman. 1978. Home range and seasonal movements of muskellunge as determined by radiotelemetry. p. 146-153 In R. L. Kendall [ed.]. Selected Coolwater Fishes of North America. American Fisheries Society Special Publication 11. Washington, D.C. 437 p.

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Movements

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Sixteen adult muskellunge were studied in a shallow 35 hectare lake (Nogies Creek) and a deeper, 3,725 hectare lake (Stony Lake) within the Kawartha Lakes region of central Ontario. All fish established summer and winter home range areas. Areas of 0.6 to 1.1 hectare in water less than n2.0 m deep were used by all Nogies Creek fish and the Stony Lake male. The Stony Lake female utilized a 7.2 hectare area in water of 12.5 m average depth. Some areas overlapped however there was never more than none fish in an overlap area at one time. All fish established and used home ranges when water temperatures were less than 5°C. Males again established home ranges when water temperatures exceeded15°C, however not all females established home ranges in temperatures of 15-28.5°C. All fish were absent from their home ranges in spring and fall at water temperatures of 8-15°C. Females travelled greater distances than males during summer water temperatures of 20-28.5°C.

movements

(English) Miller, M. L. and B. W. Menzel. 1986. Movement, activity and habitat use patterns of muskellunge in West Okoboji Lake, Iowa. p. 51-61 In G. E. Hall [ed.]. Managing Muskies. American Fisheries Society Special Publication 15. Bethesda, Maryland. 372 p.

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Movements

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Ultrasonic telemetry was used to determine habitat use and activity patterns of nine adult muskellunge in a 1540 hectare natural lake from spring 1978 to fall 1979. M About 80% of summer and early fall contacts (N=1292) occurred in three large, relatively shallow, vegetated bays. Study fish exhibited significant summertime changes in depth of water occupied, association with vete5tation and general activity. Fish activity was negatively associated with surface water temperatures; activity was greatest over the 11-17°C range. There was a positive association of fish activity with water transparency (Secchi disk depth). Significant diel behavioural variations occurred during June when there were crepuscular peaks in fish movement rates, activity and water depth use. There were no identifiable sex- or size- dependent differences in any of the studied behaviours.

The study fish appeared to adjust their basic foraging patterns to maintain an optimal feeding strategy in response to seasonally changing environmental factors. After the spawning period and through midsummer, the fish behaved as searching predators as evidenced by relatively high levels of activity, extensive movements, use of a variety of water depths and habitat types and pronounced crepuscular activity. By late summer, the fish exhibited behavioural characteristics of a sedentary ambush predator (e.g., reduced activity), strong allegiance to activity centers associated with vegetation and little diel variation in activity. These seasonal changes in muskellunge habitat use and behavior may contribute to the distinct seasonality of the fishery for this species in West Okoboji Lake, maximum catch rates occurring in late summer and early fall.

movements

(English) Margenau, T. L. 1994. Evidence of homing of a displaced muskellunge (Esox masquinongy). Journal of Freshwater Ecology 9:253=256.

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Movements

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During a short-term telemetry study to determine behavior of angler-caught and released muskellunge, an individual muskellunge was caught and displaced into a separate lake in a chain of lakes. Following its release, this female fish (980 mm) traveled 10 km in three days. The fish bypassed numerous areas with suitable habitat in which muskellunge were commonly found and returned to the area from which it was originally captured.

movements

(English) LaPan, S. R., A. Schiavone and R. G. Werner. 1996. Spawning and post-spawning movements of the St. Lawrence River muskellunge (Esox masquinongy). p. 73-82 In S. J. Kerr and C. H. Olver [eds.]. Managing Muskies in the 90s.Workshop Proceedings. Southern Region Science and Technology Transfer Unit. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. Kemptville, Ontario. 170 p.

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Movements, Spawning and Reproduction

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Radiotelemetry tracking of adult muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) was used to locate muskellunge spawning and nursery habitats in the Thousand Islands region of the St. Lawrence River and to describe post-spawning movements. From 1984 to 1989, 47 adult muskellunge were radio tagged during the spawning season at 22 sites. Radio-tagged fish were located at least once daily during the spawning period. Capture sites of adult muskellunge and areas frequented by tagged muskellunge during the spawning period were subsequently seined to document the presence or absence of young-of-the-year (YOY) muskellunge. YOY muskellunge were collected at 13 of the 22 adult capture sites and also at an additional 14 sites frequented by radio tagged adults. Post-spawning muskellunge generally either migrated upstream to Lake Ontario, remained in the vicinity of their respective spawning site or moved into deep water where they could not be located. Radio transmitters that functioned into the following season revealed a high degree of reproductive homing.

movements spawning-and-reproduction

(English) Kerr, S. J. and B. Jones 2017. Movements of muskellunge in the Saint John River based on a volunteer tagging project, 2006-2015. p. 39-50 In K. L. Kapuscinski, T. D. Simonson, D. P. Crane, S. J. Kerr, J. S. Diana and J. M. Farrel [eds.]. Muskellunge Management: Fifty Years of Cooperation among Anglers, Scientists and Fisheries Biologists. American Fisheries Society Symposium 85. Bethesda, Maryland. 675 p.

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Movements, Tagging and Marking

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We report on results of a muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) tagging project, which was conducted on the Stain John River, New Brunswick, from 2006 to 2015 (inclusive). During that period of time, 691 muskellunge were angled, tagged and released by members of the Saint John River Chapter of Muskies Canada Inc. By the end of the 2015 angling season, a total of 64 (9.3%) tagged muskellunge had been 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 were believed to occur during the spring and fall associated with spawning as well as the establishment of summer and winter ranges. Muskellunge movements that were documented in this study occurred in both upstream and downstream directions in equal proportion. Muskellunge also demonstrated the ability to move long distances both upstream and downstream including passage over/through the Mactaquac Dam. Observations of muskellunge behaviour and movements from this study are generally consistent with observations (small home ranges, males more sedentary than females, movements season in nature, capable of long distance movements, etc.) reported from similar tagging studies in other North American jurisdictions. Future efforts will be directed to obtaining additional information on recaptured fish. With additional recapture information, a more detailed analysis of muskellunge in the Stain John watershed can be completed.

movements tagging-and-marking

(English) Dombeck, M. P. 1979. Movement and behavior of the muskellunge as determined by radiotelemetry. Technical Bulletin No. 113. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Madison, Wisconsin. 24 p.

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Movements

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External radio-transmitters were placed on 18 muskellunge in Moose Lake and Black Lake, Sawyer County, Wisconsin. Movements of the transmitter-tagged muskellunge were monitored for 14 months, during both the open water season and through the ice. Black Lake is predominantly a muskellunge, largemouth bass, panfish lake with an area of 52 ha, while Moose Lake is predominantly a muskellunge and walleye lake with an area of676 ha. Peak movements and activities occurred in spring and fall when water temperatures were 4-l2°C. During the summer months tagged fish occupied waters less than 2 m in depth at temperatures of 24-27°C. Greatest average swimming velocity of muskellunge observed was 50.8 m/minute. During winter months a tagged fish moved out of waters with low oxygen levels in the north bay of Black Lake to areas with a more abundant supply of oxygen. The monthly home range size of the muskellunge varied from 0.2 to 2.7 ha in Black Lake and from 2.3 to 27.7 ha in Moose Lake. Four spawning areas were identified and spawning activities were observed. Muskellunge moved onto spawning grounds when water temperatures reached 8-l0°C and remained on spawning grounds until temperatures reached about l4°C. Spawning occurred at night in depths less than 1 mover muck/sand bottoms with much debris and dead vegetation. Spawning areas were also approximately 1.5°C warmer than adjacent waters

movements

(English) Beck, P. A. and R. C. Brooks. undated. Seasonal movement and habitat use of muskellunge in a southern Illinois reservoir. Southern Illinois University. Carbondale, Illinois. 33 p.

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Movements

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Kinkaid Lake is located in southern, Illinois, and was initially stocked with 25 Muskellunge in 1985. There is a paucity of information concerning movement and 26 habitat use in the southern portion of the Muskellunge’s expanded range. We used 27 ultrasonic telemetry to determine seasonal movement and habitat use of adult 28 Muskellunge (965 mm to 1,250 mm TL). Movement was variable among seasons and 29 individuals. The highest movement rates (>13 km wk-1) were observed during prespawn 30 (February) and summer (June) periods. When surface water temperatures exceeded 25°C 31 (mid to late summer), tagged Muskellunge were often (> 50% of the locations) located at 32 depths where dissolved oxygen concentrations were less than 3 mg L-1, and minimal 33 movement (< 1 km/week) was observed. In this study muskellunge used available habitats in a similar manner for all seasons excluding fall. Additionally, tagged muskellunge exhibited selection for specific habitats during all seasons.

movements

(English) Wahl, D. H. and R. A. Stein. 1988. Selective predation by three esocids: The role of prey behaviour and morphology. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 117:142-151.

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Interactions with Other Species

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We documented differential vulnerability of fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas), gizzard shad (Dorosoma cepedianum) , and bluegills (Lepomis macrochirus) to predation by muskellunge (Esox masquinongy), northern pike (E. lucius) , and tiger muskellunge (E. masquinongy × E. lucius) in a 700‐L tank. Individual esocids (150–225 mm in total length) were combined with singlespecies groups (N = 15) of optimal‐sized prey (25–30% of predator length for bluegills, 37–43% for fathead minnows, and 30–36% for gizzard shad). Capture ability did not differ among esocids; however, mean captures per strike were higher for fathead minnow (0.67) and gizzard shad (0.78) than for bluegill (0A4). Morphology and antipredatory behavior, unique to each prey species, contributed to this differential vulnerability. In the field, we introduced equal numbers and similar sizes of these esocids into two systems, one with centrarchid prey and one with both centrarchid and gizzard shad prey. As predicted from laboratory work, esocids ate fewer prey and grew more slowly when centrarchids were the only prey than they did when gizzard were available, In a third reservoir, containing bluegills and gizzard shad, esocids strongly preferred gizzard shad over bluegills. To maximize growth and survival, esocids should be stocked in systems with soft‐rayed or fusiform prey, such as cyprinids or shad, rather than in centrarchid‐dominated systems.

interactions-with-other-species

(English) Sorel, M. H., A. G. Hansen, K. A. Connelly, A. C. Wilson, E. D. Lo9wery and D. A. Beauchamp. 2016. Predation by northern pike minnow and tiger muskellunge on juvenile salmonids in a high head reservoir: Implications for anadromous fish reintroductions. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 145:521-536.

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Interactions with Other Species

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The feasibility of reintroducing anadromous salmonids into reservoirs above high‐head dams is affected by the suitability of the reservoir habitat for rearing and the interactions of the resident fish with introduced fish. We evaluated the predation risk to anadromous salmonids considered for reintroduction in Merwin Reservoir on the North Fork Lewis River in Washington State for two reservoir use‐scenarios: year‐round rearing and smolt migration. We characterized the role of the primary predators, northern pikeminnow (Ptychocheilus oregonensis) and tiger muskellunge (northern pike Esox lucius × muskellunge E. masquinongy ), by using stable isotopes and stomach content analysis, quantified seasonal, per capita predation using bioenergetics modeling, and evaluated the size and age structures of the populations. We then combined these inputs to estimate predation rates of size‐structured population units. Northern pikeminnow of FL ≥ 300 mm were highly cannibalistic and exhibited modest, seasonal, per capita predation on salmonids, but they were disproportionately much less abundant than smaller, less piscivorous, conspecifics. The annual predation on kokanee (Oncorhynchus nerka) (in biomass) by a size‐structured unit of 1,000 northern pikeminnow having a FL ≥ 300 mm was analogous to 16,000–40,000 age‐0 spring chinook salmon (O. tshawytscha) rearing year‐round, or 400–1,000 age‐1 smolts migrating April–June. The per capita consumption of salmonids by Northern Pikeminnow having a FL ≥ 200 mm was relatively low, due in large part to spatial segregation during the summer and the skewed size distribution of the predator population. Tiger muskellunge fed heavily on northern pikeminnow, other nonsalmonids, and minimally on salmonids. In addition to cannibalism within the northern pikeminnow population, predation by tiger muskellunge likely contributed to the low recruitment of larger (more piscivorous) northern pikeminnow, thereby decreasing the risk of predation to salmonids. This study highlights the importance of evaluating trophic interactions within reservoirs slated for reintroduction with anadromous salmonids, as they can be functional migration corridors and may offer profitable juvenile‐rearing habitats despite hosting abundant predator populations.

interactions-with-other-species

(English) Koenig, M. K., K. A. Meyer, J. R. Kozkay, J. M. DuPont and E. B. Schriver. 2015. Evaluating the ability of tiger muskellunge to eradicate brook trout in Idaho alpine lakes. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 35:191-201.

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Interactions with Other Species

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In western North America, nonnative Brook Trout Salvelinus fontinalis in alpine lakes threaten the persistence of native trout and often offer limited sport fishing opportunity as they are prone to stunting. Stocking tiger muskellunge (Northern Pike Esox lucius × Muskellunge E. masquinongy ), which are reproductively sterile, may be an option to eradicate Brook Trout in some alpine lakes. We used floating gill nets to survey 17 alpine lake Brook Trout populations, then stocked 13 lakes with tiger muskellunge, with four additional lakes serving as controls. Tiger muskellunge were stocked at a mean TL of 317 mm and a density of 40 fish/ha. Brook Trout were resampled for 4 or 5 years after stocking to evaluate changes in Brook Trout TL and CPUE (fish/net‐night). Declines in CPUE were substantial for both treatment and control lakes but were significantly greater in treatment lakes. Mean Brook Trout CPUE in treatment lakes declined from 23.1 fish/net‐night to 2.3 fish/net‐night 5 years after stocking tiger muskellunge, whereas in control lakes, CPUE declined from 25.5 fish/net‐night to 7.8 fish/net‐night 5 years later. Complete eradication appeared to occur in two lakes within 2 years, and in two more lakes by year 5. In lakes where tiger muskellunge were stocked, the proportion of Brook Trout ≥250 mm TL in the catch increased significantly in years 1, 2, and 4 after stocking (compared with prestocking data), whereas no increase occurred in control lakes. Tiger muskellunge were most successful in reducing Brook Trout CPUE in lakes with no inlets or outlets, while elevation and lake area may also have played a role. Our results suggest tiger muskellunge can improve the size structure and potentially eradicate Brook Trout populations from some alpine lakes. However, we recommend combining any tiger muskellunge stocking with other conventional removal methods to increase the likelihood of successful eradication.

interactions-with-other-species

(English) Inskip, P. D. 1986. Negative associations between the abundances of muskellunge and northern pike: Evidence and possible explanations. p. 135-150 In G. E. Hall [ed.]. Managing Muskies. American Fisheries Society Special publication 15. Bethesda, Maryland. 372 p.

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Interactions with Other Species

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Inverse trends in relative abundance of muskellunge and northern pike have been reported for numerous lakes and one large river. In each case, muskellunge appeared to decrease in abundance while northern pike appeared to increase. Most instances involved colonization of native muskellunge lakes by northern pike but shifts in relative abundance of populations with a history of co-occurrence also have been noted. These trends have been interpreted as evidence of a negative interaction between the two species. Predation, competition and hybridization are possible mechanisms of interference. Earlier spawning in the spring, shorter generation time, a more aggressive nature and greater food conversion efficiency have been suggested as possible advantages for northern pike.

Predation by young-of-the-year (YOY) northern pike on YOY muskellunge was proposed as a likely mechanism of interactions nearly 35 years ago and it remains the most attractive hypothesis, more on the basis of its intuitive appeal and explanatory power than on actual field evidence. Under this hypothesis the apparent compatibility of muskellunge and northern pike in some waters can be explained by the availability of sufficient spawjning habitat to permit spatial separation of the species, either because of differences in preferred spawning habitat or because eggs are spread over a large enough area that encounters between YOY muskellunge and northern pike and minimized . The existence of one mechanism of interaction does not preclude the existence of others.

Circumstantial evidence of a negative interactions between the two species is persuasive and not to be discounted. However, negative associations in relative abundance might arise even in the absence of any direct species interactions. For example, changing environmental conditions could affect the two species quite differently if they have different tolerances or optima for certain environmental variables. Base on zoogeographic evidence it appears that northern pike might be favoured by cooler temperatures and more lentic conditions Cultural development more often results in the conversion of lotic habitat to lentic habitat than vice versa. Sequelae of human settlement such as increased turbidity, siltation and accumulation of organic sediments might be expected to have a more severe impact on a species adapted for life in flowing water than on one which evolved for life in still water habitats. Differences in the environmental requirements of the two species have been postulated but nor proven.

Effective muskellunge management in waters containing northern pike will require deeper understanding of how the two species interact, what factors modify the intensity and outcome of the interaction and how environmental conditions and fishing pressure can otherwise favour one species over the other.

interactions-with-other-species

(English) Harrison, E. J. and W. F. Hadley. 1978. Ecological separation of sympatric muskellunge and northern pike. p. 129-134 In R. L. Kendall [ed.]. Selected Coolwater Fishes of North American. American Fisheries Society Special Publication 11. Washington, D. C. 437 p.

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Interactions with Other Species

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With the exception of a few one-year-old fish, no muskellunge were found in tributaries of the upper Niagara River during 1975-1977. In contrast, nearly all (97%) northern pike were collected in tributaries despite extensive river sampling. The species are spatially segregated throughout much of their life cycles. Differential adaptation tot river current may be the most important factor permitting coexistence of the two species. The geologic history of the Niagara River suggests that the muskellunge population may have been established rather recently (since 5,500 years before present). However the present distribution of northern pike indicates that this population was probably established much earlier (12,300-10,400 BP).

interactions-with-other-species

(English) Divens, M. J., W. P. Baker, B. D. Bolding and R. S. Osborne. 2017. Tiger muskellunge growth, condition, diet and effect on northern pikeminnow at Curlew Lake, Washington. p. 135-148 In K. L. Kapuscinski, T. D. Simonson, D. P. Crane, S. J. Kerr, J.S. Diana and J. M. Farrell [eds.]. Muskellunge Management: Fifty Years of Cooperation among Anglers, Scientists and Fisheries Biologists. American Fisheries Society Symposium 85. Bethesda, Maryland. 675 p.

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Interactions with Other Species

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Tiger muskellunge (muskellunge Esox masquinongy x northern pike Esox lucius) growth, condition and diet as well as the effect of stocking on northern pikeminnow (Ptychocheilus oregonensis) were studies at Curlew Lake, Washington, from 2001 to 2006. Curelw Lake (373 ha) was stocked with tiger muskellunge beginning in 1998 to reduce an overabundant northern pikeminnow population and to create a unique trophy fishery. Historically, Curlew Lake had provided good fishing opportunities for stocked rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) as well as naturally reproducing largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) and smallmouth bass (M. dolomieu). The quality of trout fishing, however, had declined throughout the 1990s commensurate with anecedotal observations of increased numbers of northern pikeminnow in the sport catch. To monitor changes in species relative abundanc3e, the lake was sampled annually in the fall with standardized boat electrofishing surveys. Additionally the lake was sampled by boat electrofishing monthly from spring through fall to collect tiger muskellunge diet samples by gastric lavage. Rainbow trout and northern pikeminnow were the most important prey species for tiger muskellunge in Curlew Lake while largemouth bass were a distant third. Diet varied seasonally with rainbow trout being the most important prey during spring while northern pikeminnow was most important in summer. Both rainbow trout and northern pikeminnow were important in the fall. The relative abundance of northern pikeminnow in Curlew Lake significantly declined over the duration of the study. The high proportion of northern pikeminnow observed in the tiger muskellunge diet analysis indicates that the reduction can be attributed to the added presence of tiger muskellunge to the community. Therefore, the goal of northern pikeminnow population reduction through tiger muskellunge introduction (biological control via predation) has been successful. Continues biannual monitoring of the fish community to assess northern pikeminnow abundance should provide the necessary data to refine future tiger muskellunge stocking rates in Curlew Lake.

interactions-with-other-species

(English) Cooper, J. E., J. V. Mead, J. M. Farrel and R. G. Werner. 2008. Coexistence of pike (Esox lucius) and muskellunge (E. masquinongy) during early life and the implications of habitat change. Hydrobiologca 601:41-53.

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Interactions with Other Species

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Changes in spawning habitat of northern pike (Esox lucius) may affect their segregation from and coexistence with the closely related muskellunge (E. masquinongy). We estimated the areal coverage of robust and shallow emergent vegetation in three shared-spawning bays in the Upper St. Lawrence River from aerial photographs taken from 1948 to 2003. Robust emergent vegetation (e.g., cattail) increased in coverage by 155–241% while shallow emergents (sedges) decreased by 46–96%. The loss of sedges, an important northern pike-spawning habitat, may facilitate greater spawning overlap in offshore-submersed aquatic vegetation within bay habitats used by muskellunge. Development rates and characteristics of northern pike and muskellunge eggs and larvae were compared to better understand the implications of greater spawning overlap. Northern pike eggs developed faster than muskellunge eggs at temperatures of 4.7–19°C, and adhesive eggs and the presence of adhesive papillae were present in both species. Equations were used to predict degree-day requirements for hatching and swim-up in three habitats (shallow emergents, bay, and offshore shoal) along a temperature gradient. Northern pike required more estimated degree days to reach hatching in bay and offshore shoal habitat relative to shallow emergent habitat due to cooler temperatures. Significant spawning overlap is known to occur within bay habitats, but poor success of northern pike in deep bay habitats and overall reductions in abundance are hypothesized to currently buffer muskellunge from potential negative interactions between these species.

interactions-with-other-species

(English) Tennant, D. L. and G. Billy. 1963. Artificial hybridization of the muskellunge and grass pickerel in Ohio. Progressive Fish Culturist 25:68-70.

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Hybridization

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hybridization

(English) Nemeczek, C. and C. C. Wilson. 2017. Water wolves and tigers: Testing for directional hybridization and introgression between northern pike and muskellunge. p. 487 In K. L. Kapuscinski, T. D. Simonson, D. P. Crane, S. J. Kerr, J. S. Diana and J. M. Farrell. Muskellunge Management: Fifty Years of Cooperation among Anglers, Scientists and Fisheries Biologists. American Fisheries Society Symposium 85. Bethesda, Maryland. 675 p.

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Hybridization

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Tiger muskellunge (muskellunge Esox masquinongy x northern pike Esox lucius) are commonly stocked in the United States but not in Canada. Much research has been conducted on the culture and stocking of these fish: however, there has been little research on natural hybrids or the genetics of tiger muskellunge. Hybridization and introgression occur within and among different taxa and can have both positive and negative impacts. Hybridization can lead to speciation events and can also be used for genetic rescue but introgression has the potential to cause extinction of populations when hybrids repeatedly backcross with parental species. Studies on hybridization utilize species-specific markers because unique differences between species allows for more reliable and accurate detection of hybrids. In this study, the cytochrome b region of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) was sequenced from 6- tiger muskellunge from various lakes in Ontario as well as hatcheries and lakes in New York, Wisconsin and Minnesota in order to determine whether tiger muskellunge had muskellunge or northern pike mtDNA. Since mtDNA is maternally inherited the data allo9wed the directionality of hybridization to be determined. Tiger muskellunge were genotyped using 20 nuclear microsatellite loci to confirm hybridization and to test for introgression. Muskellunge and northern pike have historically faced population declines and information on hybridization between these two species may help to understand these declines particularly if introgression is occurring. Anthropogenic effects such as habitat fragmentation are know to increase the rate of hybridization in species and if there is evidence of introgression here would be a need for management action in order to protect genetically distinct populations of both muskellunge and northern pike.

hybridization

(English) Eddy, S. 1940.Do muskellunge and pickerel interbreed? Successful hybridizing in the hatchery suggests they do. The Progressive Fish Culturist 48:25-27.

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Hybridization

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hybridization

Crossman, E. J. and J. W. Meade. 1977. Artificial hybrids between Amur pike (Esox reicherti) and North American esocids. Journal of the Fisheries Research Board of Canada 34:2338-2343.

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Hybridization

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Artificial hybrids between Esox reicherti, the only species in the family Esocidae that does not occur naturally in North America, and North American esocids were developed. Five of a possible 10 crosses are described in detail. Three crosses failed (those involving the males of E. niger and E. americanus) for reasons other than methodology, the cross involving females of E. americanus americanus was not made, and a fifth cross involving the male of E. masquinongy was successful but no data are included. Interspecies fertility was suprisingly high, and an inverse relationship existed between survival of crosses and the difference in potential maximum size of parent species. At least one cross was fertile, and an F2 generation and backcrosses were developed

hybridization

(English) Casselman, J. M., E. J. Crossman, P. E. Ihssen, J. D. Reist and H. E. Booke. 1986. Identification of muskellunge, northern pike and their hybrids. p. 14-46 In G. E. Hall [ed.]. Managing Muskies. American Fisheries Society Special Publication 15. Bethesda, Maryland. 372 p.

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Hybridization

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Discrimination among live and even dead esocids can sometimes be very difficult. In areas where muskellunge and northern pike cohabit, there is inadvertent (sometimes illegal) harvest of the rare and more valuable muskellunge because many anglers can’t readily distinguish between them. Muskellunge x northern pike hybrids are recognized only by the most avid muskellunge angler and fisheries specialist. This study reviews criteria for identifying and distinguishing among esocids and researches new techniques that can be applied specifically for muskellunge, northern pike and their hybrid, the tiger muskellunge.

Body color pattern and external appearance of young, juveniles and adults provide discriminating characteristics as do the submandibular pores and cheek and gill cover scalation. External morphology such as body proportions can be used to distinguish between northern pike and muskellunge however their hybrids generally show intermediate meristic and morphometric characteristics that somewhat overlap muskellunge. Differences in the shape of dentary teeth and shape and dentition of the vomer and palatine tooth patches provide distinct diagnostic features. Scale pattern and shape and zonation of both scales and cleithra can nbe used to distinguish among these species and their hybrids. Scales and cleithra in large hybrids are larger relative to body size than in the parent species The internal anatomy also has distinguishing characteristics (e.g., location of the dorsal aorta, vertebral column and centra).

The fish were compared electrophoretically for 18 enzyme systems encoded by 35 lo ci. Muskellunge and northern pike are electrophoretically distinct for 54% (19) of their loci. The hybrid has intermediate isozyme patterns for all but two of these loci.

The results describe not only better and more easily recognizable characteristics for the angler but also more sophisticated, analytical laboratory techniques which can be used as forensic tools for discrimination among muskellunge, northern pike and their hybrids.

hybridization

(English) Buss, K., J. Meade III, and D. R. Graf. 1978. Reviewing the esocid hybrids. p. 210-216 In R. L. Kendall [ed.]. Selected Coolwater Fishes of North America. American Fisheries Society Special Publication 11. Washington, D. C. 437 p.

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Hybridization

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A review of the hybrids of the Esocidae is presented. Artificial crosses of the smaller pickerels, chain pickerel, grass pickerel and redfin pickerel and their reciprocals produced fertile progeny. However the crosses of the larger pike, muskellunge, northern pike and Amur pike although successful produced only one with fertile progeny, the Amur pike x northern pike. Crosses of the larger pike with smaller pickerel were generally unsuccessful or produced sterile young. Natural hybridization has been prevented by difference in distribution, habitat, size of mature fish, behaviour, spawning time, spawning sites and immunological barriers. Crosses of northern pike with muskellunge and Amur pike produced hybrids which appear to have greater potential as a port fish. These hybrids are relatively easy to rear, utlize artificial foods, grow fast and eventually produce a sport fish which is prized to anglers.

hybridization

(English) Brege, D. A. 1986. A comparison of muskellunge and hybrid muskellunge in a southern Wisconsin lake. p. 203-207 In G. E. Hall [ed.]. Managing Muskies. American Fisheries Society Special Publication 15. Bethesda, Maryland. 372 p.

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Hybridization

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A comparison of age and growth, return to the creel and harvest size characteristics was made for muskellunge and hybrid muskellunge in Little Green Lake, Wisconsin. Most hybrids reached 30 inches by their fourth summer while most muskies attained that length by their fifth summer. Since 1963, in a voluntary musky registration program, an average of 108 muskellunge and 125 hybrid muskellunge have been recorded annually. Anglers have registered 11.6% of the musky stocked and 14.6% of the hybrid musky stocked; their average size was 33.1 and 31.6 inches respectively. Total harvest was 2.03 lb/acre for musky and 1.98 lb/acre for hybrids. Exploitation rates were 26.6% for musky and 33.3% for hybrid musky. Live bait was used to catch 55.1% of the hybrids while artificial baits accounted for 87.0% of the musky caught. Since 1972, 147 muskellunge and 128 hybrids have been caught and released. Due to the hybrid’s greater vulnerability to angling muskellunge may be the better choice for stocking intensively fished waters.

hybridization

(English) Zorn, S. A., T. L. Margenau, J. S. Diana and C. J. Edwards. 1998. The influence of spawning habitat on natural reproduction of muskellunge in Wisconsin. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 127:995-1005.

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Habitat

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Many of Wisconsin’s native populations of muskellunge Esox masquinongy exhibit declining reproductive success and failing natural recruitment. As a result, self‐sustaining populations of muskellunge are diminishing. This study focused on spawning habitat factors that influence egg development and survival and, consequently, the reproductive success of muskellunge. Muskellunge spawning habitat characteristics in lakes with self‐sustaining populations were compared with spawning habitat characteristics in lakes that were once self‐sustaining but are now maintained by stocking. The hatching success of artificially fertilized eggs was assessed under natural lake conditions. Spawning sites were typically marshy areas in water less than 1 m deep. Characteristics of the spawning habitat influenced successful reproduction. Spawning areas in stocked lakes had low dissolved oxygen (DO; 1.2–5.4 mg/L) at the substrate–water interface, whereas self‐sustaining lakes had more variable DO (0.5–9.6 mg/L) with some microhabitats having high DO. Organic carbon content, texture of spawning substrate, and water temperature at the substrate did not differ between self‐sustaining lakes and lakes supported by stocking. Fallen logs, stumps, and other wood in spawning areas may increase egg survival. Muskellunge egg survival over natural substrate was low (0.0–1.3%), even in lakes with self‐sustaining populations. Collections of eggs and observations of fry indicated that major mortality occurred after egg deposition but before fry reached nursery habitats several weeks after hatching.

habitat

(English) Weller, J. D. and P. Chow-Fraser. 2017. Fine scale features of muskellunge spawning grounds in Georgian Bay. p. 271 In K. L. Kapuscinski, T. D. Simonson, D. P. Crane, S. J. Kerr, J. S. Diana and J. M. Farrell [eds.]. Muskellunge Management: Fifty Years of Cooperation among Anglers, Scientists and Fisheries Biologists. American Fisheries Society Special Publication 85. Bethesda, Maryland. 675 p.

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Habitat

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Loss and degradation of spawning habitat has been identified as a major stressor in the widespread decline of muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) populations. Protection of spawning habit has therefore been designated a management priority and research is needed to permit efficient identification of these areas. One avenue of research has been to model spawning habitat based largely on the characteristics of spawning sites (i.e., locations where confirmed spawning events have occurred). However, characterization of more general spawning grounds remains comparatively unexplored. We analyzed radio telemetry data collected from three regions of Georgian Bay (from southeastern to northern Georgian Bay) to determine if adult muskellunge have predictable, fine scale movement patterns when using spawning grounds. A total of 49 individuals were tracked for up to three spawning seasons during 2012-2015. Both male and female muskellunge exhibited staging behavior during the spawning season and appeared to travel along areas with moderate slopes (between 1° and 10°). Females staged further offshore in deeper waters (maximum depth ranged from 1.7 to 2.9 m) and were consistently more mobile than males. By comparison, males staged in shallower waters (maximum depth ranged from 1.3 to 2.6 m) towards the offshore edges of coastal wetlands and wait at access points for females to move inshore to spawn. In all three regions of Georgian Bay we found adult muskellunge staging in water deeper than what has typically been defined as spawning sites (>1.5 m) making brief forays into shallower areas to spawn. We suggest that deeper areas and moderately sloping areas used as travel corridors are important components of spawning grounds that need to be protected in addition to the typical shallow wetland areas where muskellunge actually spawn.

habitat

(English) Wagner, C. P., M. J. Weber and D. H. Wahl. 2015. Structural complexity influences littoral coarse woody habitat selection by juvenile muskellunge. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 35:14-19.

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Habitat

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Coarse woody habitat (CWH) is an important feature of aquatic systems, offering foraging opportunities, refuge from predation, and spawning habitat. Fish abundance and diversity have been positively correlated with the density of CWH in aquatic systems through manipulative or laboratory experiments; however, less is known about how structural complexity of individual CWH units influences fish use. To explore how fish relate to a gradient of available CWH complexities in a field environment, we evaluated selection of CWH complexities by stocked, juvenile muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) in Forbes Lake, Illinois, using radiotelemetry. Most (86%) CWH in Forbes Lake was simplistic, consisting of a single trunk with no or few primary branches, whereas only 9% of the CWH was structurally complex, possessing most or all primary and secondary branches. Muskellunge used all available CWH complexities but selected for intermediate complexity, even though that represented only 5% of the available habitat; all other CWH complexity classes either were used in proportion to abundance or were avoided. Selection by muskellunge of intermediate CWH complexity may represent trade‐offs among prey availability, predator foraging efficiency, and refuge from predation. As impounded reservoirs across the muskellunge range continue to age and lose habitat complexity, managers engaged in habitat restoration should consider the potential effects of CWH complexity on fish use.

habitat

Strand, R. F. 1986. Idneification of principal spawning areas and seasonal distribution and movements of muskellunge in Leech Lake, Minnesota. p. 62-73 In G. E. Hall [ed.]. Managing Muskies. American Fisheries Society Special Publicaton 15. Bethesda, Maryland.372 p.

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Habitat, Spawning and Reproduction

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Six specific muskellunge spawning locations were documented and preferred spawning habitat was determined by surgically implanting radio transmitters in 14 adult muskellunge capture by angling in summer 1979. Adult fish from each of thre areas on the lake were radio-tagged. Spawning sites were distinctly offshore in depths of 1 to 2 m over a soft calcareous substrate with Chara spp. as the dominant vegetation. Physical characteristics of the six examined areas were very similar even though widely separated geographically. Selection for these sites occurred even though a wide variety of habitat types was available. Mean tracking time for 12 fish was 396 days which included the 1980 spawning period. Significant differences relating to home range and movement were observed for muskellunge inhabiting disparate environments within the lake. Muskellunge residing tin the main basin occupied total home ranges which were five times larger than of those fish inhabiting Walker Bay. The main lake fish also tended to have winter home ranges distinctly separate from summer ranges and winter home ranges were larger than summer ones by a factor of nearly two. Walker Bay fish had winter home ranges which were smaller than those of summer by a factor of over six and were contained within the summer ranges. Survival of all angler-caught fish additionally subjected to implant surgery strongly suggest that catch and release of muskellunge is a realistic management option.

habitat spawning-and-reproduction

(English) Rust, A. J., J. S. Diana, T. L. Margenau and C. J. Edwards. 2002. Lake characteristics influencing spawning success of muskellunge in northern Wisconsin lakes. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 33:834-841.

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Habitat, Spawning and Reproduction

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We determined the physical, chemical, biological, and land use characteristics that distinguish northern Wisconsin lakes with self‐sustaining populations of muskellunge Esox masquinongy from lakes where stocking is required to maintain populations. Lakes that supported self‐sustaining muskellunge populations were characterized by fewer shoreline alterations and by spawning habitats with softer, organic‐nitrogen‐rich sediments. Lakes that required stocking had extensively developed shorelines. The direction of water level change during the spawning period, percentage of spawning area sediment covered by woody debris, number of deadfall trees per kilometer of shoreline, and percentage of shoreline that was totally developed were the most important variables for classifying the level of muskellunge reproduction a lake could support. A linear discriminant function correctly classified 83% of the lakes with self‐sustaining muskellunge populations and 89% of the lakes requiring stocking to sustain or enhance muskellunge populations. Lake managers wishing to use muskellunge stocking programs to reestablish self‐sustaining populations should critically review each candidate lake by considering our model and that of Dombeck et al. (1986).

habitat spawning-and-reproduction

(English) Owensby, D. P., J. A. Rice and D. D. Aday. 2017. Mortality, dispersal and habitat use of stocked juvenile muskellunge in two western North Carolina rivers. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 37:108-121.

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Habitat, Stocking and Transfers

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The Muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) is a highly sought‐after sport fish that is native to the Tennessee River drainage of western North Carolina. After the extirpation of Muskellunge from North Carolina in the 1950s, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission began a stocking program to re‐establish the species and produce viable Muskellunge fisheries in North Carolina. Although stocking efforts have created a Muskellunge fishery in, for example, the French Broad River (where the species was native), there is little evidence of success in North Carolina sections of the New River (where the species was not native). Possible mechanisms inhibiting stocking success are unclear because there is relatively little information available on the juvenile life stage of the Muskellunge, especially in the southern portion of its distribution. We addressed the perceived differences in recruitment between the two fisheries by using telemetry to investigate dispersal, mortality, and habitat use by stocked juvenile Muskellunge. Fifty hatchery‐reared, age‐0 Muskellunge (282–307 mm TL) were tagged prior to stocking in the New River (fall 2013) and French Broad River (fall 2014). Three months after stocking, known survival of tagged fish was 4% in the New River and 29% in the French Broad River; the survival probability after 3 months was estimated at 9% (range = 4–17%) in the New River and 37% (range = 25–56%) in the French Broad River. Extended survival in the French Broad River was 14% at 252 d post-stocking. High dispersal was observed, with maximum individual dispersal of 67.4 km in the New River and 55.5 km in the French Broad River. Habitat suitability analyses indicated that juvenile Muskellunge in the FBR selected shallow nearshore areas with low water velocity, fine substrate, and substantial cover in the form of woody debris and overhanging vegetation. Information on the survival and behavior of stocked Muskellunge can facilitate efforts to successfully manage these fisheries.

habitat stocking-and-transfers

(English) Nohner, J. K. and J. S. Diana. 2015. Muskellunge spawning site selection in northern Wisconsin lakes and a GIS-based predictive habitat model. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 35:141-157.

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Habitat

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Spawning habitat degradation has been linked to declines in naturally reproducing Muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) populations, and managers require efficient methods to identify and protect these habitats. We collected spawning habitat data from 28 lakes in northern Wisconsin to determine Muskellunge spawning habitat selection and to create a GIS‐based model for predicting the locations of spawning sites. Spawning site selection by Muskellunge may be more complex than previously thought. Muskellunge showed selection for spawning in habitats with a sheltered effective fetch and east‐facing shorelines. The strongest selection was for habitats with a combination of moderate slope, small flats, and concave bathymetric curvature. Muskellunge selected against steeply sloping shorelines; very large areas of shallow flats; developed shorelines; herbaceous wetlands; and complex‐leafed submersed aquatic vegetation. Lake trophic status appears to interact with other habit variables to determine spawning site selection; sites without submersed aquatic vegetation were more strongly selected in eutrophic lakes than in other lake types. A GIS model of spawning site selection was created using the machine learning program MaxEnt (Maximum Entropy Modeling). The model predicted that Muskellunge would spawn in areas with moderately sheltered effective fetches, moderate to small areas of shallow flats, away from outflowing streams, and (to a lesser extent) along shorelines facing east or west. The model was tested on novel lakes using area‐under‐the‐curve (AUC) analysis, in which values ranged from 0.5 (predictions no better than random) to 1.0 (perfect assignment). The mean AUCtest value (i.e., the expectation of model performance for a novel lake) was 0.637 (SD = 0.12). When the model was used to designate the best 20% of available spawning habitat area for Muskellunge in each lake (based on the relative probability of spawning), that area contained 32% of the spawning sites. The model provides an efficient method for management agencies and conservation groups to use in designating spawning habitat for conservation and in communicating with the public through spawning habitat maps.

habitat

Murry, B. A. and J. M. Farrell. 2007. Quantification of native muskellunge habitat: Influence of body size, fish community composition and vegetation structure. Environmental Biology of Fishes 79:37-47.

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Habitat

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Habitat utilization of native young-of-the-year (YOY) muskellunge, Esox masquinongy, was quantified by the type and density of vegetation present, water depth, and fish communities associated with their presence and abundance in nursery bays of the Upper St. Lawrence River. We completed 441 seine hauls and captured 400 YOY muskellunge in 11 bays that were sampled each July and August over a 3-year period (2002–2004). We hypothesized a change in habitat utilization related to increasing body size, as YOY muskellunge doubled in total length from July to August. Fine-leafed submerged and emergent macrophytes and prey availability (cyprinids, Notropis sp., banded killifish, Fundulus diaphanous and tessellated darter, Etheostoma olmstedi), were positively related to muskellunge use in July, while in August coverage of broad-leafed submerged macrophytes and increased overall vegetation density were the best habitat descriptor. In both months, muskellunge were associated with moderate (20–60%) vegetation coverage and density, however, captures were in areas of significantly greater vegetation coverage and density than was generally available. A negative relation of muskellunge occurrence with water depth, yellow perch, Perca flavescens, and stonewort, Chara vulgaris, was observed in both months. The negative relationship between muskellunge and depth, plus their strong linkages to nearshore submerged vegetation and forage fish that inhabit the nearshore areas, highlights the importance of protecting the ecological integrity of nearshore habitats. Our findings should assist managers in protecting native stocks, planning restoration and enhancement initiatives, and in regulating riparian and nearshore development

habitat

(English) LeBlanc, J.-P. 2015. Managing spawning and nursery habitat of the Georgian Bay muskellunge (Esox masquinongy). Ph.D. Thesis. McMaster University. Hamilton, Ontario. 200 p.

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Habitat

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The following Ph.D. describes how a period of sustained low water levels and shoreline modifications in Georgian Bay, Lake Huron, have impacted the coastal wetland habitat used by muskellunge during their early life. To counteract these adverse effects, the thesis provides a definition of the wetland features that promote the survival of youngof-the-year muskellunge in Georgian Bay. Included is a proposed management tool in the form of an Index of Nursery Habitat Suitability (INHS) for muskellunge that can be used to identify high-quality, early-life habitat of muskellunge. Furthermore, the INHS can be used to predict how the quality of this habitat responds to different water-level scenarios and to shoreline modification in Georgian Bay, and to guide rehabilitative efforts of degraded wetland habitat.

habitat

(English) LeBlanc, J. P. 2014. Unique Georgian Bay nursery habitat features allows for successful habitat differentiation: Steps towards a spatially explicit muskellunge nursery habitat suitability index model. p. 10 In J. D. Midwood, S. J. Kerr, P. Levick and S. J. Cooke [eds.]. Muskellunge Science and Management: Progress Through Partnerships Workshop. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Muskies Canada Inc. and Carleton University. Ottawa, Ontario.

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Habitat

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In Ontario, muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) management strategies are predicated on self-sustaining populations to ensure high quality trophy fisheries. These strategies provide safeguards for breeding adults and their spawning habitats. In Georgian Bay, Lake Huron, suitable spawning habitat appears pervasive given the Bay’s oligotrophic status. However, after more than a decade of sustained low water levels and increases in shoreline modification, coastal wetland nursery habitat structure has been altered for which muskellunge young-of-the-year (YOY) are sensitive. Thus, despite the presence of suitable spawning habitat, muskellunge populations may fail is suitable nursery habitat is limited or absent. This hypothesis was supported in southeastern Georgian Bay where suitable muskellunge spawning habitat failed to support YOY from a lack of suitable nursery habitat structure and altered fish community. Unfortunately, very little information exists that can help managers identify suitable nursery habitat in Georgian Bay which may be more limiting to recruitment and spawning habitat. To address this knowledge gap, a region in northern Georgian Bay was sampled for YOY muskellunge during 2012-13 to describe and quantify habitat parameters related to muskellunge nursery habitat in the absence of shoreline modification. Multivariate statistical techniques successfully differentiated muskellunge nursery sites from available habitat. Results suggested that suitable muskellunge nursery habitat in Georgian Bay encompassed a relatively narrow range of habitat parameters characterized by: steeper substrate slopes, greater densities and diversity of upper water column structuring submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) and relatively low densities of low growing SAV. Muskellunge nursery habitat characteristics also p4romote a more diverse fish community and limited abundances of yellow perch (Perca flavescens) than sites absent of YOY muskellunge. These results are forming the basis of a spatially explicit muskellunge nursery Habitat Suitability Index (HIS) model for Georgian Bay. This HIS can nbe used in conjunction with current management strategies to provide a more holistic, complementary approach to managing muskellunge populations by accounting for the life stage habitats limiting to recruitment.

habitat

(English) Gillis, N. C., T. Rapp, C. T. Hasler, H. Walchelka and S. J. Cooke. 2010. Spatial ecology of adult muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) in the urban Ottawa reach of the historic Rideau River, Canada. Aquatic Living Resources 23:225-230.

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Habitat, Movements

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The Rideau Canal in Canada was constructed in the 1800s to enable strategic military and commercial transport in eastern Ontario between Lake Ontario and the Ottawa River. Today, the Rideau Canal is managed by Parks Canada and remains an engineered ecosystem, particularly in the urban Ottawa reach (7 km long) where it is largely channelized and is partially drained during the winter to protect canal infrastructure (i.e., locks) and provide recreational opportunities (i.e., skating). Interestingly, the Ottawa reach of the Rideau Canal supports one of the few wild urban muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) fisheries in North America supported by natural reproduction. However, little is known about the spatial ecology, residency patterns or survival of this apex freshwater predator in urban environments or canal systems. Radio-telemetry was used to study adult (N = 10; total size range of 64 to 122 cm) muskellunge in the Ottawa reach of the Rideau Canal over a multiple year period. The seasonal movements and home range of muskellunge were greatest during spring corresponding with the period when water levels in the canal were raised and muskellunge were presumably seeking out suitable spawning habitats following ice-off. During the summer fish ranged throughout the entire 7 km urban reach of the canal and by early fall muskellunge moved to the deeper parts of the reach and became largely restricted to an embayment known as Dow’s Lake prior to the lowering of the canal where they stayed for the entire winter. The same pattern of seasonal movements persisted across several years. None of the tagged muskellunge were stranded from the fall canal drainage. One fish emigrated from the urban reach of the canal during the study period, moving upstream through a lock to an exurban reach. In addition, a single tagged fish died from a winterkill event. Environmental influences such as seasonality and water depth (associated with canal operations) are believed to be the primary mechanisms contributing to habitat selection and movement patterns of muskellunge in this reach of the Rideau Canal. Data on the spatial ecology of muskellunge in the urban reaches of the Rideau Canal will inform management of this unique population of fish to ensure that the historic and ecological values are balanced to preserve this iconic Canadian natural heritage site and its biota.

habitat movements

(English) Farrell, J. M., H. B. Underwood and K. L. Kapuscinski. 2014. Fine scale habitat use by age-1 stocked muskellunge and wild northern pike in an upper St. Lawrence River bay. Journal of Great Lakes Research 40(Supplement 2):148-153.

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Habitat

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Radio telemetry of stocked muskellunge (n = 6) and wild northern pike (n = 6) was used to track late summer and fall movements from a common release point in a known shared nursery bay to test the hypothesis that age-1 northern pike and stocked muskellunge segregate and have different habitat affinities. Water depth, temperature, substrate and aquatic vegetation variables were estimated for each muskellunge (n = 103) and northern pike (n = 131) position and nested ANOVA comparisons by species indicated differences in habitat use. Muskellunge exhibited a greater displacement from the release point and used habitat in shallower water depths (mean = 0.85 m, SE = 0.10) than northern pike (mean = 1.45 m, SE = 0.08). Both principal components analysis (PCA) and principal components ordination (PCO) were used to interpret underlying gradients relative to fish positions in two-dimensional space. Our analysis indicated that a separation of age-1 northern pike and muskellunge occurred 7 d post-release. This first principal component explained 48% of the variation in habitat use. Northern pike locations were associated with deeper habitats that generally had softer silt substrates and dense submersed vegetation. Muskellunge locations post-acclimation showed greater association with shallower habitats containing firmer sandy and clay substrates and emergent vegetation. The observed differences in habitat use suggest that fine-scale ecological separation occurred between these stocked muskellunge and wild northern pike, but small sample sizes and potential for individual variation limit extension of these conclusions. Further research is needed to determine if these patterns exist between larger samples of fishes over a greater range of habitats.

habitat

(English) Dombeck, M. P. 1986. Muskellunge habitat with guidelines for habitat management. p. 208-215 In G. E. Hall [ed.]. Managing Muskies. American Fisheries Society Special Publication 15. Bethesda, Maryland. 372 p.

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Habitat

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Loss or alteration of habitat, especially reproductive habitat, is considered to be a major cause of a decline of native muskellunge populations. Active habitat management programs specifically for muskellunge are virtually nonexistent. This paper summarizes muskellunge habitat needs and problems and suggest guidelines for its management.

Adult muskellunge are strongly associated with submergent vegetation while juveniles seem to prefer emergents; both are associated with woody debris such as submerged tree tops, stumps and loges in rivers and littoral zones of lakes. Dissolved oxygen (DO) depletion from accumulation of flocculent organic mucks and dense aquatic vegetation in spawning areas has been associated with poor natural reproduction. Invasion of formerly exclusive muskellunge waters by northern pike has also been associated with the decline of natural muskellunge populations.

Proposed muskellunge habitat management guidelines include control of northern pike populations, maintenance of balanced fish populations, identification of spawning areas and acquisition of adjacent lands, monitoring of DO at spawning sites and rehabilitation of unsuitable substrates, timber management of riparian areas adjacent to spawning areas and management of watershed to maintain high water quality.

habitat

(English) Diana, J. S., J. K. Nohner, S. Zorn, A. Rust, K. D. Battige and P. Hanchin. 2017. Spawning habitat for muskellunge is far more variable than expected: a review of over 20 years of research. p. 183-201 In K. L. Kapuscinski, T. D. Simonson, D. P. Crane, S. J. Kerr, J. S. Diana and J. M. Farrell. Muskellunge Management: Fifty Years of Cooperation among Anglers, Scientists and Fisheries Biologists. American Fisheries Society Special Publication 85. Bethesda, Maryland. 675 p.

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Habitat

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We synthesize results from a number of studies to determine in muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) spawning habitat is predictable. Specific objectives are to (1) evaluate characteristics of spawning habitat in a number of different systems; (2) determine if spawning habitat can be predicted from data on land cover, geology and physical characteristics in the lake or river; and (3) compare spawning habitat in inland lakes and some Great Lakes locations. In inland lakes, muskellunge preferred to spawning over fine sediments near emergent and submersed vegetation in protected bays or shoreline, but bay and calm shoreline habitat is not always available and may be degraded so they may end up spawning over open sand, gravel or coarse particulate organic matter and spawning in areas without vegetation. For objective two, the best performing maxEnt model included shoreline development index, presence of nearby shallow areas, distance from outflowing streams, effective fetch, maximum depth, Carlson’s trophic status index and an indicator of east or west facing shoreline as significant factors predicting spawning locations in inland lakes. Overall, 64% of all observed spawning fell within locations predicted by a model including the most suitable 40% of available habitat for all lakes. For objective three, we compared habitat selection of Great Lakes strain muskellunge with the inland strain. MaxEnt models of habitat for Great Lakes muskellunge included some similar factors like shallow depth and low slope but also included river habitat factors like presence of moderate vegetative cover and woody debris. To conclude, we propose a conceptual model of muskellunge spawning and nursery habitat where survival from egg to larva is limited by water quality, predation on eggs and abundant food sources.

habitat

(English) Crane, D. P. and K. L. Kapuscinski. 2017. Fine scale habitat characteristics associated with age-0 muskellunge in the upper Niagara River, New York. p. 227-240 In K. L. Kapuscinski, T.D. Simonson, D. P. Crane, S. J. Kerr, J. S. Diana and J. M. Farrell [eds.]. Muskellunge Management: Fifty Years of Cooperation among Anglers, Scientists and Fisheries Biologists. American Fisheries Society Symposium 85. Bethesda, Maryland. 675 p.

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Habitat

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Studies of fine scale habitat characteristics associated with age-0 muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) are uncommon and those that have been conducted have relied on targeted, nonrandom sampling designs which may bias study results. We used a random design to sample age-0 muskellunge and shallow water (< 13. m) habitat features found in the upper Niagara River, New York, during late July through early September 2013-2105. Comparisons of habitat features between sites where muskellunge were present and absent and Firth logistic regression were used to identify important characteristics of muskellunge nursery locations. A total of 15 age-0 muskellunge were collected at 11 of 295 sites sampled. Vallisneria americana was the dominant aquatic vegetation at 10 of 11 sites where muskellunge were collected and sand and mud were the dominant substrate sizes at all locations where age-0 muskellunge were collected. The probability of age-0 muskellunge presence was positively related to the proportion of the water column occupied by aquatic vegetation. Despite sampling nearly 300 sites, the small number of age-0 muskellunge collected limited the types of analyses that could be performed. However, our results provide evidence that shallow water areas with abundant V. Americana should be conserved or resortred to provide reaering habitat for muskellunge in the upper Niagara River. IN future studies, samples sizes of age-0 muskellunge in the upper Niagara River. In future studies, sample sizes of age-0 muskellunge may be increased while maintaining a probability sampling design, by randomly sampling within pre-defined areas that contain habitat features identified at sites where muskellunge were present in our study.

habitat

(English) Crane, D. P., J. M. Farrell and K. L. Kapuscinski. 2014. Identifying important microhabitat characteristics of muskellunge spawning locations in the upper Niagara River. Journal of Great Lakes Research 40:325-335.

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Habitat

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Conserving and restoring muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) spawning habitat are essential for maintaining self-sustaining populations. A Maxent model was developed based on presence and background data to investigate the relationship between the occurrence of spawning muskellunge and habitat features in the upper Niagara River. Muskellunge spawning points (n = 15) were determined by direct observation of spawning pairs. Model inputs were based on micro-habitat features collected at each spawning point and a sample of 250 background habitat points. The full model was reduced to a four variable model to remove uninformative variables and reduce overfitting and redundancy. Model performance was evaluated based on the mean test gain of cross-validated models (n = 15). Model outputs identified aquatic macrophyte/algae coverage as the most important habitat feature at spawning locations. The relative probability of muskellunge spawning increased with the percent rank of total aquatic macrophyte/algae coverage, water velocity, and water depth and it was highest at points with muddy-sand to sand substrates. Mean test gain (0.68; SE = 0.52) of the cross-validated models indicated that the likelihood of an average muskellunge spawning point was nearly two times greater than an average background point. Results from this research advance our knowledge of muskellunge reproductive ecology, while providing scientists and managers with quantitative measures to guide habitat conservation and restoration.

habitat

(English) Craig, R. E. and R. M. Black. 1986. Nursery habitat of muskellunge in southern Georgian Bay , Lake Huron, Canada. p. 79-86 In G. E. Hall [ed.]. Managing Muskies. American Fisheries Society Special Publication 15. Bethesda, Maryland. 372 p.

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Habitat

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Summer nursery habitats of Great Lakes muskellunge were studied during July and August, 1981. The “typical” habitat was occupied by young-of-year (YOY) muskellunge about 50 mm long and by five other fish species, the most abundant being largemouth bass, pumpkinseed and yellow perch. Each habitat was comprised of eight families of emergent and floating vegetation and nine species of submergent vegetation. Sedge (Cyperaceae) was the most abundant emergent family while bushy pondweed (Najax flexilis), muskgrass (Chara sp) and variable pondweed (Potamogeton gramineus) were the predominant submergent species. Emergent vegetation was dense in a narrow band along the shore where submergent vegetation was sparse. Off shore habitat consisted of a wider band of less dense emergent and floating vegetation and increased bottom cover of submergent vegetation. Shoreline residents often alter littoral areas and their activities may restrict muskellunge production by reducing macrophytes in critical spawning and nursery habitats. Fishery management of southern Georgian Bay can use the “typical” nursery area description to identify potentially important habitats and possibly mitigate the impacts of proposed alterations.

habitat

(English) Cook, M. F. and R. C. Solomon. 1987. Habitat suitability index models: Muskellunge. Biological Report 82. U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Washington, D. C. 33 p.

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Habitat

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This document is part of the Habitat Suitability Index (HSI) model series which provides habitat information useful for impact assessment and habitat management. Several types of habitat information are provided. The Habitat Use Information section is largely constrained to those data that can be used to derive quantitative relationships between key environmental variables and habitat suitability. This information provides the foundation for the HSI model and may be useful in the development of other models more appropriate to specific assessment or evaluation needs. The HSI Model section documents the habitat model and includes information pertinent to its application. The model synthesizes the habitat use information into a framework appropriate for field application and is scaled to produce an index value between 0.0 (unsuitable habitat) and 1.0 (optimum habitat). The HSI Model section includes information about the geographic range and seasonal appl ication of the model, its current verification status, and a list of the model variables with recommended measurement techniques for each variable. The model is a formalized synthesis of biological and habitat information published in the scientific literature and may include unpublished information reflecting the opinions of identified experts. Habitat information about wildlife species frequently is represented by scattered data sets collected during different seasons and years and from different sites throughout the range of a species. The model presents this broad data base in a formal, logical, and simplified manner. The assumptions necessary for organizing and synthesizing the species-habitat information into the model are discussed. The model should be regarded as a hypothesis of species-habitat relationships and not as a statement of proven cause and effect relationships. The model may have merit in planning wildlife habitat research studies about a species, as well as in providing an estimate of the relative suitability of habitat for that species. User feedback concerning model improvements and other suggestions that may increase the utility and effectiveness of this habitat-based approach to fish and wildlife planning are encouraged.

habitat

(English) Carlander, K. D., J. S. Campbell and R. J. Muncy. 1978. Inventory of percid and esocid habitat in North America. p. 27-38 In R. L. Kendall [ed.]. Selected Coolwater Fishes of North America. American Fisheries Society Special Publication No. 11. Bethesda, Maryland. 437 p.

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Habitat

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A questionnaire sent to the chief fishery staff members of each of the U.S. states and Canadian provinces provided the basic data for estimating habitat occupied by walleyes, saugers, yellow perch, northern pike and muskellunge. Species habitat areas, grouped by size categories within lakes, impoundments and streams were listed by major drainage patterns in 4our east to west and fifteen north to south regional groupings. The present distributional patterns of each species resulting from introduced as well as native populations revealed major concentrations of these species around the Great Lakes. The areas occupied by percids and esocids as a percentage of total freshwater area in North America were 54% for northern pike, 1% for muskellunge, 32% for walleyes, 10% for saugers and 26% for yellow perch. Areas occupied by the five species, as a percentage of total freshwater areas, varied widely in different regions.

habitat

(English) Brenden, T. O., B. R. Murphy and E. M. Hallerman. 2006. Effects of discharge on daytime habitat use by muskellunge in the New River, Virginia. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 135:1546-1558.

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Habitat

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For several fish species, increased river discharge has been linked to behavioral changes, including movement towards particular habitats. From 2000 to 2003, we used radiotelemetry to monitor habitat use by 42 muskellunge Esox masquinongy within a 17‐km reach of the New River, Virginia; to evaluate habitat selection; and to determine whether habitat use and selection were affected by discharge. Water depth, occurrence of aquatic vegetation, substrate type, and distance to riverbanks within the study reach were mapped with hydroacoustic and Global Positioning System technologies. Real‐time discharge measurements from an upstream U.S. Geological Survey stream gauge were used to classify fish locations into those made during periods of reduced (<75 m3/s) or increased (>75 m3/s) discharge. Seasonal habitat selection models for the different discharge levels were created using logistic regression. Differences in logistic regression coefficients between models were tested with multivariate chi‐square tests and Bonferroni‐corrected pairwise comparisons. Meta‐analytic averaging of Pearson’s correlation coefficients was used to determine the overall effect size of discharge on habitat use by muskellunge. Overall, muskellunge exhibited a positive selection for deeper habitats; however, discharge was found to significantly affect both habitat use and selection. Habitat use was consistent with the hypothesis that fish moved to shallower habitats (both summer and winter) located closer to riverbanks (winter only) during periods of increased discharge. In terms of habitat selection, selection strengths for variables such as water depth (summer and winter) and distance to shoreline (winter only) generally weakened during periods of increased discharge, indicating that habitat use became more proportionate to availability. Increased movement as a result of increased discharge has been theorized to potentially reduce winter survival of fish because of seasonal energetic limitations. Thus, indirect effects on fish from dam operating modes (e.g., hydropeaking) may be as important as direct effects when evaluating biotic implications of water release schedules.

habitat

(English) Younk, J. A. and D. L. Pereira. 2007. An examination of Minnesota’s muskellunge waters. Environmental Biology of Fishes 79:125-136.

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Distribution and Range

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We examined Minnesota’s muskellunge, Esox masquinongy, populations using various data sets including spring trap net assessments and angler diary surveys. We confronted a potentially problematic data set that had a large number of zero catches by fitting logistic models to the presence/absence data set and linear models to the subset of data that included catches with one fish or more. Currently, 105 lakes have been identified as muskellunge waters, of which 61 lakes have been created and maintained by stocking. Although the proportion of successful anglers has increased over time, catch rates have remained the same. It appears from analysis of trap net catches that the abundance of 102 cm (40 in) and larger muskellunge has been increasing over time. Both trap net and angler data provide some indications that size of muskellunge caught has also increased over time. Angler-harvested muskellunge averaged 11 years of age and 115 cm (45 in) total length. For Minnesota waters, muskellunge ultimate length averaged 134 cm (53 in) for females and 119 cm (47 in) for males. All evidence indicates a successful management program

distribution-and-range

(English) Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. 1973. Wisconsin muskellunge waters. Madison, Wisconsin. 40 p.

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Distribution and Range

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This publication is provided to help you enjoy Musky fishing in Wisconsin. A list of the Muskellunge waters by county and their characteristics is presented to give you an idea of what to expect in the waters you fish. More World records have been landed here than anywhere else. The book classifies water into 3 categories: A B C and Boat Access. Also identified if hybrids are available. It breaks down to Pram, Road, Water Canoe, Walking, Commercial or not public access on all the lakes in the County that contain Muskellunge. All include are near Municipality, total acreage and maximum depth of each lake classified. Small chapter on distribution, Habits and Habitat, Ecology classification Reproduction, Growth, Populations, Management and Angling in book on 778 total water in the State of Wisconsin. A chart on the Summary of Muskellunge Waters by Classification appears on page 13. Lakes and waters are listed under counties they appear in. This is the last updated Wisconsin Muskellunge water booklet with lighten cover available.

distribution-and-range

(English) Mandrak, N. E. and E. J. Crossman. 1992. A checklist of Ontario freshwater fishes annotated with distribution maps. Royal Ontario Museum. Toronto, Ontario. 176 p.

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Distribution and Range

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distribution-and-range

(English) Kerr, S. J. 2001. Atlas of muskellunge streams and rivers in Ontario. Fisheries Section. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. Peterborough, Ontario. 16 p.

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Distribution and Range

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Muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) is one of the most highly valued prized fish species in the Province of Ontario. A compilation of information in 1987 indicated that there were 302 Ontario lakes which contained muskellunge populations. Muskellunge also inhabit many streams and rivers of Ontario whoever there had never been any previous attempt to identify those waters. This exercise represented an initial effort to document Ontario streams and rivers which support muskellunge populations. Information was obtained from a variety of sources including a review of Ontario muskellunge literature and file records, a survey of MNR field staff, consolidation of information from the Cleithrum Project and the Ontario Information System (OFIS) database and personal communications with several muskellunge anglers, managers and scientists. This listing identifies 105 streams or rivers in Ontario which contain muskellunge. Waters range in sized from the Ottawa and St. Lawrence rivers to several small spawning and nursery streams. There are undoubtedly additional waters which have been missed during this compilation. The challenge for Ontario fisheries managers will be to confirm the status of the stocks listed herein and to add new waters to this listing as information becomes available.

distribution-and-range

(English) Fago, D. 1986. Distribution and relative abundance of fishes in Wisconsin. VIII Summary Report. Technical Bulletin 175. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Madison, Wisconsin.

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Distribution and Range

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A statewide study of the inland waters of Wisconsin was initiated in 1974 by the Bureau of Research, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to establish a comprehensive data base on the distribution and relative abundance of all fish species. Records composing this data base came mainly from a survey between 197 4 and 1986 of current statewide fish distribution. Numerous historical records (from 1900-72) were also included in the data base. Surveys to determine current distribution were primarily conducted in eastern, southern, west central, and northwestern Wisconsin. Sampling of basins in these areas during 197 4-86 was accomplished at 5,396 stations by Fish Distribution Study personnel, at 4,174 stations by other DNR personnel, and at 271 stations by non-DNR personnel. These stations covered approximately 50% of the state. During this period, 143 species were collected. Of these 143 species, 140 are believed to have reproducing populations in the inland waters ofWisconsin. According to the Department’s lists of endangered, threatened, and »watch » species, the fishes collected during the fish distribution survey between 197 4 and 1986 included all 8 of the state’s endangered species, all6 of~ threatened species, and 16 ofthe 21 species on the Department’s watch list. These status designations were based on official listings of endangered and threatened species (per a 1982 Wisconsin Administrative Code) and an unofficial list (from 1985) of watch species for which a population problem was suspected but not known.
Data from the 197 4-86 period for Wisconsin were compared to those from the 1900-72 period. The early period records consisted of 2,179 non-DNR collections and 1,456 DNR collections. Two species that had not been previously reported from the state were collected in the later period. Three species have apparently been extirpated from the state. This report includes numerous tables, distribution maps of the species, and discussion on many aspects offish distribution in Wisconsin. It also sets out a sampling plan for completing the state survey. The data base generated to date has been shown to be of great value for the preparation of environmental impact assessments, development of master plans for the aquatic resource, and preparation of research proposals on nongame species, fish communities, and ecosystems. Use and value ofthis data base would undoubtedly increase ifthe sampling of the state were to be completed. It is, therefore, recommended that completion of this study be considered in the near future. Other recommendations are to update the data base with information from historical fish surveys, to continue the systematic recording of fish collected during routine DNR surveys, and to protect the habitat of endangered and threatened fish species.

distribution-and-range

(English) Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. 2014. Muskellunge distribution in Kentucky. Frankfort, Kentucky.

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Distribution and Range

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Native to the Green, Kentucky, Licking, and Little Sandy river drainages, and Kinniconick and Tygarts creeks. Muskellunge inhabit pools of medium to large rivers, often near fallen logs with accumulated debris. They are stocked annually in Green River, Cave Run, and Buckhorn lakes, where they are usually found in shoreline habitat associated with structure. Several stream populations are also maintained through supplemental stockings due to poor reproductive success in the wild.

distribution-and-range

(English) Blackwell, B. G., D. O. Lucchesi and M. J. Ward. 2017. Muskellunge in South Dakota. p. 583-585 In K. L. Kapuscinski. T. D. Simonson, D. P. Crane, S. J. Kerr, J. S. Diana and J. M. Farrell [eds.]. Muskellunge Management: Fifty Years of Cooperation among Anglers, Scientists and Fisheries Biologists. American Fisheries Society Symposium 85. Bethesda, Maryland. 675 p.

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Distribution and Range

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The South Dakota muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) program began in 1975 when 2,000 muskellunge fingerlings were introduced into Amsden Dam in northeast South Dakota. Muskellunge were introduced into a total of 14 waters between 1975 and 1979 including three Missouri River reservoirs. Unfortunately, most of the stockings during this period provided only a limited return to anglers and were deemed unsuccessful. Muskellunge stocking since 2000 have been more successful and fisheries have been established in five additional eastern South Dakota waters. Sampling adult muskellunge has proven difficult but recent use of large trap nets in the spawning has improved our ability to sample adult fish in South Dakota waters. Although the large trap nets capture more muskellunge than previously used smaller nets, catches remain low likely due to the low abundance. Future research needs include evaluating stocking success, obtaining and age and growth information and measuring angler use.

distribution-and-range

(English) Coad, B. W. 2011. Fishes of Canada’s national capital region. Canadian Museum of Nature. Ottawa, Ontario.

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Distribution and Range

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This work is a guide to the fishes found in the National Capital Region (NCR) of Canada, a region encompassed by a circle of 50 km radius centred on the Peace Tower of the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa, extending into Ontario and Québec. An earlier work by Coad and McAllister (1975) is dated and required a revision. The book treated 75 species while this work covers 84 species and, as the updates show, species new to the NCR are still being recorded.
Muskellunge are found from southwestern Québec and southern Ontario west to western Lake Superior but only south of this lake to western Ontario and introduced to southern Manitoba. In the U.S.A. south to northern Georgia. The Chat’s Lake area near Arnprior had 10,000 young Muskie stocked in 1956 (newspaper reports). The Rideau River was heavily stocked with this species in the 1940s and early 1950s (Hopkins, 2000). 25,000 fish were released in the Rideau River in the Long Reach near Kars or Osgoode in 1941 (newspaper reports vary; Bebee, 2004). The Jock River and Steven Creek (North Gower) have also been stocked with this species (Kerr, 2001a).

distribution-and-range

(English) Sonstegard, R. A. and J. G. Hnath. 1978. Lymphosarcoma in muskellunge and northern pike: Guidelines for disease control. p. 235-237 In R. L. Kendall [ed.]. Selected Coolwater Fishes of North America. American Fisheries Society Special Publication 11. Bethesda, Maryland.

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Disease and Parasites

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Epizootics of a malignant blood cancer (lymphosarcoma) affects feral populations of northern pike and muskellunge. Overall frequencies of occurrence of the disease in northern pike and muskellunge as high as 20.9% and 16.0%, respectively, were found. The disease in feral muskellunge caused high mortalities while in northern pike spontaneous regressions are common. The disease is transmitted precutaneously during the act of spawning. The disease does not seem to be transmitted to progency via the egg. These species should be stocked as eggs or fry, not as adults, if the spread of lymphosarcoma is to be restricted.

disease-and-parasites

Sonstegard, R. A. and T. T. Chen. 1986. A review of lympososarcoma of muskellunge and northern pike. p. 47-50 In G. E. Hall [ed.]. Managing Muskies. American Fisheries Society Special Publication 15. Bethesda, Maryland. 372 p.

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Disease and Parasites

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Feral muskellunge and northern pike in widely separated geographical regions in North American and northern pike in Europe suffer epizootics of lymphosarcoma. The disease is highly contagious and virus associated. The tumor is transmitted to fish via physical contact during spawning activities. To prevent spread of the disease, it is recommended that stocking be limited to the progeny of disinfected eggs propagated under quarantine conditions.

disease-and-parasites

(English) Millard, E. V., A. M. Bourke, S. E. Lapatra, T. O. Brenden, S. D. Fitzgerald and M. Faisal. 2017. DNA vaccination partially protects muskellunge against viral hemorrhagic septicemia (VHSV-IVb). Journal of Aquatic Animal Health 29:50-56.

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Disease and Parasites

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A DNA vaccine containing the glycoprotein (G) gene of the North American viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus (VHSV) genotype IVb was developed to evaluate the immune response of fish following vaccination and evaluate its efficacy in protecting a susceptible species, the muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) , against VHSV‐IVb challenge. Seven weeks (539 degree‐days) following vaccination with 10 μg of either pVHSivb‐G or a control plasmid, Muskellunge were challenged by immersion with 105 plaque‐forming units (pfu)/mL of VHSV‐IVb. Fish vaccinated with pVHSivb‐G had a relative percent survival (RPS) of 45%. Vaccinated fish also had significantly lower mean viral titers in tissues (4.2 × 102 pfu/g) and viral prevalence (4%) than fish receiving the plasmid control vaccine (3.3 × 105 pfu/g; 82%). Neutralizing antibodies were detected 28 d (308 degree‐days) postchallenge (11 weeks postvaccination) in 100% of muskellunge vaccinated with pVHSivb‐G compared with only 12% of plasmid‐control‐vaccinated Muskellunge, suggesting robust induction of a secondary, adaptive immune response. In addition, pVHSivb‐G–vaccinated rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss challenged 7 d (100 degree‐days) postvaccination with the heterologous novirhabdovirus, infectious hematopoietic necrosis virus (IHNV), experienced an RPS of 61%, compared to control fish, suggesting induction of an early and transient nonspecific antiviral immune response. This study provides an important starting point for VHSV‐IVb vaccine development and useful information about the antiviral immune response elicited by DNA vaccination in a nondomesticated fish species.

disease-and-parasites

(English) Margenau, T. L., S. V. Marcquenski, P. W. Rasmussen and E. Maconnell. 1995. Prevalence of blue spot disease (Esocid herpes viru-1) on northern pike and muskellunge in Wisconsin. Journal of Aquatic Animal Health 7:29-33.

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Disease and Parasites

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Blue spot disease (esocid herpesvirus‐1) was observed in populations of northern pike (Esox lucius) and muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) in northern Wisconsin during the 1984–1992 spring spawning periods. Prevalence of blue spot disease was as high as 34% for northern pike and 29% for muskellunge. Prevalence differed among lakes and between sexes in some lakes. In general, larger and older northern pike were less likely to have observable lesions. The pathogenesis of blue spot disease is unknown. Clinical signs are present for only a short period when water temperatures are between 2 and 13°C, and they are not visible shortly after fish spawn, when water temperatures reach 14°C.

disease-and-parasites

(English) Lewis, C., J. M. Farrell, K. L. Sams, E. R> Cornwell and R. G. Getchell. 2017. A comparison of virulence of four viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus IVb strains in muskellunge. p. 149-159 In K. L. Kapuscinski, T. D. Simonson, D. P. Crane, S. J. Kerr, J. S. Diana and J. M. Farrell [eds.]. Muskellunge Management: Fifty Years of Cooperation among Anglers, Scientists and Fisheries Biologists. American Fisheries Society Symposium 85. Bethesda, Maryland. 675 p.

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Disease and Parasites

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Viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus (VHSV) has been found in fish populations throughout the Great Lakes basin since 2003. It is a single-stranded RNA virus that affects a number of fish species, including muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) a major predator in these waters. The purpose of this experiment was to compare the virulence of four strains of VHSV IVb (MI03, vcG002, FPL2013-002 and FLP20140991). Age-0 muskellunge were randomly assigned to one of the strains and exposed to either a high (5 x 105 plaque forming units/mL) or low (5 x 104 plaque forming units/mL) dose for one hour by immersion. Fish were then monitored for clinical signs of infection, such as petechial hemorrhages, lethargy and death, whereupon brain and pooled organ samples were harvested using aseptic technique. Quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction assays in muskellunge were performed along with viral isolation in order to confirm the presence of HVSV. Results of the Cox proportional hazard regression models did demonstrate a difference when comparing the time to death of the high dose versus the low dose, but no difference was observed when comparing the time to death of the four isolates over the course of the experiment. When comparing viral load in muskellunge pooled spleen, hear, liver and anterior and posterior kidneys or separate brain, there were no differences between the strains or the doses detected. Future studies with lower doses closer to the LD50 may differentiate changes in virulence properties of VHSV IVb.

disease-and-parasites

(English) Kim, R. and M. Faisal. 2010. The Laruentian Great Lakes strains (M103) of the viral haemorrhagic septicaemia virus is highly pathogenic for juvenile muskellunge (Esox masquinongy). Journal of Fish Diseases 33:513-527.

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Disease and Parasites

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The Great Lakes strain of viral haemorrhagic septicaemia virus (VHSV) isolated from adult subclinical muskellunge, Esox masquinongy days post‐infection (p.i.). The median lethal intraperitoneal injection dose (IP‐LD days after exposure in waterborne challenged fish, whereas fish infected by the i.p. route experienced the first mortality by 5 (Mitchill), in Lake St. Clair, MI, USA was shown to be highly pathogenic in juvenile muskellunge through intraperitoneal (i.p.) injection and waterborne challenge. Mortality began as early as 350) was approximately 2.21 plaque forming units (PFU) as opposed to the median lethal immersion challenge dose (IM‐LD5010 × ) of 1.74mL PFU −1. A high, medium and low dose of infection caused acute, subacute and chronic progression of the disease, respectively, as was evident by the cumulative mortality data. Clinical signs of disease observed in dead and moribund fish were very pale gills, dermal petechial haemorrhages along the flanks, severe nuchal haemorrhages, intramuscular haemorrhages at the fin–muscle junction and focal haemorrhaging on the caudal peduncle. Internal lesions included livers that were pale, discoloured and friable, and kidneys that were either congested or degenerative in appearance, and petechial to ecchymotic haemorrhages on the swim bladder wall. Histopathologic examination demonstrated massive haemorrhages in the swimbladder wall and muscle, severe vacuolation and multifocal necrosis of the liver, multifocal necrosis of the gills and depletion of lymphoid tissues within the spleen. Kidney tissues also exhibited a mixed pattern of degeneration that included tubular necrosis, interstitial oedema and congestion. Virus was recovered from kidney and spleen tissues through tissue culture and reverse transcriptase‐polymerase chain reaction (RT‐PCR).

disease-and-parasites

(English) Faisal, M., A. Baird, A. D. Winters, E. V. Milolard, S. Marcquenski, H.-M. Hsu, A. Hennings, P. Bochsler, I. Standish, T. P. Loch, M. R. Gunn and J. Wang. 2016. Isolation of the fathead minnow nidovirus from muskellunge experiencing lingering mortality. Journal of Aquatic Animal Health 28:131-141.

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Disease and Parasites

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In 2011, the Fathead Minnow nidovirus (FHMNV; Genus Bafinivirus , Family Coronaviridae , Order Nidovirales ) was isolated from pond‐raised juvenile Muskellunge Esox masquinongy suffering from lingering mortality at the Wild Rose Hatchery in Wild Rose, Wisconsin. Moribund Muskellunge exhibited tubular necrosis in the kidneys as well as multifocal coalescing necrotizing hepatitis. The FHMNV was also isolated from apparently healthy juvenile Muskellunge at the Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery in Mattawan, Michigan. The identity of the two syncytia‐forming viruses (designated MUS‐WR and MUS‐WL from Wild Rose Hatchery and Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery, respectively) as strains of FHMNV was determined based on multiple‐gene sequencing and phylogenetic analyses. The pathogenicity of the MUS‐WL FHMNV strain was determined by experimentally infecting naive juvenile Muskellunge through intraperitoneal injection with two viral concentrations (63 and 6.3 × 103 TCID50/fish). Both doses resulted in 100% mortality in experimentally infected fish, which exhibited severely pale gills and petechial hemorrhaging in eyes, fins, and skin. Histopathological alterations in experimentally infected fish were observed mainly in the hematopoietic tissues in the form of focal areas of necrosis. Phylogenetic analysis of concatenated partial spike glycoprotein and helicase gene sequences revealed differences between the MUS‐WL FHMNV, MUS‐WR FHMNV, and two other FHMNV originally isolated from moribund Fathead Minnows Pimephales promelas including the index FHMNV strain (GU002364). Based on a partial helicase gene sequence, a reverse transcriptase PCR assay was developed that is specific to FHMNV. These results give evidence that the risks posed to Muskellunge by FHMNV should be taken seriously.

disease-and-parasites

(English) Choquette, L. P. E. 1951. Parasites of freshwater fish. V. Parasitic helminthes of the muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) in the St. Lawrence Watershed. Canadian Journal of Zoology 29:290-295.

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Disease and Parasites

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The incidence of the following species of helminths recovered from the digestive tract of 218 muskallunge (Esox m. masquinongy) from various localities in the St. Lawrence watershed is recorded: Azygia augusticauda, A. longa, Triaenophorus nodulosus, Proteocephalus pinguis, Neoechinorhynchus cylindratus, Leptorhynchoides thecatus, Metabronema salvelini, and Rhaphidascaris canadensis. One hundred and ninety-two, or 88% of the fish examined were found to harbor one or more species. The most commonly found species were T. nodulosus and A. longa. In all cases the number of worms recovered per host was small.

disease-and-parasites

(English) Tomcko, C. M., R. A. Stein and R. F. Carline. 1984. Predation by tiger muskellunge on bluegill: Effects of predator experience, vegetation and prey density. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 113:588-594.

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Diets and Feeding Habits, Interactions with Other Species

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Many pellet‐reared tiger muskellunge (F1 hybrid of female muskellunge Esox masquinongy and male northern pike E. lucius) do not survive stocking in reservoirs dominated by bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus) prey. Poor survival may occur because few hybrids capture bluegills. In a previous study done in hatchery ponds, only 10% of naive hybrids (those never before exposed to live prey) captured bluegills during 15 days. In similar ponds, we tested the effects of predator experience (using hybrids previously exposed to bluegill prey), vegetative cover, and bluegill density on the number of hybrids capturing prey. Few experienced or naive hybrids captured bluegills at low prey density, regardless of the presence or absence of vegetation. When bluegill density was increased from 1 to 5 prey/m2 in ponds or to 40/m2 in aquaria, many hybrids captured bluegills. Our pond study suggests that most hybrids will not fare well when stocked in lakes where only bluegill forage is present.

diets-and-feeding-habits interactions-with-other-species

(English) Snow, R. A., D. E. Shoup and M. J. Porta. 2018. Effects of turbidity on prey selection and foraging rate of hatchery-reared juvenile tiger muskellunge. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 38:487-492.

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Diets and Feeding Habits

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Tiger muskellunge (northern pike Esox lucius × muskellunge E. masquinongy ) are stocked into aquatic systems across North America to control undesirable fish species or to create sportfishing opportunities. Because decreased water clarity can affect the poststocking foraging ability of an ambush predator like the tiger muskellunge, we evaluated the effects of turbidity on the foraging success of tiger muskellunge in a laboratory setting. We tested prey selectivity and total prey consumption by juvenile tiger muskellunge at four turbidity levels (Secchi depths of >84, 53, 26, and 18 cm) using three prey species: goldfish (Carassius auratus) (a surrogate for common carp Cyprinus carpio ), gizzard shad Dorosoma cepedianum , and green sunfish Lepomis cyanellus . Tiger muskellunge consumed significantly less prey at Secchi depths of 26 and 18 cm than at a Secchi depth of >84 or 53 cm. Selectivity for or against all prey types decreased as turbidity level increased, such that all the shad were positively selected and goldfish were negatively selected in clearer water. green sunfish were neutrally selected at all turbidity levels tested. These results suggest that increasing turbidity levels will negatively impact prey encounters and consumption rates, which likely will reduce growth rates of tiger muskellunge, ultimately reducing fish survival and stocking success.

diets-and-feeding-habits

(English) New, J. G., A. Fawkes and L. Khan. 2001. Strike feeding behavior in the muskellunge (Esox masquinongy): Contributions of the lateral line and visual sensory systems. Journal of Experimental Biology 204:1207-1212.

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Diets and Feeding Habits

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The muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) is a predatory esocid fish with well-developed visual and lateral line systems. The purpose of this study was to determine the relative roles of these two sensory modalities in organizing the strike behavior of the animal. Subadult muskellunge were videotaped in a test arena while feeding on fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas). Animals were tested under five conditions: (i) control animals in which the visual and lateral line systems were intact; (ii) animals with lateral line afference suppressed by immersion for 12–24 h in 0.1 mmol l(−1) CoCl2; (iii) animals blinded by bilateral optic nerve transection; (iv) animals that had been unilaterally blinded; and (v) animals in which the lateral line system had been unilaterally denervated. The feeding behavior of the muskellunge consists of two phases: a slow stalk of the prey with minimal body movement followed by an explosive C- or S-start lunge at the prey. Quantitative comparisons of animals in the five test groups indicate that, although vision is used in the initial acquisition of the prey, both vision and the lateral line system play important roles in determining the initiation of the rapid strike. The lateral line system may play a critical role in the final capture of the prey at the end of the strike. In addition, lateral-line-suppressed muskellunge strongly alter their approaches to more distant prey. Bilaterally blinded muskellunge do not stalk their prey, but will lunge only at prey that are at close range. Unilaterally blinded or denervated muskellunge also alter their detection of and approach to prey, attending to a wider region of the intact sensory hemisphere. Our data suggest not only that the visual and lateral line systems play complementary roles in the feeding behavior sequence but also that each system plays a more or less dominant role during consecutive phases of the behavior.

diets-and-feeding-habits

(English) Lepak, J. M., C. N. Cathcart and W. L. Stacey. 2014. Tiger muskellunge predation on stocked salmonids intended for recreational fisheries. Lake and Reservoir Management 30:250-257.

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Diets and Feeding Habits

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Hatchery-reared fish are stocked widely to enhance recreational fisheries but are often consumed by predators. Stable isotope analyses were used to evaluate tiger muskellunge (northern pike [Esox lucius] × muskellunge [E. masquinongy]) predation on stocked salmonids (Oncorhynchus) relative to naturally reproducing white suckers (Catostomus commersonii), in 5 Colorado reservoirs. Stable isotope analyses coupled with a mixing model using a Bayesian framework indicated that tiger muskellunge primarily consumed stocked salmonids (53–84% by mass). These results suggest that stocking salmonids into systems that contain tiger muskellunge (and potentially other predators) may result in losses of valuable stocked fish. Further, the use of tiger muskellunge or other piscivores as biological control of less desirable species to benefit sympatric salmonid populations may be counterproductive to management goals. Finally, this study demonstrates the potential for managers to use this framework as a tool to identify and evaluate unintended losses of fishes to piscivores in other systems.

diets-and-feeding-habits

Lepak J. M, E. R. Fetherman, W. M. Pate, C. D. Craft and E. I. Gardunio. 2012. An experimental approach to determine esocid prey preference in replicated pond systems. Lake and Reservoir Management 28: 224–231.

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Diets and Feeding Habits

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Competitive interactions between salmonids and white suckers (Catostomus commersonii) often result in poor salmonid growth, condition, and ultimately angler catch-per-unit-effort. Fisheries managers frequently introduce hybrid northern pike (Esox lucius) and muskellunge (E. masquinongy), known as tiger muskellunge, as biological control agents to reduce the abundance of undesirable species including white suckers, while simultaneously attempting to create viable recreational fisheries with stocked salmonids. In this study, northern pike were used to evaluate esocid prey preference between naïve, hatchery-reared rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) and wild white suckers. Enclosures containing northern pike were stocked with rainbow trout and white suckers at 2 densities (50:50 and 20:80, respectively) to represent different ratios of forage. Weekly sampling by beach seine was used to determine rainbow trout and white sucker mortality. When the experiment was complete, enclosures were drained to determine overall survival of the forage species. Rainbow trout numbers declined precipitously to zero, while 60–75% of white suckers remained across all treatments. This study demonstrated a clear difference in survival of rainbow trout and white suckers (rainbow trout having lower survival) in the presence of northern pike under these conditions. We suggest fisheries managers consider these findings when stocking or managing for piscivores to control undesirable fish species, or to create recreational fisheries, while simultaneously stocking naïve sport fish vulnerable to predation.

diets-and-feeding-habits

(English) Kapuscinski, K. L., J. M. Farrell and B. A, Murry. 2012. Feeding strategies of young-of-the-year muskellunge from two large river ecosystems. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 32:635-647.

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Diets and Feeding Habits

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We analyzed stomach contents from 674 young‐of‐the‐year (age‐0) muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) sampled in New York waters of the St. Lawrence and upper Niagara rivers to (1) describe diets and document use of nonnative prey, (2) examine the feeding strategy (generalized versus specialized) and the importance of different prey types, (3) evaluate temporal patterns in feeding strategy and prey importance, and (4) determine how prey length related to muskellunge length and whether this relationship differed among prey types. Banded killifish Fundulus diaphanus , native cyprinids, and tessellated darters (Etheostoma Olmstedi) were the most important prey numerically and by weight in the St. Lawrence River. Native cyprinids, banded killifish, and darters (Etheostoma spp. and Percina spp.) were the most important prey in the Niagara River, but nonnative cyprinids were more important by weight than darters. Muskellunge from both rivers exhibited a specialized feeding strategy, with individuals specializing on different prey types. The muskellunge feeding strategy and the prey types of greatest importance were consistent among years and among months within years. The relationship between prey length and muskellunge length differed among prey types: as muskellunge length increased, lengths of laterally compressed, spiny prey increased at a slower rate than did the lengths of fusiform prey. Mean prey length as a proportion of predator length declined with increasing muskellunge length in the St. Lawrence River but was constant in the Niagara River. In the St. Lawrence River, prey length as a proportion of predator length decreased for all prey types except cyprinids, for which length was a constant proportion of predator length. Our results can be used to guide evaluations of prey fish assemblages at muskellunge nursery sites and to prioritize sites as candidates for protection, restoration, or use as stocking locations.

diets-and-feeding-habits

(English) Gillen, A. L., R. A. Stein and R. F. Carline. 1981. Predation by pellet-reared muskellunge on minnows and bluegills in experimental systems. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 110:197-209.

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Diets and Feeding Habits, Interactions with Other Species

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Studies in Wisconsin lakes have shown that stocked tiger muskellunge (F1 hybrids of female muskellunge, Esox masquinongy x male northern pike, E. lucius) reared on live food survive better than those reared entirely on dry pellet food. We evaluated the ability of pellet‐reared hybrids to convert to a minnow (Notropis spp. and Pimephales promelas) or bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus) diet in laboratory aquaria and hatchery ponds. In aquaria, 86–310‐mm (total length) tiger muskellunge selected cyprinids that were about 40% of their own length and bluegills that were about 30% of their length, sizes closely predicted by an optimal foraging construct (time from prey capture to complete prey ingestion ÷ prey dry weight). Using these prey sizes, we tested hybrids (130, 150, and 170 mm long) in conversion experiments in aquaria and ponds. During experiments, prey were maintained at a constant density and predators were sampled periodically to determine the proportion eating fish. Tiger muskellunge converted more slowly to bluegills than to minnows in both aquaria and ponds. In aquaria, 85% of the hybrids converted from pellets to minnows by day 3, whereas only 68% converted to bluegills. By day 5, conversions to minnows and bluegills were 95% and 82%, respectively. In ponds, 73% of the hybrids converted to minnows by day 5 and 89% by day 14. No hybrids had eaten bluegills by day 3 and only 53% converted by day 14. The apparently limited ability of pellet‐reared tiger muskellunge to switch to a bluegill diet may influence survival and growth of these predators in reservoirs dominated by a centrachid forage base.

diets-and-feeding-habits interactions-with-other-species

(English) Detmer, T. M., L. M. Einfalt, J. J. Parkos and D. H. Wahl. 2018. Comparison of mouth morphology and prey size selection among three Esocid taxa. Environmental Biology of Fishes 101:449-458.

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Diets and Feeding Habits

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Aquatic organisms, especially fishes, exhibit exceptional diversity in mouth morphology and this variation has been shown to influence foraging patterns. We compared mouth morphology among muskellunge (Esox masquinongy), northern pike (Esox lucius) and their hybrid, tiger muskellunge (E. masquinongy x E. lucius). Head and mouth size among the three taxa were similar for juveniles (<400 mm total length), but diverged with increasing length, being greater for northern pike than muskellunge. Tiger muskellunge had a head and mouth size intermediate to the two, but more similar to northern pike than muskellunge. Morphological differences among taxa were related to data examining prey size selection in laboratory and field experiments. In the laboratory, northern pike selected prey that were smaller than their maximum mouth width (widest point between outside corners of mouth), tiger muskellunge selected larger prey, and muskellunge size-selection was intermediate between the other two taxa. Among the three esocids, muskellunge had the smallest increase in handling time with increasing prey body depth relative to predator mouth width. In a common garden field experiment in three lakes containing mainly deep-bodied prey, results generally followed morphological patterns, with northern pike selecting larger prey compared to muskellunge. Although morphology predicted most of the variation in greatest body depth of prey consumed, the best predictor of prey size was a model that included predator mouth width, taxon, and interaction. Information comparing prey size selection among esocid taxa is useful for understanding how to manage esocid populations based on system-specific prey characteristics and also for understanding how variations in morphological characteristics of apex predators can influence prey vulnerability and ecosystem structure.

diets-and-feeding-habits

(English) Applegate, R. L. 1981. Food selection of muskellunge fry. The Progressive Fish Culturist 43:136-139.

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Diets and Feeding Habits

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Five genera of invertebrates, collected from a municipal sewage lagoon, were fed to muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) fry for 23 days. The fry preferred Moina brachiata during both day and night (1300 and 2300 h) and Cyclops vernalis at night; they did not prefer Asplanchna sieboldi, Potamocypris sp., and Daphnia spp. Organisms in the foregut of fry collected at 2300 h were significantly larger, but not more numerous, than those in the foregut of fry collected at 1300 h. As the fry grew and the mouth width increased, the size of ingested organisms increased. Fry initially selected the first and second instars of M. brachiata and tended to avoid the later instars and adults; by day 23 they selected adults over immature instars. Immature and adult M. brachiata appeared to be of adequate size to feed muskellunge fry during alimentary canal development.

diets-and-feeding-habits

(English) Andrew, S. N., K. Zelman, T. Elllis, T. Linnansaari and R. A. Curry. 2018. Diet of striped bass and muskellunge downstream of a large hydroelectric dam: A preliminary investigation into suspected Atlantic salmon predation. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 38:734-746.

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Diets and Feeding Habits

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Top predators, such as the Striped Bass (Morone saxatilis ) and Muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) , can impact food webs and alter ecosystem structure through the regulation of prey populations. Within the Saint John River, New Brunswick, Canada, both predators have long been hypothesized to impart significant mortality on smolts of the endangered Atlantic Salmon (Salmo salar ). As a consequence, current management practices entail euthanizing Muskellunge (an introduced species) that enter fish passage facilities along the Saint John River. Furthermore, the recovery and protection of a native Striped Bass population have largely been ignored. To assess seasonal diet, gastric lavage was performed on Striped Bass (n = 244) and Muskellunge (n = 96) captured in the downstream proximity of the Mactaquac Dam from April to November 2016. Clupeids dominated the stomach contents by number (92% for Striped Bass; 49% for Muskellunge) and mass (71% for striped bass; 96% for muskellunge). Other prey species included white perch (Morone americana) , yellow perch (Perca flavescens) , American shad (Alosa sapidissima) , and American eels (Anguilla rostrata) . No Atlantic Salmon smolts or other regionally recognized recreational fish species were identified in any of the stomach samples (n = 340) examined. Concurrently, this study observed little temporal overlap between the smolt migratory period and the arrival of Striped Bass to the Mactaquac Dam. Some Striped Bass (n = 33) were observed to be in spawning condition, releasing eggs and milt when handled, although reproduction by this species in the Saint John River was thought to have ceased long ago.

diets-and-feeding-habits

(English) Pecor, P. C. 1979. Experimental; intensive culture of tiger muskellunge in a water reuse system. The Progressive Fish Culturist 41L:103-108.

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Culture

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Tiger muskellunge (female muskellunge, Esox masquinongy, x male northern pike, E. lucius) 14.5 cm long were reared for 45 days in a three‐pass (pass I, II, and III) water reuse system. Cumulative growth rates for the fish were 0.143 cm/day in the first use of the water (pass I), 0.125 in the second use (pass II), and 0.108 in the third use (pass III). Food conversions were poorer in passes II and III. Survival offish in each pass was good and no abnormal mortalities or disease problems were encountered. Dissolved oxygen, ammonia, and pH data indicated that oxygen consumption and ammonia production had daily minimum values between 0200 and 0600 h and maximum values between 1600 and 2000 h. Maximum un‐ionized ammonia levels of 0.0172 mg/L were recorded in pass III. Average daily oxygen consumption and ammonia production rates were 97 g oxygen per kilogram of food fed (97 g oxygen/per 3400 kcal) and 6 g ammonia per kilogram of food fed and were substantially lower than corresponding rates reported for salmonids.

culture

(English) Pecor, C. H. 1978. Intensive culture of tiger muskellunge in Michigan during 1976 and 1977. p. 202-209 In R. L. Kendall [ed.]. Selected Coolwater Fishes of North America. Special Publication 11. American Fisheries Society. Washington, D. C. 437 p.

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Culture

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The hybrid tiger muskellunge (male northern pike x female muskellunge) was reared intensively on artificial diets during 1976 and 1977. The total number of 15-23 cm fingerlings produced during 1976 and 1977 were 88,000 and 109,00 hybrids respectively. Survival from eggs ranged from 11-15% for 1976 and 22% for 1977. The improved survival during 1977 was attributed to better egg quality and modifications of feeding techniques which resulted in a lower incidence of cannibalism. Growth rates averaged between 0.140 and 0.175 cm/day during 1976 and 0.180 cm/day during 1977. Improved feeding techniques again were responsible for the better growth rates. Columnaris and bacterial gill disease caused mortalities but these mortalities were low in comparison to the total loss due to cannibalism.

culture

(English) Lin, F., A. Ciereszko and K. Darowski. 1996. Sperm production and cryopreservation in muskellunge after carp pituitary extract and human chorionic gonadotropin injection. The Progressive Fish Culturist 58:32-37

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Culture

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We investigated the effects of carp pituitary extract (CPE) and human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) on the sperm production in muskellunge Esox masquinongy . Total volumes of milt collected from fish (mean weight, 4.8 ± 1.5 kg) injected with CPE, hCG, or the saline control were 5.36 ± 3.75 mL, 3.1 ± 1.52 mL, and 3.89 ± 2.16 mL, respectively. Sperm concentration, protein and mineral concentrations of semen, and osmolality of seminal plasma were similar in control and hormonally treated fish. Hormonal injections did not affect the initial percentage of motile sperm compared to untreated fish. However, motility of sperm from the CPE group was lower than for the saline group at 75 s after activation (statistical significance was P = 0.06). The fertilizing capacities of spermatozoa after cryopreservation from CPEinjected fish were similar to, if not better than, control fish. We report here, for the first time, the successful cryopreservation of muskellunge semen, which produced 30.1 ± 3.8% survival to the eyed‐embryo stage versus 72.9 ± 8.7% survival obtained with fresh semen.

culture

(English) Krise, W. F. and J. T. Fuss. 1986. Managing water heating costs for intensive culture of tiger muskellunge. p. 352-356 In G. E. Hall [ed.]. Managing Muskies. Special Publication 15. American Fisheries Society. Bethesda, Maryland. 372 p.

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Culture

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Energy costs for rearing tiger muskellunge were compared using water heated with oil, gas or electric heat pump. An oil-fired boiler proved to be the most expensive, costing approximately 50% more than natural gas. A water-to-water heat pump was most efficient costing 40% less than gas. Electric rates, however, are most susceptible to local fluctuations particularly “electric demand” charges. In the worst case, operation of a heat pump would equal gas heating costs.

The cost of culturing tiger muskellunge was compared at temperatures of 15.6°C, 20°C and 22°C. Heating ambient water (7.8°C to 20°C and 22°C cost 57% and 85% more, respectively, than heating water to 15.6°C. By establishing culture water temperature regimes, hatchery managers should be able to exercise better control over biological factors such as fish growh, feed conversion, incidence of disease and cannibalism that may interfere with optimum production.

culture

(English) Klingbiel, J. H. 1986. Culture of purebred muskellunge. p.273-278 In G. E. Hall [ed.]. Managing Muskies. Special Publication 15. American Fisheries Society. Bethesda, Maryland.

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Culture

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The use of conventional pond-rearing techniques for culture of purebred muskellunge has provided erratic and unpredictable results but the fingerlings produced are large enough to provide maximum survival after stocking. The most dependable phases of muskellunge culture are spawning, incubation and pond rearing of fingerlings from 3 to 8 inches or larger. The phase of culture that needs the most improvement is from swimming fry to fingerlings of about 3 inches. The ability to control environmental conditions and provide adequate forage is essential to stabilized production.

Intensive culture techniques using pelleted feed have revolutionized the rearing of hybrid muskellunge and northern pike; it has not been nearly as successful with purebred muskellunge. Rearing in tanks using live food has been successful but growth is somewhat slow. For some production programs it appears feasible to rear fingerlings to 3 inches in tanks using live forage and then transfer them to ponds to grow to stocking size. Solutions to production problems vary and are dependent upon local conditions and facilities as well as the size of fingerling need for cost-effective stocking.

culture

(English) Jorgensen, W. D. 1986. Iowa culture of muskellunge on articifical diets. p. 285-287 In G. E. Hall [ed.]. Managing Muskies. Special Publication 15. American Fisheries Society. Bethesda, Maryland. 372 p.

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Culture

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Natural food diets (zooplankton and minnows) and artificial dry diets were compared as a means of increasing fry survival during the intensive culture of muskellunge at the Iowa Spirit Lake Hatchery. Muskellunge fry fed the natural diets had a constant supply of zooplankton available; at about 1.5 inches fathead minnows were added to their daily diet until stocking occurred. Survival to stocking size (5.3 inches) was 18.0%. Artificial feeding of muskellunge was initiated on an experimental basis in 1982 and tested on a production scale in 1983. Brine shrimp and Abernathy feed were used for the initial training process with brine shrimp withdrawn when the fry converted to dry feed. In 1982, only 8.0% of the initial total were reared to stocking size because a malfunction in the water supply caused the death of 910 fish. In 1983, 53% of the artificall7y fed musky survived to a mean stocking size of 5.4 inches, compared with 18.0% for those on a minnow diet. Cost comparisons for the two rearing methods in 1983 were $1.76/fish for the live food diet and $0.29/fish for the artificial diet.

culture

Glogowski, J., A. Ciereszko and K. Dobrowski. 1999. Cryopreservation of muskellunge and yellow perch semen. North American Journal of Aquaculture 61:258- 262.

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Culture

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Effect of four extenders on the success of cryopreservation of the semen of muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) and yellow perch (Perca flavescens) was tested. These extenders consisted of 0.45 M sucrose and were supplemented with either (1) 15% dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO), (2) 15% DMSO and 10% hen’s egg yolk, (3) 15% dimethylacetamide (DMA), or (4) 15% DMA and 10% egg yolk. The use of extender with DMA alone yielded only about 7% muskellunge sperm fertilizing ability after cryopreservation. Supplementation of this extender with egg yolk produced a fertilization rate (36.6% of the control where fresh sperm was used) not significantly different from rates obtained with extenders containing DMSO. No significant differences were found among particular pools (consisting of semen from three different males per pool) of muskellunge semen used in this experiment. Fertilization rates of cryopreserved yellow perch semen (range, 69.6% to 77.3%) were not significantly different among all extenders tested. Cryopreservation success differed significantly between milt samples from individual yellow perch males. Yellow perch eggs could be stored up to 77 min at 10°C (fertilization success ranged from 57.2% to 64.8%). Our results provided 25–35% improvement of cryopreservation technology for yellow perch semen (measured as fertilization rate) and new data for cryoprotectant use in muskellunge. We were also able to prolong in vitro viability of yellow perch eggs during storage compared with earlier attempts.

culture

(English) Gammon, J. R. 1963. Conversion of food in young muskellunge. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 92:183-184.

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Culture

Gammon, J. R. 1963. Conversion of food in young muskellunge. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 92:183-184.

culture

(English) Galat, D. L. and A. W. Eipper. 1975. Presence of food organisms in the prolarval environment as a factor in the growth and mortality of larval muskellunge (Esox masquinongy). Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 104:338-341.

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Culture, Diets and Feeding Habits

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Three different feeding programs were used to assess the need for zooplankton in the environment of prolarval muskellunge. These were: (1) no zooplankton available to the larvae (filtered water) until 80% of them had become free‐swimming, with pond zooplankton introduced daily thereafter, (2) pond zooplankton introduced daily after hatching was 90% complete, and (3) Artemia nauplii (under 4 days old) introduced 3 times daily beginning with 90% hatch.

Neither mortalities nor dry weights differed significantly between treatments, indicating that presence of food organisms prior to swim‐up was not critical to survival or growth of muskellunge larvae under the conditions of this experiment. Artemia appear to be a satisfactory hatchery diet for larval muskellunge during their first 3 weeks of life.

culture diets-and-feeding-habits

(English) Elson, P. F. 1941. Rearing maskinonge in a protected area. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 10:421-429.

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Culture

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A method of rearing maskinonge to an advanced fingerling stage was investigated. One hundred thousand fry were planted in a natural habitat; a marshy bay normally used by maskinonge as a spawning ground. An attempt was made throughout the summer to remove all possible fish and turtle predators. Altogether 17,334 coarse fish, exclusive of fry of the year, and 563 turtles were removed from the area. Less than one‐third of the fish and somewhat more than one‐half of the turtles were removed previous to planting the maskinonge fry.

Maskinonge spawn in the spring and the fry remain in the spawning marshes at least until the first of November. The fry show little tendency to range about during the period.

When first commencing to feed maskinonge fry took plankton crustacea and the cladoceran, Polyphemus pcdiculus, was utilized to a large extent. About 1 week later they commenced to take very small minnow fry as well as plankton. After they were about 5 weeks old the diet was composed entirely of fish. Cannibalism did not occur when there was an abundant supply of other food.

Maskinonge grew very rapidly under the conditions provided, reaching an average length of nearly 10 inches by the first of November.

A yield of 0.8 advanced fingerlings for each 1,000 fry planted was obtained. However, since the removal of fingerlings was not completed the yield was probably greater. Many predatory fish, notably yellow perch and rock bass, remained in the area throughout a greater portion of the experimental period. There can be little doubt that their predatory activities reduced the yield.

Advantages of raising maskinonge fingerlings under the conditions described are the abundant natural food supply, making possible excellent growth, and the possibility of eliminating predators to a large extent.

culture

(English) Einfalt, L. M., D. B. Wojcieszak and D. H. Wahl. 2013. Behaviour, growth and habitat selection of hatchery esocids reared with artificial vegetation. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 142:345-352.

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Culture, Stocking and Transfers

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We evaluated the effect of adding artificial vegetation to the rearing environment on behavior, habitat selection, and growth of hatchery esocids in laboratory experiments. First, Muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) and the hybrid Tiger Muskellunge (Muskellunge × Northern Pike E. lucius ) resided separately in pools either with or without artificial vegetation (250 stems/m2) for 2 weeks. Both taxa raised in vegetated pools dispersed and spent more time away from the sides of the pools than did individuals residing in open pools. Tiger Muskellunge in vegetated pools also startled less often than fish in open pools, whereas vegetation did not decrease Muskellunge startle behavior. We next examined habitat selection between esocids raised in tanks with and without vegetation. Fish were tested in semivegetated pools, and for Tiger Muskellunge acclimated in vegetation, more fish (80%) used the vegetated half of the pool compared with fish raised in open tanks (61%). Muskellunge, regardless of treatment, spent a high proportion (>90%) of time in vegetation. Finally, growth of both taxa was similar between esocids reared in vegetated tanks compared with esocids reared in open tanks. The presence of artificial vegetation in tanks caused changes in behavior for both esocid taxa, but Tiger Muskellunge were more flexible in modifying their behavior. Behavioral responses resulting from exposure to vegetation could increase survival after stocking in lakes.

culture stocking-and-transfers

(English) Colesante, R. T., R. Engstrom-Heg, N. Ehlinger and N. Youmans. 1981. Cause and control of muskellunge fry mortality at Chautauqua hatchery, New York. The Progressive Fish Culturist 43(1):17-20.

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Culture

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In 1966‐67, 1970, and 1973‐76, New York State’s muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) hatchery, located on Chautauqua Lake, sustained total or near total losses of muskellunge fry at or near the swim‐up stage of development. Eggs incubated at the Chautauqua Hatchery and transferred to other stations resulted in swimming fish, but those held at Chautauqua did not. The chemistry of lake and well water at the muskellunge hatchery showed no departures from normal. During the production seasons of 1974 through 1976 the hatchery was operated on a controlled, experimental basis in an attempt to determine the cause of the fry losses. Fry die‐offs could be correlated with neither the physical or chemical properties of the water nor with the presence of a fish pathogenic virus or pathological tissue changes. Controlled laboratory experiments strongly implicated bacteria as the agents responsible for the muskellunge fry losses. Organisms recovered included predominately Pseudomonas sp., although Aeromonas hydrophila was also isolated; both are well‐known fish pathogens. Ultraviolet treatment of lake and well water supplies during incubation and yolk absorption resulted in effective control of fry losses.

culture

(English) Brecka, B. J., M. L. Hooe and D. H. Wahl. 1995. Comparison of growth, survival and body composition of muskellunge and tiger muskellunge fed four commercial diets. The Progressive Fish Culturist 57:37-43.

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Culture

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Feed is one of the largest annual costs in fish production. Various commercial feeds are used for muskellunge (Esox masquinongy ) and tiger muskellunge (E. masquinongy × E. lucius ), but no data are available that compare growth and survival of these two fishes on these diets. Growth and survival were evaluated over 8 weeks for both muskellunge (initial mean total length, 172 mm) and tiger muskellunge (187 mm) fed four commercially available feeds: Biodiet Grower, Biodry 1000, Abernathy S8‐2 (84), and W‐16. Across all diets, tiger muskellunge grew more than 1.5 times as fast as muskellunge. Both muskellunge and tiger muskellunge grew faster on three diets developed for coldwater species (Biodiet, Biodry, and Abernathy), than on the one developed for coolwater species (W‐16). Muskellunge also grew faster when fed Biodiet or Biodry than when fed Abernathy. Differences in growth may be related to dietary protein levels. Body composition was affected by diet; percent fat was highest for both species fed Biodry, and protein levels were higher for tiger muskellunge fed Biodiet or Abernathy. Survival was high and was not affected by diet type for either species. Based on growth rates, body composition, and feed cost, we recommend Biodiet or Biodry as a diet for muskellunge and Biodry or Abernathy for tiger muskellunge.

culture

(English) Brecka, B. J., C.C. Kohler and D. H. Wahl. 1995. Effects of dietary protein concentration on growth, survival and body composition of muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) and tiger muskellunge (Esox masquinongy x E. lucius) fingerlings. Journal of the World Aquaculture Society 26(4):416-425.

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Culture

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Growth rate, survival and body composition of muskellunge Esox musquinongy (initial mean total length = 125 mm) and tiger muskellunge E. masquinongy × E. lucius (initial mean total length = 115 mm) fed semi‐purified diets differing in protein level from 31 to 40% and 34 to 45%, respectively, were evaluated in 8‐wk trials. The minimum protein level that yielded satisfactory growth rates for muskellunge was 37%, whereas tiger muskellunge growth rates were highest for fish fed a 45% protein diet. Growth differences were caused by changes in protein quantity, not quality, as amino acid ratios were similar for test diets and showed no imbalances among diets. Condition factors for both fishes increased with dietary protein. Survival of muskellunge (73%) and tiger muskellunge (97%) was not pffected by diet type. Body protein increased and fat content decreased in both fishes when fed higher dietary protein. Results suggest that both fishes respond similarly to dietary changes, but that substantial differences exist in protein requirements.

culture

(English) Bender, T. R., Jr. and D. R. Graff. 1986. Pennsylvania’s practices for intensive culture of hybrid muskellunge. p. 279-284 In G. E. Hall [ed.]. Managing Muskies. American Fisheries Society Special Publication 15.. Bethesda, Maryland. 372 p.

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Culture

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Artificial propagation of esocids has been practices since the late1800s and hybrid muskellunge were first cultured in the 1930s. Intensive culture of hybrid muskellunge developed when it was discovered that they could be maintained on artificial diets. Present spawning, incubation and hatching techniques are essentially refinements of those developed for muskellunge. Development of new feeds and feeding techniques was a major factor in achieving the current state of the art for culture of this fish. Cooperative efforts and interstate workshops have been instrumental in achieving widespread success with hybrid culture. Current research is directed at refinements to culture techniques and improvements to facility design, equipment and feeds.

culture

(English) Wood, C. M., J. D. Turrner and M. S. Graham. 1983. Why do fish die after severe exercise? Journal of Fish Biology 22(2):189-201.

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Catch and Release

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Trout fitted with dorsal aortic cannulae were subjected to 6 min of intensive exercise and monitored over the following 12 h recovery period. Delayed mortality was 40%; the majority of deaths occurred 4–8 h post‐exercise. Surviving fish exhibited a short‐lived haemoconcentration reflected in increased haematocrit, haemoglobin, plasma protein, Na+ and Ch‐ levels; an extended rise in plasma [K+]; a quickly corrected respiratory acidosis; and a more prolonged metabolic acidosis in concert with a rise in blood lactate. Dying fish exhibited very similar trends except for a significantly greater metabolic acidosis, lower plasma [Cl‐], and the apparent accumulation of an unknown anion in the blood prior to death. Cardiac failure did not occur. Blood metabolic acid levels, while elevated, were only ∼ 50% of peak lactate anion levels and well within the normal range of tolerance, as were all other changes observed in the blood of non‐survivors. The hypothesis that post‐exercise mortality is due to excessive ‘lactic acid’ accumulation in the blood is discounted. It is suggested that intracellular acidosis may be the proximate cause of death.

catch-and-release

Raby, G. D., J. R. Parker, A. J. Danylchuck and S. J. Cooke. 2013. The understudied and underappreciated role of predation in the mortality of fish released from fishing gears. Fish and Fisheries 15(3):489-505.

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Catch and Release

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The assumption that animals released from fishing gears survive has frequently been scrutinized by researchers in recent years. Mortality estimates from these research efforts can be incorporated into management models to ensure the sustainability of fisheries and the conservation of threatened species. Post‐release mortality estimates are typically made by holding the catch in a tank, pen or cage for short‐term monitoring (e.g. 48 h). These estimates may be inaccurate in some cases because they fail to integrate the challenges of the wild environment. Most obvious among these challenges is predator evasion. Stress and injury from a capture experience can temporarily impair physiological capacity and alter behaviour in released animals, a period during which predation risk is likely elevated. In large‐scale commercial fisheries, predators have adapted their behaviour to capitalize on impaired fishes being discarded, while in recreational catch‐and‐release fisheries, exercise and air exposure can similarly impede the capacity for released fish to evade opportunistic predators. Owing to the indirect and often cryptic nature of this source of mortality, very few studies have attempted to document it. A survey of the literature demonstrated that <2% of the papers in the combined realms of bycatch and catch‐and‐release have directly addressed or considered post‐release predation. Future research should combine field telemetry and laboratory studies using both natural and simulated predation encounters and incorporate physiological and behavioural endpoints. Quite simply, predation is an understudied and underappreciated contributor to the mortality of animals released from fishing gears.

catch-and-release

(English) Pollock, K. H. and W. E. Pine III.2007. The design and analysis of field studies to estimate catch-and-release mortality. Fisheries Management and Ecology 14:123-130.

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Catch and Release, Sampling Techniques and Protocols

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The practice of catch and release (CR) as a fisheries management tool to reduce fishing mortality is widely applied in both freshwater and marine fisheries, whether from shifts in angler attitudes related to harvest or from the increasing use of harvest restrictions such as closed seasons or length limits. This approach assumes that for CR fishing policies to benefit the stock, CR will result in much lower mortality than would otherwise occur. There are many challenges in the design of CR studies to assess mortality, and in many practical settings it is difficult to obtain accurate and precise estimates. The focus of this article is on the design and quantitative aspects of estimating CR mortality, the need for a comprehensive approach that explicitly states all components of CR mortality, and the assumptions behind these methods. A general conceptual model for CR mortality that is applicable to containment and tagging‐based studies with a slight modification is presented. This article reviews the design and analysis of containment and tagging studies to estimate CR mortality over both the short and long term and then compares these two approaches. Additionally, the potential population‐level impacts of CR mortality are discussed. A recurring theme is the difficulty of designing studies to estimate CR mortality comprehensively and the need for additional research into both statistical model development and field study design.

catch-and-release sampling-techniques-and-protocols

Ostrand, K. G., M. J. Siepker and S. J. Cooke. 2006. Capture efficiencies of two hook types and associated injury and mortality of juvenile muskellunge angled with live baitfish. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 26:622-627.

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Catch and Release

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Strict harvest regulations and a strong catch‐and‐release ethic among recreational anglers of muskellunge Esox masquinongy have led to interest in developing strategies for reducing injury and mortality of released fish. With many anglers using live baitfish to capture muskellunge, the use of circle hooks may reduce deep hooking and hence mortality. We contrasted the performance of circle hooks and J‐style aberdeen hooks when capturing juvenile muskellunge with actively fished live baitfish. The J hooks performed better than circle hooks in terms of capture efficiency. The J hooks were more efficient at hooking muskellunge than were circle hooks, but landing efficiency was similar between the two types. Interestingly, injury was judged to be low regardless of hook type. Neither anatomical hooking location nor hooking depth differed significantly between fish captured on J and circle hooks. No fish were hooked in potentially lethal locations (e.g., gullet or eye) during the use of either hook type. Ease of hook removal did not differ between hook types, and hooks were generally categorized as easy to remove. Bleeding was considered minor and did not differ between hooks. We observed no initial or delayed mortality for fish captured on J or circle hooks. Given that J hooks have a higher muskellunge capture efficiency and that the use of circle hooks did not provide any compelling conservation benefits, anglers will probably continue to use J hooks and avoid circle hooks. Nonetheless, use of circle hooks could be advantageous for other fishing styles (e.g., still fishing, where baitfish are often swallowed), other species, or different sizes of muskellunge.

catch-and-release

(English) McCormick, J. L. 2016. Using tag return models to estimate the number of times fish are captured in fisheries with hightcatch-and-release rates. North American Journal of Fisheries management 36(3):584-589.

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Catch and Release

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Exploitation rates are often estimated using tag‐return studies. However, in fisheries with a catch‐and‐release component, exploitation rate or fishing mortality may not be the most important metric of interest. Instead, angler catch rates (e.g., fish caught per hour), total catch (including fish that are harvested or released), or the average number of times an individual fish is caught may be a better measure of fishery performance. However, if anglers remove tags from fish before release, then catch estimates will be negatively biased because tag removal will not be accounted for. In this study, maximum likelihood estimation methods were used to estimate catch in fisheries with high rates of catch and release. Right‐censored models were used to accommodate tags that may or may not be removed by anglers. Model‐derived maximum likelihood estimates of mean catch were relatively unbiased under two simulated fishery scenarios. There was a nonlinear, positive relationship between the percentage of tags that were removed from fish before release and the standard error of estimated mean catch. Although the models performed well at estimating catch in the simulations, more study is needed to evaluate how possible violation of model assumptions can affect catch estimates.

catch-and-release

Margenau, T. L. 2007. Effects of angling with a single hook and live bait on muskellunge survival. Environmental Biology of Fishes 79:155-162.

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Catch and Release

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Use of live bait for angling of muskellunge, Esox masquinongy, is popular in Wisconsin. A traditional method utilizes a large hook through the bait fish’s snout, which requires the muskellunge to swallow the bait prior to hook set. Adult muskellunge (>76 cm; 30 in) were held in lined hatchery ponds and caught while fishing with live bait on 10/0 size single hooks. The leader was cut and the muskellunge was released when hooked in the stomach. Survival was monitored for up to 1 year. No immediate ( <24 h) mortality occurred. However, 22% of hooked muskellunge died within 50 days and 83% died within 1 year. Necropsies revealed extensive trauma to the stomach and other organs from hooks, along with systemic bacterial infections. Highest mortality on both hooked and control fish occurred over winter through spring. This peak mortality may be associated with natural stressors that occur during the spring spawning period. Mortality rates observed in this study are considered unacceptable for trophy management of muskellunge. Although use of live bait for muskellunge is traditional in Wisconsin, terminal tackle such as quick-strike rigs that hook fish in the mouth or buccal cavity should enhance the chances a released muskellunge will survive.

catch-and-release

(English) Landsman, S. J. 2014. My, my, how far we’ve come: An examination of the impacts of catch-and-release angling for muskies. p. 13 In J. D. Midwood, S. J. Kerr, P. Levick and S. J. Cooke [eds.]. Muskellunge Science and Management: Progress Through Partnerships. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Muskies Canada Inc. and Carleton University. Ottawa, Ontario. 37 p.

(English) N/A

Catch and Release

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Muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) angling has undergone enormous change since the mid 1900s when catch-and-kill regined supreme. When the angling organizations of Muskies Canada Inc. and Muskies Inc. were found in the later 1960s-early 1970s, a paradigm shift occurred and the implementation of catch-and-release practices became increasingly prevelant. Changes to angling equipment, landing devices, angler knowledge (e.g., the impacts of air exposure and water temperature) and attitudes led to the development of today’s handling methods. In 2009, a research project began to test the impact of current prac5ticies and compared them against a gentler alternative procedure. Over two years, 77 muskellunge, up to 132 cm, were angled and blood sampled to examine the physiological changes associated with the two angling treatments. A subsample of 30 fish were radio-tagged to determine the short term behavioural impacts of the catch-and-release process and to determine survival rates. Little physiological change or short term behavioural impacts were noted between ntreatments. All radio-tagged fish survived. The results indicate that today’s handling practices greatly reduced the impacts associated with catch-and-release angling on muskellunge. Furthermore, our research illustrates how angling groups can effectively co-manage resources by ensuring as many fish stay within a population as possible and to ultimately improve the fisheries they use.

catch-and-release

(English) Gasbarino, P. L. 1986. Catch-and-release of muskellunge: Philosophy and methods. p. 300-308 In G. E. Hall [ed.]. Managing Muskies. American Fisheries Society. Bethesda, Maryland. 372 p.

(English) N/A

Catch and Release

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Organized fishing clubs, such as Muskies Canada and Muskies Inc., feel very strongly that the future of the muskellunge is in doubt. Serious muskellunge anglers feel an obligation to help protect and study this valuable predators, so they are concerned with environmental changes that affects its biology and habits. The dedicated muskellunge angler is also concerned that trophy fish remain available. Since it is the largest freshwater predator, it is hoped there wiol be a new world record. Current conditions indicated that, if trophies of more than 35 pounds are to be expected, most of the smaller fish must be released. Voluntary live release is the most direct and unselfish act an angler can practice to aid this species.

Muskellunge fishing clubs practice and promote live release extensively. Annual records of release and related statistics are share with resource management authorities who in turn share their biological expertise with anglers. Anglers are being taught the sensitivity of the muskellunge and the need to handle it correctly. The fishing public is being made aware of the release concept and proper methods of live release through the media, sports shows and direct demonstration. Achievements by fishermen in this program are publicly acknowledged.

At the present time, anglers have shown a willingness to practice “catch-and-release” and to use one of more of the general release methods which are best described by the handling technique or equipment employed in each. The ten categories are: net, stretchers, hand, lip lock, pistol grip, vice grips, tailing, stunning and two gaff methods. Each technique requires special care, consideration and practice. To ensure future survival of the muskellunge it is the hope of Muskies Canada that fishery agencies in Canada and the U.S. undertake studies to document the best release-handling methods.

catch-and-release

(English) Gale, M. K., S. G. Hinch and M. R. Donaldson. 2013. The role of temperature in the capture-and-release of fish. Fish and Fisheries 14(1):1-33.

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Catch and Release

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We searched major electronic databases to identify peer‐reviewed literature investigating the role of temperature on the stress response and mortality of captured and released fish. We identified 83 studies that fit these criteria, the majority of which were conducted in North America (81%) on freshwater fish (76%) in the orders Perciformes (52%) and Salmoniformes (28%). We found that hook‐and‐line fisheries (65% of all studies) were more commonly studied than all net fisheries combined (24%). Despite the wide recognition for many species that high water temperatures exacerbate the effects of capture on released fish, this review is the first to quantitatively investigate this problem, finding that warming contributed to both mortality and indices of stress in 70% of articles that measured each of those endpoints. However, more than half (58%) of the articles failed to place the experimental temperatures into a biological context, therefore limiting their broad applicability to management. Integration of survival and sublethal effects to investigate mechanisms of fish mortality was relatively rare (28%). Collectively, the results suggest that capture–release mortality increases at temperatures within, rather than above, species‐specific thermal preferenda. We illustrate how knowledge of ecologically relevant high temperatures in the capture and release of fish can be incorporated into management, which will become increasingly important as climate change exerts additional pressure on fish and fisheries.

catch-and-release

(English) Gaeta, J. W., B. Beardmore, A. W. Latzka, B. Provencher and S. R. Carpenter. 2013. Catch-and-release rates of sport fishes in northern Wisconsin from an angler diary survey. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 33:606-614.

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Catch and Release

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Recreational freshwater fisheries are key components of local economies in many regions. The quality of these fisheries can be affected not only by harvest but also by catch‐and‐release practices. Documenting catch and release among sport fish taxa is, therefore, important to fisheries researchers studying sport fishes and managers regulating these fisheries. We used an angler diary survey to assess taxon‐specific effort, catch, harvest, release, and reason for release during the 2011 open‐water season. Our study included information on 5,007 fishing trips taken by 652 anglers. These anglers visited 279 lakes spanning 11,761.5 km2 of northern Wisconsin. Muskellunge Esox masquinongy , black bass (i.e., Smallmouth Bass Micropterus dolomieu and Largemouth Bass M. salmoides ), Northern Pike E. lucius , Walleye Sander vitreus , and panfish were released at rates of 99, 97, 86, 67, and 67%, respectively, when targeted by anglers. This study is the first to document black bass catch‐and‐release rates in the region and corroborates previous findings of Muskellunge and Walleye catch‐and‐release rates based on creel surveys. Voluntary catch and release was the most common reason for release. Our findings suggest that regulations may be much more generous than the harvest rates practiced by anglers and that catch‐and‐release angling practices may be an important factor affecting these sport fish populations.

catch-and-release

(English) Fayram, A. H. 2003. A comparison of regulatory and voluntary release of muskellunge and walleyes in northern Wisconsin. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 23(2):619-624.

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Catch and Release

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Voluntary release of fish can play an important role in the management of recreational fisheries. I investigated how the release rate, defined as the proportion of all fish caught that are released, may be affected by minimum length regulations and changes in angler behavior over time for walleye Stizostedion vitreum and muskellunge Esox masquinongy fisheries in northern Wisconsin. Release rates estimated from creel surveys were compared among years over a 10‐year period and between different minimum length regulations. The release rate for walleyes varied significantly between different minimum length regulations but did not vary among years. The muskellunge release rate increased significantly over time but did not vary between different minimum length regulations. The magnitude of the difference in release rate between the two substantially different length regulations in the walleye fishery (9.0%) was similar to the increase in the release rate over time in the muskellunge fishery (7.5%). The similarity in magnitude of effects of both regulatory actions and angler behavior on release rate demonstrates that the effects of voluntary release can play as large a role in the management of a fishery as regulations such as minimum length limits and suggests the importance of considering the effects of voluntary release in fisheries management decisions.

catch-and-release

(English) Clark, R. D. 1983. Potential effects of voluntary catch-and-release of fish on recreational fisheries. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 3:306-314.

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Catch and Release

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Anglers frequently release fish that are large enough to keep under prevailing fishing laws. However, fisheries managers usually estimate only fishing effort and number of fish harvested when assessing a fishery, and simply assume this voluntary release of fish is unimportant. In this study, I examined how the release of legal fish might affect a fishery. I modified the classical yield‐per‐recruit model so that the total mortality rate (Z) was partitioned into three components: natural (M), fishing (F), and hooking (H) mortality rates. I used another parameter (p), representing the probability a legal fish was released when captured, to modify the levels of fishing and hooking mortality. I applied the model to four fisheries with widely different characteristics of growth, mortality, and fishing: brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) in a small stream, largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) in a medium‐sized reservoir, brown trout (Salmo trutta) in a medium‐sized river, and northern pike (Esox lucius) in a typical lake. I varied the probability of releasing a legal fish (p), while keeping all the other model parameters constant. Results indicated that the release of legal‐size fish reduced the total mortality rates of the populations. As the release rates increased: (1) total catch and catch of trophy fish increased (i.e., fish harvested plus fish caught and released); (2) total harvest decreased; and (3) harvest of trophy fish remained relatively constant. I believe the effects of voluntary release can be assumed negligible if less than 10% of the legal fish caught are released, but release rates higher than 10% change the interpretation of conventional creel census estimates of catch and fishing mortality. The actual catch will be higher than indicated by a survey of fish in the creel, and the fishing mortality rates computed from these data will underestimate the true catch rate. Thus, the relationship between catch and effort in recreational fisheries will change as the views of the fishermen on releasing fish change. Managers of sport fisheries need to estimate the voluntary release rate, along with harvest and fishing effort, if they want to assess a fishery accurately.

catch-and-release

Beggs, G. L., G. F. Holeton and E. J. Crossman. 1981. Some physiological consequences of angling stress in muskellunge (Esox masquinongy). Journal of Fish Biology 17:649-659.

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Catch and Release

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Capture of muskellunge by angling resulted in a reduction of blood pH, elevated lactic acid concentrations, and a drop in total carbon dioxide and bicarbonate concentrations. The acidaemia was most severe immediately after capture and began to decline well before the blood lactate levels rose. Blood lactate levels were not as high as those characterizing fatigue in most other species. Recovery from the acidosis required 12 to 18 h and was accompanied by declines of 22% and 40% in haemoglobin and haematocrit levels respectively. With the exception of dying fish, there were only slight fluctuations in plasma sodium and potassium levels during recovery, indicating that there was no severe ionoregulatory dysfunction. Thirty per cent of all angled muskellunge died. The last stages immediately preceding death were characterized by declining blood pH and elevated potassium levels.

catch-and-release

(English) Bartholomew, A. and J. A. Bohnsack. 2005. A review of catch-and-release angling mortality with implications for no-take reserves. Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries 15:129-154.

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Catch and Release

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Management agencies have increasingly relied on size limits, daily bag or trip limits, quotas, and seasonal closures to manage fishing in recreational and commercial fisheries. Another trend is to establish aquatic protected areas, including no-take reserves (NTRs), to promote sustainable fisheries and protect aquatic ecosystems. Some anglers, assuming that no serious harm befalls the fish, advocate allowing catch-and-release (C&R) angling in aquatic protected areas. The ultimate success of these regulations and C&R angling depends on ensuring high release survival rates by minimizing injury and mortality. To evaluate the potential effectiveness of these practices, we review trends in C&R fishing and factors that influence release mortality. Analysis of Marine Recreational Fishery Statistic Survey (MRFSS) data for 1981–1999 showed no statistically significant U.S. trends for total number of anglers (mean 7.7 × 106), total catch in numbers (mean 362 × 106), or total annual catch/angler (mean 42.6 fish). However, mean total annual landings declined 28% (188.5 to 135.7 × 106), mean total catch/angler/trip declined 22.1% (0.95 to 0.74 fish), and mean landings/angler/trip declined 27% (0.42 to 0.31 fish). The total number of recreational releases or discards increased 97.1% (98.0 to 193.2 × 106) and as a proportion of total catch from 34.2% in 1981 to 58.0% in 1999. Evidence indicates that the increased releases and discards are primarily in response to mandatory regulations and to a lesser extent, voluntary releases. Total annual catch and mean annual catch/angler were maintained despite declines in catch per trip because anglers took 30.8% more fishing trips (43.5 to 56.9 × 106), perhaps to compensate for greater use of bag and size limits. We reviewed 53 release mortality studies, doubling the number of estimates since Muoneke and Childress (1994) reviewed catch and release fishing. A meta-analysis of combined data (n=274) showed a skewed distribution of release mortality (median 11%, mean 18%, range 0–95%). Mortality distributions were similar for salmonids, marine, and freshwater species. Mean mortality varied greatly by species and within species, anatomical hooking location was the most important mortality factor. Other significant mortality factors were: use of natural bait, removing hooks from deeply hooked fish, use of J-hooks (vs. circle hooks), deeper depth of capture, warm water temperatures, and extended playing and handling times. Barbed hooks had marginally higher mortality than barbless hooks. Based on numbers of estimates, no statistically significant overall effects were found for fish size, hook size, venting to deflate fish caught at depth, or use of treble vs. single hooks. Catch and release fishing is a growing and an increasingly important activity. The common occurrence of release mortality, however, requires careful evaluation for achieving fishery management goals and in some cases, disturbance, injury, or mortality may conflict with some goals of NTRs. Research is needed to develop better technology and techniques to reduce release mortality, to assess mortality from predation during capture and after release, to determine cumulative mortality from multiple hooking and release events, and to measure sub-lethal effects on behavior, physical condition, growth, and reproduction.

catch-and-release

(English) Barnhart, R. A. 1989. Symposium review: Catch-and-release fishing, a decade of experience. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 9:74-80.

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Catch and Release

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This paper provides a synopsis of the 1987 symposium “Catch‐and‐Release Fishing– A Decade of Experience,” gives a brief history of the catch‐and‐release concept, and presents related research needs. Twenty‐three presenters provided current information concerning catch and release of a variety of freshwater and marine sport fish. Catch‐and‐release fishing was first tried in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in 1954. Today, most states and provinces in North America have catch‐and‐release programs on some waters. Catch‐and‐release regulations must be selectively applied; productivity of the environment and longevity of the fish are important considerations and strict compliance with special regulations by anglers is necessary for success. Anglers will accept these regulations when professionals present sound biological evidence to demonstrate the need. An increased use of catch‐and‐release regulations was reported in nontrout fisheries, especially those for largemouth bass Micropterus salmoides . Traditionally, most saltwater sport fish have not been released but, because of increased pressures on declining stocks, catchand‐release fishing now is promoted by concerned saltwater angler organizations.

catch-and-release

(English) Askey, P. J., S. A. Richards, J. R. Post and E. A. Parkinson. 2006. Linking angling catch rates and fish learning under catch-and-release regulations. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 26:1020-1029.

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Catch and Release

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Many recreational fisheries are subject to varying degrees of catch‐and‐release fishing through regulations and conservation‐minded anglers. Clearly, releasing a proportion of the catch improves conservation of the fishery, yet it is not clear how the released catch contributes to angling quality. If fish change their behavior to lower their individual catchability after they have been caught, then angler catch rates may not be proportional to fish density. Therefore, even catch‐and‐release fisheries could exhibit poor angling quality if there is sufficiently high angler effort. We tested this idea by experimentally fishing five small lakes that contained rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss in the interior of British Columbia. We found that with sustained effort of 8 angler‐hours · d−1 · ha−1 and complete release of the catch, catch rates quickly dropped within 7–10 d. Given the individual capture histories of tagged fish, the most parsimonious catchability model incorporated learning and heterogeneity into intrinsic catchability. The best‐fit parameter values suggest that the population contained a group of highly catchable fish that were quickly caught and then learned to avoid hooks. There was a seasonal decrease in catchability that was independent of angling; however, it was not sufficient to explain the data. Our results indicate that catch rates may decline because of high angling effort even when the number of fish remains constant. Therefore, management goals that go beyond conservation issues and attempt to maximize angler satisfaction must account for effort density on a recreational fishery.

catch-and-release

(English) Arlinghaus, R., S. J. Cooke, J. Lyman, D. Policansky, A. Schwab, C. Suski, S. G. Sutton and B. Thorstad. 2007. Understanding the complexity of catch-and-release in recreational fishing: An integrative synthesis of global knowledge from historical, ethical, social and biological perspectives. Reviews in Fisheries Science 15:75-167.

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Catch and Release

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Most research on catch-and-release (C&R) in recreational fishing has been conducted from a disciplinary angle focusing on the biological sciences and the study of hooking mortality after release. This hampers understanding of the complex and multifaceted nature of C&R. In the present synopsis, we develop an integrative perspective on C&R by drawing on historical, philosophical, socio-psychological, biological, and managerial insights and perspectives. Such a perspective is helpful for a variety of reasons, such as 1) improving the science supporting successful fisheries management and conservation, 2) facilitating dialogue between managers, anglers, and other stakeholders, 3) minimizing conflict potentials, and 4) paving the path toward sustainable recreational fisheries management. The present work highlights the array of cultural, institutional, psychological, and biological factors and dimensions involved in C&R. Progress toward successful treatment of C&R might be enhanced by acknowledging the complexity inherent in C&R recreational fishing.

catch-and-release

(English) Parsons, J. W. 1959. Muskellunge in Tennessee streams. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 88:136-140.

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Case Histories

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Muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) are known to inhabit 169 miles of rocky and fast‐flowing streams on the Cumberland Plateau in East‐Central Tennessee. These waters are usually clear (turbidity less than 5 p.p.m.) and slightly acid. Muskellunge in Tennessee streams grow an average of 5.8 inches per year but few fish live beyond 6 years of age. Male fish mature when about 22 inches long and 3 years old; females mature when about 25 inches long and 3 or 4 years old. Muskellunge spawn in April when water temperatures are near 50° F. Young fish are found in only 15 percent of the total habitat distance. Management of the muskellunge streams in Tennessee appears to be necessary to maintain the presently small muskellunge fishery.

case-histories

(English) Miles, R. L. 1978. A life history study of the muskellunge in West Virginia. p. 140-145 In R. L. Kendall [ed.]. Selected Coolwater Fishes of North America. American Fisheries Society. Washington, D.C. 437 p.

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Case Histories

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The native ranged of the muskellunge in West Virginia is restricted to streams of the Ohio River drainage. Native muskellunge populations are currently present in 41 streams which comprise 1,100 km and 2,935 hectares of muskellunge habitat. A life history study of the muskellunge in Middle Island Creek was conducted from 1966 to 1974. A 28.7 hectare study area had a minimum muskellunge population of 1.5 fish/hectare and 4.5 kg/hectare. An intensively sampled 6.2 hectare pool contained a minimum muskellunge population of 4.4 fish/hectare and 9.1 kg/hectare. Adult muskellunge in Middle Island Creek were heavily exploited by anglers and showed a great deal of upstream and downstream movement. Males matured at age III or IV and at lengths of 61-64 cm. Females matured at age IV or V at lengths of 66-71 cm. Spawning occurred during April when daily water temperatures averaged 10°C or higher for 4-8 days. Spawning sites were located at the lower or upper ends of pools in slack water near riffles. The time period between egg fertilization and fry swim-up ranged from 17 to 30 days.

case-histories

(English) Liskauskas, A. 1996. Muskellunge in Georgian Bay and the North Channel. p. 123-135 In S. J. Kerr and C. H. Olver [eds.]. Managing Muskies in the 90s Workshop Proceedings. Southern Region Science and Technology Transfer Unit. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. Kemptville, Ontario. 170 p.

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Case Histories

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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.

case-histories

(English) Harrison, E. J. and W. F. Hadley. 1979. Biology of muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) in the upper Niagara River. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 108:444-451.

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Case Histories

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Several life‐history features of Niagara River muskellunge were determined and compared to similar data for other populations. Sexual maturity occurred during the fourth and fifth year for most Niagara River males and females, respectively. In terms of ages at sexual maturity and length‐weight relationship, Niagara River muskellunge were similar to lake populations. In early life, fish of the Niagara River, and those of West Virginia and Kentucky streams, grew more rapidly than fish from lake populations. However, growth of river and stream fish slowed more quickly with age than that of lake fish. These differences in growth pattern between lentic and lotic populations may have resulted from differences in prey sizes and availability

case-histories

(English) Hanson, D. A. 1986. Population characteristics and angler use of muskellunge in nine northern Wisconsin lakes. p 238-248 In G. E. Hall [ed.]. Managing Muskies. American Fisheries Society Special Publication 15. Bethesda, Maryland. 372 p.

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Case Histories, Voluntary Angler Diaries

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Prior to 1979, insufficient date existed on muskellunge populations and angler use to guide Wisconsin’s muskellunge management plan. Consequently, a study was conducted from 1979 to o1983 to determine population characteristics and angler use of eight northern Wisconsin muskellunge lakes. Each lake was sampled with fyke nets for two consecutive springs and a randon, stratified roving creel census was conducted along with voluntary registration of angler-caught muskellunge for one open water angling season.

Mean length-at-age of male muskellunge was shorter than for females. Males generally reached sexual maturity one or two years earlier than females and were shorter lived. Because of the slower growth and higher mortality few males reached trophy size and nearly all muskellunge larger than 40 inches were females. Growth of both sexes was related to the density of catostomids. Growth of males was inversely related to muskellunge density. Density of legal-sized (> 30 inches) averaged 0.11 fish/acre and ranged from 0.09 to 0.61 fish/acre; highest densities were found in dark, turbid waters.

Total angling pressure averaged 42.8 hours/acre. In five of the eight lakes muskellunge were the most sought after species. Overall, 42.2% of all angler trips were specifically for muskellunge. Muskellunge anglers fished an average of 16.8 hours/acre; exploitation rates averaged 27.5% and ranged from 13.8% to 42.0%. Quality of size structure of legal-sized populations was inversely related to angler exploitation rates. The 30 inch size limit regulation during t his study failed to protect female muskellunge until their first spawning. In some lakes, high exploitation rates appeared to be limiting trophy muskellunge angling potential.

case-histories voluntary-angler-diaries

(English) Hallacher, J. M., B. Fink and S. J. Reeser. 2017. A general assessment of a southern riverine muskellunge population. p. 611 In K. L. Kapuscinski, T. D. Simonson, D. P. Crane, S. J. Kerr, J. S. Diana and J. M. Farrell [eds.]. Muskellunge Management: Fifty Years of Cooperation among Anglers, Scientists and Fisheries Biologists. American Fisheries Symposium 85. Bethesda, Maryland. 675 p.

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Case Histories

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Biologists began stocking muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) in the Shenandoah River system in the mid 1960s. Very little sampling specifically targeting muskellunge population parameters had been completed. The Shenandoah River Muskellunge Research Project began in 2009 to determine contribution of stocked muskellunge, percentage of natural reproduction, individual growth, movement and general population data. Coded with tages (CWT) were used to mark fingerling and advanced fingerling muskellunge stocked into the south fork and main stem Shenandoah River. Sampling took place during February and March each year using three electrofishing boats in tandem. Muskellunge age 3 and older were considered fully recruited to the sampling gear. All muuskell8unge collected during spring sampling (2009-2015) were double marked with a passive integrated transponder (PIT) tag and visual implant alpha tag. In 2014 and 2015, pelvic fin rays were collected on all fish hfor age verification. Electrofishing catch rates ranged from 1.0 to 2.2 muskellunge/hour. During this project, 61 coded wire tagged fish were collected. Reader accuracy of know-age muskellunge using pelvic fisn rays was 100% through age-4 and 88% through age-5. Thirty-four percent of muskellunge younger than age 7 from the 2014 sample were stocked muskellunge with hCWT, indicating that both stocked and wild fish contributed to the population. Of the 55 PIT tagged muskellunge that sere recaptured, 9.1% showed significant movement. These findings will direct future muskellunge management in the Shenandoah River watershed.

case-histories

(English) Haas, R. C. 1978. The muskellunge in Lake St. Clair. p. 334-339 In R. L. Kendall [ed.]. Selected Coolwater Fishes of North America. American Fisheries Society. Washington, D. C. 437 p.

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Case Histories

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The population of muskellunge in Lake St. Clair has been exploited by intensive sport fishing for many years. Growth date from trap-netted muskellunge showed that females did no reach maturity until about 914 mm total length which is equal to Michigan’s size limit. Mean total lengths of females were greater than males after age V. Growth rates of Lake St. Clair muskellunge are very similar to those in the St. Lawrence River and the averages size in the Lake St. Clair sports catch has apparently not changed in 40 years. A mail survey of ardent muskellunge fishermen in 1972 showed that 74 anglers caught 1,273 fish in 1,017 days of fishing. An analysis of the Michigan-Ontario Muskies Club catch and of tag returns from the general sport fishery showed substantial north to south movements during June of about 40 km. Tag recoveries also indicated that there are separate stocks of muskellunge inhabiting the east and west areas of the lake.

case-histories

(English) Bean, T. H. 1908. The muskalonge of the Ohio basin. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 37:145-151.

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Case Histories

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case-histories

(English) Kerr, S. J. and T. A. Lasenby. 2001. Esocid stocking: An annotated bibliography and literature review. Fish and Wildlife Branch. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. Peterborough, Ontario. 138 p. + appendices.

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Bibliographies and Additional Reading, Stocking and Transfers

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This bibliography and literature review is the seventh in a set of reference documents developed in conjunction with a review of fish stocking policies and guidelines in the Province of Ontario. It has been prepared to summarize information pertaining to the current state of knowledge regarding esocids (northern pike and muskellunge) in a form which can readily be utilized by field staff and stocking proponents. Material cited in this bibliography includes papers published in scientific journals, magazines and periodicals as well as “gray” literature such as file reports from Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) field offices. Unpublished literature was obtained by soliciting information (i.e., unpublished data and file reports) from field biologists from across Ontario. Most published information was obtained from a literature search at the MNR corporate library in Peterborough. Twenty-one major fisheries journals were reviewed as part of this exercise. These included Aquaculture (1972-1998), California Fish and Game (1917-2000), Copeia (1913- 2000), Environmental Biology of Fishes (1976-2000), Fishery Bulletin (1963-2000), Fisheries Management (1975-1984), Journal of Freshwater Ecology (1981-2000), New York Fish and Game Journal (1954-1985), North American Journal of Fisheries Management (1981-2000), Journal of the Fisheries Research Board of Canada/Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences (1950-2000), Progressive Fish Culturist (1940-2000), and Transactions of the American Fisheries Society (1929-2000). Searches were also made of other publications including Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, Transactions of the North American Fish and Wildlife Conference, Transactions of the Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference, United States Department of the Interior Fisheries Technical Papers, FAO Fisheries Technical Papers and Circulars, and reports published under the Canadian Technical Report Series of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. Some material was obtained by a search on the Fish and Fisheries Worldwide database (1971-2000) via the Internet. Information from over 370 sources has been assembled. Abstracts from published papers have been included wherever possible. In cases where abstracts were not available, an attempt has been made to extract pertinent material from the document to provide a synopsis of the findings. In some cases, we were unable to obtain a copy of the document but have simply included the citation. Some unpublished data has been included but has not been cited.

bibliographies-and-additional-reading stocking-and-transfers

(English) Kerr, S. J. 2020. A muskellunge (Esox masquinongy). Report prepared for Muskies Canada Inc. Peterborough, Ontario. 182 p.

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Bibliographies and Additional Reading

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This bibliography has been prepared to consolidate and update references pertaining to muskellunge (Esox masquinongy). It builds of previous work completed by Buss (1960), Haase (1976), Porter (1977), Crossman and Goodchild (1978), Hess and Heartwell(1978), Zorn (1982) and Zack (1987). Cited articles originate from a variety of different sources including books, scientific journals, government publications, conference/workshop proceedings, post-graduate thesis and dissertations, and outdoor magazines.

An effort has been made to categorize the topic of individual references although, in a few instances, the same reference may be cited under more than one category. Care was taken to ensure that only citations about muskellunge or pertaining directly to muskellunge management were included in this undertaking. In total, almost 2,600 publications, pertaining to the biology, ecology and management of muskellunge, are cited.

bibliographies-and-additional-reading

(English) Crossman, E. J. and C. D. Goodchild. 1978. An annotated bibliography of the muskellunge (Esox masquinongy). Miscellaneous Life Sciences Publication. Royal Ontario Museum. Toronto, Ontario. 131 p.

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Bibliographies and Additional Reading

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bibliographies-and-additional-reading

(English) Weithman, A. S. and R. O. Anderson. 1977. Survival, growth and prey of Esocidae in experimental systems. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 106:424-430.

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Age and Growth, Culture, Diets and Feeding Habits

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Survival (July to November) of young‐of‐the‐year esocids stocked in 0.2‐hectare experimental ponds in Missouri was: muskellunge (Esox masquinongy), 24%; northern pike (Esox lucius), 58%; and the F1 hybrid of these two species (commonly called the “tiger muskie”), 74%. Survival of yearlings from April to September was: muskellunge, 80%; northern pike, 90%; and hybrids, 85%. Growth rate of yearlings of all three forms was rapid in late spring, declined to a seasonal low in July, and then increased until the ponds were drained in September. Average weight gain of the hybrids (719 g) during their second year of life in ponds was significantly greater than that of northern pike (617 g) or muskellunge (615 g). Maintenance diets (grams of food per gram of fish) calculated for fish in tanks (1.2 × 4.8 × 1.1 m) for 28‐day periods were as follows: northern pike, 0.23; muskellunge, 0.51; and hybrids, 0.62. Food conversion efficiencies in tanks were: northern pike, 29.0%; muskellunge, 25.0%; and hybrids, 22.0%. Non‐game species were more vulnerable than game fishes to esocid predation in tanks. An esocid can be stocked in addition to or as an alternative to largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides), walleye (Stizostedion v. vitreum), or striped bass (Morone saxatilis) because of a faster rate of growth. The hybrids may be the most desirable form of the three esocids because of rapid growth rate, intermediate angling vulnerability, and ease of rearing in a hatchery compared to either parent species.

age-and-growth culture diets-and-feeding-habits

(English) Wahl, J. R. and R. L. Applegate. 1981. Growth of muskellunge in a power plant cooling reservoir. The Progressive Fish Culturist 43:15-16.

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Age and Growth

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age-and-growth

(English) Vanderbloemen, S. N., J. A. Gorne, G. G. Sass and S. L. Shaw. 2020. Influence of cisco (Coregonus artedi) on muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) mean length, population size structure and maximum size in northern Wisconsin lakes. Journal of Applied Ichthyology 36:159-167.

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Age and Growth, Diets and Feeding Habits

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Population size structure and maximum size of managed sportfish populations are dictated by abiotic, biotic, ecosystem, and anthropogenic influences. In their native ranges of northern Wisconsin, muskellunge (Esox masquinongy ) and cisco (Coregonus artedi ) are co‐adapted cool‐ and cold‐water species where cisco presence may influence population size structure and maximum size of muskellunge. We tested whether muskellunge size structure indices (length‐frequency distributions, proportional size distribution), mean length, and mean maximum length of muskellunge differed when cisco were present or absent in Ceded Territory of Wisconsin (CTWI) lakes during 2015–2018. Cisco presence had a positive influence on size structure and mean length of individual muskellunge within populations. In contrast, cisco presence had no influence on the mean maximum length of muskellunge observed in CTWI populations suggesting that other factors may be better predictors of this metric than cisco presence. In cisco lakes, mean muskellunge length was negatively correlated with mean cisco length suggesting that gape limitation may be a factor influencing population size structure and individual growth rates. Therefore, cisco populations with primarily large individuals may be unavailable to muskellunge as forage. Our results suggest that cisco are an important forage species for some aspects of muskellunge population ecology; however, other factors may also contribute to muskellunge population size structure and maximum size outcomes. As such, conservation of remaining cisco populations in Wisconsin is critical because they influence muskellunge population ecology in lakes where the species coexist. Future research is needed to better understand the interactions of cisco, abiotic and biotic factors, and anthropogenic influences on muskellunge growth dynamics.

age-and-growth diets-and-feeding-habits

(English) Siomard, A. and E. Magnin. 1968. Age et croissance du masquinonge (Esox masquinongy) dans quatre lacs du Québec. Journal of the Fisheries Research Board of Canada 25:1831-1842.

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Age and Growth

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Specimens were taken from two lakes where maskinonge is indigenous: Lake Saint-François (188 specimens) and Lake Saint-Louis (109 specimens), and from two others where it was introduced: Lake Saint-Joseph (44 specimens) and Lake Ouareau (12 specimens). The ages were determined from scales reading. Growth in length and in weight was identical for males and females from lakes Saint-François and Saint-Louis and there was no difference in growth observed in these same two lakes. Growth, however, was very different in lakes Saint-Joseph and Ouareau: during their 11th summer for instance, maskinonges from lakes Saint-François and Saint-Louis measured 1112 g. Our results are compared with those in the literature. mm and weighed 5669 g and those from Lake Ouareau measured 914 mm and weighed 8854 g whereas those from Lake Saint-Joseph measured 1024 mm, and weighed 10,511.

age-and-growth

Shaw, S. L., G. G. Sass and L. D. Eslinger. 2019. Effects of angler harvest on adult muskellunge growth in Escanaba Lake, Wisconsin, 1956-2016. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 39:124-134.

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Age and Growth

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The behavior of anglers targeting Muskellunge Esox masquinongy in Wisconsin has changed over time from being harvest oriented to catch‐and‐release oriented. Our objectives were to use the long‐term tagging data set (1956–2016) available on the Muskellunge population of Escanaba Lake, Wisconsin, to characterize sex‐specific age structure, length at age, and survival in relation to a potential change in angler harvest. We hypothesized that (1) angler harvest has changed over time, (2) age structure and length at age have changed in relation to the change in angler harvest, and (3) annual survival has changed over time in relation to changes in angler harvest. A breakpoint analysis revealed distinct changes in angler total harvest over time, occurring in 1995 and 2011. Muskellunge harvest (1956–1994) was significantly higher (29.7 ± 15.9 fish/year [mean ± SD ]) than that observed during 1995–2010 (6.5 ± 2.9 fish/year) and 2011–2016 (0.83 ± 1.1 fish/year). Sex‐specific growth did not differ between fishery type (i.e., high and low harvest). However, there was evidence that the asymptotic length of female Muskellunge was higher during the high harvest fishery. The top model in program MARK suggested that survival (S ) differed by fishery type; i.e., S high ± SD = 0.72 ± 0.01 and S low ± SD = 0.99 ± 0.006. Exploitation was the primary component of annual mortality. Natural and discard mortality could not be differentiated. Natural and discard mortality was 9.2 ± 11%/year during the high harvest fishery and 4.9 ± 5.9%/year during the low harvest fishery. Reductions in Muskellunge exploitation led to increased survival and no apparent change in length at age. These results from Escanaba Lake suggest that the lack of harvest leading to an unexploited Muskellunge fishery may result in population stability, improved age structure distribution, and adult survival, but could potentially hinder management actions meant to further increase population density or growth potential to trophy size.

age-and-growth

(English) Robinson, C. J. and J. M. Casselman. 2006. Historical trends in body growth of five Ontario muskellunge populations. Environmental Biology of Fishes 79(1-2):xxiii (Abstract Only)

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Age and Growth

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Muskellunge management (Esox masquinongy) in Ontario has primarily focused on harvest control through minimum size limits, requiring information on the growth potential, responses and variability of populations. We examined historical muskellunge body growth trends as recorded in the cleithrum bone from five muskellunge populations, including two populations with extended data sets (overall n=456). Two measures were digitally collected – an index of annual growth and cleithrum size at age eight – and linearly regressed against log-transformedmean daily summer temperatures. There were no significant correlations between temperature and annual growth (p = 0.120 to 0.762)

age-and-growth

(English) Neumann, R. M. and D. W. Willis. 1994. Relative weight as a condition index for muskellunge. Journal of Freshwater Ecology 9:13-18.

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Age and Growth, Physiology

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Weight-length data were obtained for 45 muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) populations (N=4,343) from 16 states to develop a standard weight (Ws) equation that would allow calculation of relative weight (Wr) values. We developed a 75-percentile equation using the regression-line-percentile method. The proposed equation, based on all fish combined, is log10 Ws(g) = −6.066 + 3.325 log10TL(mm). The English equivalent for this equation is log10Ws(lb) = −4.052 + 3.325 log10TL(in). This equation is useful for 38 cm and longer muskellunge, and there was no evidence of consistent trends in increasing or decreasing Wr with increasing fish length. Because muskellunge can be sexed based on external characteristics, we also developed separate Ws equations for male and female muskellunge. However, Wr values calculated with the combined equation were quite similar (Wr values within 1–2) to those for values calculated from the female-only Ws equation. Values calculated with the male-only Ws equation were slightly more variable.

age-and-growth physiology

(English) Muir, R. L. 1960. Comparison of growth rates for native and hatchery-stocked populations of Esox masquinongy in Nogies Creek, Ontario. Journal of the Fisheries Research Board of Canada 17:919-927.

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Age and Growth

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Recent techniques have contributed to a more accurate determination of age by the scale method and a new growth curve for the maskinonge in Nogies Creek has been constructed. Hatchery fish, planted as fingerlings, show similar growth for 4 summers after which their growth rate rapidly falls away from that for the native fish. The hatchery fish require 3 years more than the native fish to reach legal length. A reduction in the annual growth increment for tagged fish ranges from 25% (age IV) to 80% (age VI) of that attained by untagged fish. No significant divergence in the length–weight relationship was observed in the slower growing hatchery fish.

age-and-growth

(English) Harrison, E. J. and W. F. Hadley. 1979. Comparison of the use of cleithra to the use of scales for age and growth studies. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 108:452-456.

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Age and Growth

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Cleithra and scales were obtained from each of 110 muskellunge captured by anglers in the Niagara River. The results obtained from cleithral age‐and‐growth analysis were compared to those from a similar scale analysis. Ages agreed on 87% of the sample. When ages disagreed, it was most often judged that the cleithral age was correct. Fish older than IX+ years could not be aged from scales, but cleithra were useful for fish as old as XVI+ years. Lengths back‐calculated from the two techniques were statistically (95% level) equivalent at all ages except age I.

age-and-growth

(English) Fitzgerald, T. J., T. L. Margenau and F. A. Copes. 1997. Muskellunge scale interpretation: The questions of aging accuracy. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 17:206-209.

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Age and Growth

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Age and growth data extracted from scales are often used when managing fish populations. However, accurate interpretation of scale annuli in certain species, such as muskellunge Esox masquinongy , has been suspect. The accuracy of age determination was tested with three experienced esocid scale readers who interpreted positive photo images made from acetate slide impressions projected on a microfiche reader. Images were made from scales of 25 known‐age muskellunge (3–10 years old) from five Wisconsin lakes. Each scale image was interpreted twice; once with fish length, sex, and date of capture given and once without any information. Of 149 scale interpretations, 32% were assessed with the correct age, 54% underaged, and 14% overaged. The average interpretation deviated from the known age by 1.0 years. Accuracy did not improve when additional fish information was available. General confidence in the interpreter’s age assessments was low and possibly related to quality of the photo images. Interpreters were accustomed to using acetate images with several impressions rather than a single photo image. As a follow‐up, we selected 12 acetate slides used to make the photo images and allowed each interpreter to determine age from the slides. The percentage correctly aged with the subsample improved from 24% to 47% with the acetate slide impressions. Increasing the magnification of acetate slides from 23× to 35× magnification did not affect accuracy. Image quality and multiple impressions can improve accuracy of age determination; however, accuracy was still less than 50%. The low accuracy when interpreting scale annuli of muskellunge 3–10 years of age suggests that managers need to use caution when evaluating data taken from muskellunge scales.

age-and-growth

(English) Muskellunge growth potential in northern Wisconsin: Implications for trophy management. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 35:765-774.

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Age and Growth

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The growth potential of muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) was evaluated by back‐calculating growth histories from cleithra removed from 305 fish collected during 1995–2011 to determine whether it was consistent with trophy management goals in northern Wisconsin. Female muskellunge had a larger mean asymptotic length (49.8 in) than did males (43.4 in). Minimum ultimate size of female muskellunge (45.0 in) equaled the 45.0‐in minimum length limit, but was less than the 50.0‐in minimum length limit used on Wisconsin’s trophy waters, while the minimum ultimate size of male muskellunge (34.0 in) was less than the statewide minimum length limit. Minimum reproductive sizes for both sexes were less than Wisconsin’s trophy minimum length limits. Mean growth potential of female muskellunge in northern Wisconsin appears to be sufficient for meeting trophy management objectives and angler expectations. Muskellunge in northern Wisconsin had similar growth potential to those in Ontario populations, but lower growth potential than Minnesota’s populations, perhaps because of genetic and environmental differences.

age-and-growth

(English) Crane, D. P., M. R. Cornett, C. J. Bauerlien, M. L. Hawkins, D. A. Isermann, J. L. Hansbarger, K. L. Kapuscinski, J. R. Meerbeek, T. D. Simonson and J. M. Kampa. 2020. Validity of age estimates from muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) fin rays and associated effects on estimates of growth. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 77(1):69-80.

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Age and Growth

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Accurate age estimates are critical for understanding life histories of fishes and developing management strategies for fish populations. However, validation of age estimates requires known-age fish, which are often lacking. We used known-age (ages 1–25) muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) to determine the precision and accuracy of age estimates from fin rays. We also determined whether fin location (anal or pelvic), fin ray number, and preparation methods affected accuracy and precision. Lastly, we determined whether von Bertalanffy growth parameters estimated from fin ray ages were similar to parameters estimated from known ages. Precision and accuracy of age estimates from anal and pelvic rays were similar and estimates were relatively precise (coefficient of variation = 8.5%) and accurate (mean absolute difference from known age = 0.85 years) for ages 4–15, but ages were overestimated for younger fish and underestimated for older fish. Growth models based on estimated age were similar to models based on known age. Anal and pelvic rays offer a nonlethal alternative for age estimation of muskellunge ages 4–15 and for producing reliable estimates of growth.

age-and-growth

(English) Clapp, D. F. and D. H. Wahl. 1996. Comparison of food consumption, growth and metabolism among muskellunge: An investigation of population differentiation. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 125:402-410.

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Age and Growth, Diets and Feeding Habits

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We conducted laboratory evaluations of food consumption, growth, and metabolic rate as functions of water temperature (5–27.5°C) to examine how the young of year in six populations of muskellunge Esox masquinongy (Kentucky, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, St. Lawrence River, and Wisconsin) from three drainages might perform under various thermal regimes. Relative food consumption (g·g−1·d−1) and growth (g·g−1·d−1) were similar among populations at lower temperatures (5 and 10°C, but at higher temperatures (15–27.5°C) fish from Wisconsin and Ohio had higher consumption and faster growth rates than fish from Kentucky and the St. Lawrence River. Metabolic rates increased with temperature from 0.08 mg O2·g−1·h−1 at 5°C to 0.25 mg O2·g−1·h−1 at 25°C, but few differences in metabolic rates were observed among populations at any temperature. Although we found bioenergetic differences among muskellunge from these populations, they could not be explained solely in terms of thermal adaptation or previously defined genetic groupings. Energetic differences among age‐0 muskellunge have important implications for conserving existing esocid populations and managing introduced populations.

age-and-growth diets-and-feeding-habits

(English) Chipps, S. R., L. M. Einfalt and D. H. Wahl. 2000. Growth and food consumption by tiger muskellunge: Effects of temperature and ration level on bioenergetic model predictions. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 129:186-193.

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Age and Growth, Culture

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We measured growth of age‐0 tiger muskellunge as a function of ration size (25, 50, 75, and 100% Cmax) and water temperature (7.5–25°C) and compared experimental results with those predicted from a bioenergetic model. Discrepancies between actual and predicted values varied appreciably with water temperature and growth rate. On average, model output overestimated winter consumption rates at 10 and 7.5°C by 113 to 328%, respectively, whereas model predictions in summer and autumn (20–25°C) were in better agreement with actual values (4 to 58%). We postulate that variation in model performance was related to seasonal changes in esocid metabolic rate, which were not accounted for in the bioenergetic model. Moreover, accuracy of model output varied with feeding and growth rate of tiger muskellunge. The model performed poorly for fish fed low rations compared with estimates based on fish fed ad libitum rations and was attributed, in part, to the influence of growth rate on the accuracy of bioenergetic predictions. Based on modeling simulations, we found that errors associated with bioenergetic parameters had more influence on model output when growth rate was low, which is consistent with our observations. In addition, reduced conversion efficiency at high ration levels may contribute to variable model performance, thereby implying that waste losses should be modeled as a function of ration size for esocids. Our findings support earlier field tests of the esocid bioenergetic model and indicate that food consumption is generally overestimated by the model, particularly in winter months and for fish exhibiting low feeding and growth rates.

age-and-growth culture

(English) Casselman, J. M., C. J. Robinson and E. J. Crossman. 1999. Growth and ultimate length of muskellunge from Ontario waterbodies. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 19:271-290.

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Age and Growth

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Growth of muskellunge Esox masquinongy from 12 Ontario sources was investigated by examining 582 samples from the Cleithrum Project archive and other specific studies; 88% of the samples were from angler‐caught “trophy” fish. We detail sampling problems and develop methods for resolving them. Muskellunge from some sources were unsexed; sex was discriminated (probability of correct classification, 98.3%) from the von Bertalanffy growth parameters ultimate length (L∞) and growth coefficient, K. When one sex was inadequately sampled, the von Bertalanffy growth parameters of one sex were used to estimate those of the other. When samples were small and inadequate (<11), we used concordance sum of squares to match growth and give an interim estimate from the adequately sampled source with the best growth match. In Ontario populations, mean ultimate total lengths range widely: from 81.4 to 140.0 cm for females and from 70.7 to 115.9 cm for males. Females can be grouped into three types of growth, producing either large‐, medium‐, or small‐bodied fish (ranging from 140 to 127 cm, 126 to 114 cm, and 113 to 102 cm and smaller, respectively). We describe and categorize growth and growth potential to establish standards for detecting change in exploitation and for reviewing minimum size limits (currently underway) based on growth biology to help sustain and even increase the size of muskellunge populations while producing high‐quality trophy fisheries.

age-and-growth

(English) Crossman, E. J. and J. M. Casselman. 1996. The cleithrum project: An update to 1995. p. 147-152 In S. J. Kerr and C. H. Olver [eds.]. Managing Muskies in the 90s. Workshop Proceedings WP-007. Southern Region Science and Technology Transfer Unit. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. Kemptville, Ontario. 169 p.

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Age and Growth

Désolé, cet article est seulement disponible en Anglais Canadien.

The cleithrum project is an opportunity for individuals to make a significant contribution to the increase in our knowledge of the muskellunge. We need more and continued contributions, particularly cleithra from the largest, oldest individuals which have the greatest amount of life history information. The greatest problem is the obvious one – unlike scales, cleithra cannot be taken from fish that are to be returned alive to the water. The next step we contemplate is an attempt to increase participation from other regions. We would like to encourage contributions from Québec by translating the information package into French and distributing it in that province. There has been a concern in the past about expanding publicity when we had not dedicated technical assistance for fear of receiving a number of cleithral bones which would have to wait some time for analysis and reply.

age-and-growth

(English) Brenden, T. O., E. M. Hallerman and B. R. Murphy. 2006. Sectioned pelvic fin ray aging of muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) from a Virginia river: Comparisons among readers with cleithrum estimates and with tag-recapture data. Fisheries Management and Ecology 13:31-37.

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Age and Growth

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The potential utility of pelvic fin rays as ageing structures was evaluated for southern US muskellunge Esox masquinongy mm. This evaluation indicated that pelvic fin rays may prove to be a useful, non‐lethal method for ageing muskellunge in southern US waters. Validation studies are still needed to ensure that growth rings form consistently throughout fish’s life span. 14 ± 2 SE) estimated absolute error between observed and predicted length changes for 13 tagged muskellunge was 30 Mitchill populations by comparing age estimates among three readers and against cleithrum estimates, and by comparing observed length changes of tagged fish with changes predicted from growth equations based on pelvic fin ray age estimates. Mean coefficient of variation in age estimates among all readers and between the two readers with prior ageing experience was 17.8% and 5.6%, respectively. Exact and within 1‐year agreement rates between pelvic fin rays and cleithra were 76% and 100%, respectively. Mean (±

age-and-growth

(English) Beyerle, G. B. 1973. Comparative growth, survival and vulnerability to angling of northern pike, muskellunge and hybrid tiger muskellunge in a small lake. Fisheries Research Report No. 1799. Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Lansing, Michigan. 11 p.

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Age and Growth, Stocking and Transfers

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Northern pike, muskellunge, and tiger muskellunge fingerlings were stocked in equal numbers for 3 consecutive years in Daggett Lake (14 acres). After 3 years, mean lengths of age-II esocids were as follows: pike, 21.0 inches; tiger muskellunge, 22.9 inches; muskellunge, 28.0 inches. Survival of the three year classes of pike was unusually high (45 to 79%), tiger muskellunge survival was intermediate (9 to 28%), and muskellunge survival was extremely low (0 to 0.4%). It is suggested that the poor survival of muskellunge fingerlings was more likely the result of an inherited intolerance for some environmental factor, rather than the result of differential predation by larger esocids. The total standing crop of esocids in this study was 64.0 pounds per acre; it was 57.8 pounds per acre in a previous study when only pike were stocked in Daggett Lake. From this similarity, it is judged that, in the present study, high survival of pike compensated for low survival of muskellunge, to produce a standing crop of esocids that closely approached carrying capacity for Daggett Lake. In 131.5 man hours of fishing in Daggett Lake, anglers caught 25.1% of the stocked pike and 9.4% of the tiger muskellunge. If it is assumed that all esocids were equally available, it follows that the pike were 2.7 times more vulnerable to angling than were the tiger muskellunge.

age-and-growth stocking-and-transfers

(English) Andree, S. R., J. J. Parkos, M. J. Diana, C. P. Wagner and D. H. Wahl. 2018. Evidence for cogradient growth and survival between two geographically distinct stocks of muskellunge. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 38(4):922-929.

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Age and Growth

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Intraspecific genetic variation across the distribution of muskellunge Esox masquinongy suggests the existence of divergent stocks among major river drainages. Often, stocks differentiate in response to latitudinal variation in thermal regime. Genetic variation and thermal adaptation may drive fish to either maximize growth during brief growing seasons at higher latitudes (counter‐gradient growth) or experience longer periods of slower growth at lower latitudes (cogradient growth). The strength and direction of these genetic effects matter for fish stocked outside of their native drainage and for populations experiencing changes to regional thermal regimes. We used a replicated pond experiment with uniform initial fish size and environmental conditions to compare the survival and growth of stocked age‐0 Ohio River drainage (OH ) Muskellunge with those of the more northerly upper Mississippi River drainage (MISS ) stock following their first winter and a year after introduction into a common environment. Both stocks had similarly high winter survival, though the MISS stock had a slower growth rate overwinter than the OH stock. Survival during the latter spring‐to‐fall period was greatly reduced for the MISS stock, however, with the differences in growth rate persisting. These findings suggest that cogradient adaptation to temperatures experienced during early life stages in native environments results in a disadvantage for high‐latitude stocks of muskellunge in thermal regimes warmer than those they have historically experienced in their native drainages.

age-and-growth

(English) Younk, J. A. and M. F. Cook. 1992. Applications of an angler diary for muskellunge (Esox masquinongy). Investigational Report 420. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Saint Paul, Minnesota. 21 p.

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Voluntary Angler Diaries

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An angler diary program was designed and implemented using volunteer muskellunge anglers. Some of the design and operational problems and the corrective measures applied are described. Angler participation remained relatively low throughout the four year project. A total of 128 anglers participated in the project providing information on 4,912 trips totaling 56,508 angler hours. Participants averaged 14.4 trips per season with an average trip length of 5.6 hours. Catch rates were low averaging 0.027 fish/hour and 0.011 legal-sized fish/hour. A total of 1,745 muskellunge were caught averaging 33.9 inches in total length. Forty-seven percent of all reported muskellunge were 36 inches or longer. Most reported effort was reported at Leech and Cass lakes in northern Minnesota and Lobster Lake in west-central Minnesota. Expenditures were highest for trips to out-of-state waters and lowest for trips to Minnesota lakes.

voluntary-angler-diaries

(English) Ward, M. C., L. M. Miller, D. W. Schultz and C. A. Pederson. 2017. Muskellunge population assessment in two North-central Minnesota lakes aided by angler participation. Environmental Biology of Fishes 79:71-83.

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Voluntary Angler Diaries

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A population assessment of muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) in two connected north-central Minnesota lakes allowed evaluation of angler data when assessing various population metrics, including the residual effects of historical stocking efforts, as a nonlocal strain had been introduced into the native population during the 1970s. In 2012, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources sampled and marked muskellunge using trap nets during the prespawn and spawning periods and electrofishing during the postspawn period, while anglers collected data from fish caught during the 2012 open-water season. Anglers released all fish after collecting a scale for genetic analysis. Micro-satellite DNA genotypes were used to differentiate individuals, thus identifying recaptures, and to estimate ancestry derived from the stocked strain. Anglers reported catching 16% of individuals marked by biologists. Of Muskellunge reported by anglers, 78% were from the lake where they were initially captured while 22% were reported in the lake opposite their initial capture. Postspawn movements suggested that more individuals migrated from the lake characterized as having preferred spawning and nursery habitat to the lake characterized as having preferred summer habitat and prey. The age- and length-frequency distributions of fish captured by anglers and trap nets were similar, while electrofishing sampled younger and smaller fish, likely because it occurred postspawn when many adults had moved off shore. The best estimate of adult population size was produced by a model incorporating fish length as a covariate. Density was estimated at 0.70 adults per ha or 1.92 adults per littoral ha. Higher percentages of nonlocal ancestry were associated with smaller maximum size potential (L∞ ) in von Bertalanffy growth models. Our study described key population characteristics for a muskellunge population while demonstrating that anglers could reliably collect several specific types of data that supplement data collected by management agencies.

voluntary-angler-diaries

(English) Muskies Canada Inc 2019. Angler log program

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Voluntary Angler Diaries

Désolé, cet article est seulement disponible en Anglais Canadien.

Participation in the Log Program shows the commitment and responsibility of Muskies Canada members in managing, conserving and protecting our fishery. Catch per Unit Effort (CUE) can be used to monitor trends in local fisheries. As a general rule, information collected becomes more valuable over time. As with the last major VHS (viral hemorrhage Septicemia) die-off through Ontario, the data collected through the log program has been used to assess impacts of the virus on waters such as the St. Lawrence River, Niagara River and Lake St. Clair.

Participation rates in the program have varied from year to year; however, the trend continues to show an increase in log submissions . Log sheet submissions in 2012 totaled 2,202, representing over 20,000 angling hours and over 1,200 muskies. In fact, over the last 5 seasons, the program has averaged over 2000 logs per year, a total of nearly 100,000 hours and over 5,000 muskies. In total, Muskies Canada anglers have logged over 32,000 days on the water. This is the single largest source of Muskellunge Data available to the MNR. The on-line submission will allow data inputs to be accurate and of the highest standard of quality. We encourage all release directors to promote participation at the chapter level so that we can continue to provide the best possible data to our fisheries managers.

Further, many top muskie anglers make no secret of the importance of recording fishing logs for patterning fish in their target waterbodies, and in a variety of weather and seasons. The knowledge gained from not only keeping good records, but interpreting those records will undoubtedly make you a better angler.

For more information on the Log Program, please speak to you chapter’s Release Director at a future chapter meeting about how you can get involved in the protection and management of this valuable resource. For more information on the Log Program, please email our National Research Director for further information @ mci-research@hotmail.com

voluntary-angler-diaries

(English) Mosindy, T. E. and M. J. Duffy. 2007. The use of angler diary surveys to evaluate long-term changes in muskellunge populations on Lake of the Woods, Ontario. Environmental Biology of Fishes 79:61-69.

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Voluntary Angler Diaries

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Reported improvements in the muskellunge angling fishery on Lake of the Woods, Ontario over the last two decades have paralleled an increase in the practice of catch and release angling, and an increase in minimum size regulations for this species. The overall status of muskellunge populations in this large, complex lake has proven difficult to monitor using standard assessment methods. A volunteer muskellunge angler diary program, established in 1988, has provided a cost effective method of gathering a large amount of information with which to track this fishery and associated populations. Results from angling diaries indicated increased angling effort, catch and success rates for muskellunge on Lake of the Woods since the early 1990s. Although the month of July accounted for the majority of angling effort and catch, angling success rates and sizes of fish reported in diaries improved monthly into the late fall. Angling success rates were consistently higher in angling diaries than from creel surveys, but both survey types showed similar long-term trends in the fishery. Angler diary data, incorporating both the numbers of fish caught and/or seen by anglers, were used to calculate catch equality indices which proved to be sensitive to changes in population abundance. Increased minimum length regulations for muskellunge during 1987–2001 have been largely responsible for a decline in harvest rates from an estimated 36% in 1986 to 0% since 1999. Although higher size limits have yet to produce more quality-sized fish in angler catches, diary survey data, supported by recent improvements in catch rates from assessment gill nets, would indicate that muskellunge recruitment has increased. This article concludes with a brief review of how muskellunge angler diary data has been used in the past, including recommendations to minimize biases associated with this survey method.

voluntary-angler-diaries

(English) Kerr, S. J., D. Heinbuck and S. Powell. 2010. Ontario’s 2009 volunteer muskellunge angler diary program. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. Peterborough, Ontario. 8 p.

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Voluntary Angler Diaries

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One hundred and eighty-seven voluntter anglers reported 16,609 rod hours of angling effort on 51 Ontario waters in 2009. A total of 964 muskellunge were landed. Based on the reported angling effort, the catch rate expressed in terms of catch-per-unit-of-effort (CUE) was 0.58 fish/rod hour. All but two angled muskellunge were released alive. One muskellunge was harvested and the other died after handling. A total of 44 muskellunge exceeding 50 inches in length were reported. They were angled from Lake St. Clair (16), Ottawa River (13), St, Lawrence River (6), Lake NNipissing (3), French River (2), Rice Lake n(2) and the Thames River (s). The largexst muskellunge reported in 2009 measured 59.3 inches in length. The mean size of muskellunge angled from Ontario waters in2009 was 37.2 inches. Lamprey attacke was evidence in ten muskellunge angled from the Ottawa River. Six of the fish had lamprey attached when they were landed. Red sores, presumed to be lymphosarcoma, were recorded for five rfish (Pickerel, Rideau River, Scugog Lake, St. Lawrence River and Buckhhorn Lake). This represents an observed infection rate of 0.7%.

voluntary-angler-diaries

(English) Kerr, 2007. Characteristics of Ontario muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) fisheries based on volunteer angler diary information. Environmental Biology of Fishes 79:61-69.

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Recreational Fisheries, Voluntary Angler Diaries

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This paper consolidates and summarizes information on Ontario muskellunge, Esox masquinongy, sport fisheries derived from angler diary programs sponsored by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (OMNR) and Muskies Canada Incorporated (MCI) from 1979 to 2004. Interest in muskellunge as a sport fish has increased substantially over the past 10–15 years. Muskellunge catches were found to be highly correlated with angling effort. Catch rates, expressed in terms of catch-per-unit-of-effort (CUE), have improved over the past decade to the point where, in 2001, the provincial CUE was 0.119. The long term catch rate is 0.069. This improvement in angling quality is attributed to new minimum size limit regulations and increased catch-and-release angling practices. Over the period from 1979–2004, release rates by muskellunge anglers have averaged 94%. Based on a sample size of 9,499 fish, the mean size of angled muskellunge over the past 26 years was 37.0 inches (94 cm). Numerous fish exceeding 50 inches (127 cm) are angled from Ontario waters each year. The incidence of lymphosarcoma, a highly contagious, malignant blood cancer, has averaged only 2% since 1979. Based on an analysis of this information, Ontario’s muskellunge fisheries appear to be stable and sustainable. Volunteer angler diary programs provide an accurate and cost-effective means to monitor the status of muskellunge fisheries in Ontario

recreational-fisheries voluntary-angler-diaries

(English) Jansen, T., R. Arlinghaus, T. D. Als and C. Skov. 2013. Voluntary log books reveal long term changes in a lentic pike (Esox lucius) population Fisheries Management and Ecology 20:125-136.

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Voluntary Angler Diaries

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Sixty‐two years of voluntarily collected angling logbook data from a large natural D anish lake were used to study variation in pike, Esox lucius, CPUE (catch per unit effort), expressed as no. of captured pike per boat trip, as an index of stock size. Pike CPUE was positively related to pike release rate by anglers and negatively affected by certain commercial fishers. The stocking of young‐of‐the‐year pike and a fishery‐dependent index of perch, P erca fluviatilis, abundance (which may be pike prey or predator depending on size) did not correlate with pike CPUE . Analyses of the size distribution of pike, based on sizes of annual record trophy pike captured by anglers, confirmed the negative impact of commercial pike fishing and revealed a positive influence of air temperature. It is concluded that high‐quality angler logbooks that record effort and catch can be a cost‐effective tool to inform lake fisheries management by revealing long‐term population trends. Further, state space modelling, a statistical technique not yet seen in recreational fisheries science, is recommended as a tool to model proxies for population dynamics from angler logbook data.

voluntary-angler-diaries

(English) Duffy, M. and T. Mosindy. 2001. 1988–1999 Lake of the Woods musky angler diary surveys. Northwest Science and Technology Aquatics Update 2001–01. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. Kenora, Ontario. 6 p.

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Voluntary Angler Diaries

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Muskie diaries were distributed to resorts and guides on Lake of the Woods before the season opened in 1988, 1995, 1996 and 1999. Resort managers were encouraged to have their guests who were muskie anglers to complete a diary after each fishing trip. The percentage of diaries which have been completed and returned has increased indicating a greater acceptance of the program. Data were returned from 8 resorts in 1988, 16 resorts in 1995-96 and 20 resorts in 1999. The number of muskies recorded caught increased from 273 in 1988 to 442 in 1995-96 and 932 in 1999. Angler origin has remained relatively constant. Over 95% of participating anglers are non-residents from the United States with the remainder from Ontario. The number of guided trips has also increased from 17.2% in 1988 to 18.6% in 1995-96 and 22.2% iin 1999. Catch-per-unit-of-effort, expressed as the number of fish caught per angler hour, averaged 0.043 in 1999 compared to 0.038 in 1995-96. Both values are lower than the CUE of 0.057 from the 1988 diary survey. A comparison of length at capture throughout the diary program has indicated that an increasing percentage of smaller muskies are being caught. Muskies in the angler diary program averaged 1,013 mm long in 1988, 970 in 1995-96 and 969 in 1999. Although greater numbers of large fish have yet to be caught, it would appear that increased numbers of fish are being recruited into the fishery.

voluntary-angler-diaries

(English) Connelly, N. A. and T. L. Brown. 1995. Use of angler diaries to examine biases associated with 12-month recall on mail questionnaires. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 124:413-422

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Voluntary Angler Diaries

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A comparison of diary and mail methodologies for a cohort of anglers who fished Lake Ontario was used to examine biases associated with 12-month recall from mail questionnaires. Significant differences in estimates were found between estimates reported by respondents in diaries (1992) versus mail questionnaires (1991) for number of days fished and fish consumption, but not for fishing expenditures and catch. After the data were adjusted for a decline in fishing on Lake Ontario between 1991 and 1992, it was found that angler-days were overestimated by 44–45% on the 12-month recall mail questionnaire. This percentage can serve as an initial estimate of a correction factor for future studies. Lower average annual fish consumption rates were reported in the diary year compared with the mail questionnaire year. However, because of the lower percentage of meals of sport-caught fish during the diary year and the knowledge that sportfishing declined in 1992 for Lake Ontario anglers, it is not clear what portion of the decline can be attributed to different factors. A rough estimate of 10% can be obtained by assuming that consumption of fish that were not sport caught was the same in both years and that anglers accurately reported the overall percentage of that consumption in 1991. Less avid anglers had a very small positive discrepancy between their mail (1991) and their diary (1992) estimates of fishing participation, whereas anglers who fished more frequently had a much larger positive discrepancy. With these data, the best mathematical procedure for describing that relationship involved regressing the square root of days fished in 1991 against days fished in 1992.

voluntary-angler-diaries

(English) Stocek, R. F., P. J. Cronin and P. D. Seymour. 1999. The muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) distribution and biology of a recent addition to the ichthyofauna of New Brunswick. Canadian Field Natualist 13:230-234.

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Distribution and Range

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The muskellunge, Esox masquinongy, has invaded the Saint John River of New Brunswick in the last decade. Introduced as fingerlings into a small lake in the river system in the Province of Quebec, the fish moved downstream, increasing tlle species’ range and abundance. At least 60 fish have been collected in New Brunswick since 1988, most at hydroelectric dams in tl1e upper and middle stretches of the river. A limited summer and winter fishery for Muskellunge has developed in a lake in the nortllwestern part of the province. Lengths-at-age suggest that the river fish are growing rapidly. The oldest fish was VI+. Some fish of both sexes appear to mature at age III+. The presence of young-of-the-year fish and tl1e condition of the gonads indicate that spawning has occurred and that the muskie is capable of establishing self-sustaining local populations in the river.

distribution-and-range

(English) Mandrak, N. E. and E. J. Crossman. 1992. Postglacial dispersal of freshwater fishes into Ontario. Canadian Journal of Zoology 70:2247-2259.

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Distribution and Range

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The present-day distributions of 117 native freshwater fishes in Ontario have been shaped by processes active following the Wisconsinan glacial period, 80,000 years before present. During this glacial period, these species survived in unglaciated réfugia. To understand the processes that resulted in the recolonization of Ontario by fishes following the last glacial period, the refugial areas occupied by each species were determined using a refugial index, and glacial water bodies used as dispersal routes were identified. The refugial origins of the Ontario populations of 91 species were resolved. Seventy-two species resided in the Mississippian refugium, 13 species in the Atlantic Coastal refugium, 4 species in dual Atlantic Coastal – Mississippian refugia, 1 species in a Missourian refugium, and 1 species in Atlantic Coastal, Mississippian, and Missourian refugia. These conclusions differed significantly from those of other studies. Five general patterns were identified from the distributions of 104 species. In addition, there are 13 species that do not fit any of the general patterns. Most species with similar distributions in Ontario shared the same refugia and dispersal routes in eastern North America, therefore it is hypothesized that historical processes were important in shaping the present-day distributions of Ontario freshwater fishes. 

distribution-and-range

(English) Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. 1987. Atlas of muskellunge lakes in Ontario. Fisheries Branch. Toronto, Ontario. 33 p.

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Distribution and Range

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This atlas represents our understanding of the distribution of muskellunge lakes in Ontario as of September, 1987. This record was compiled from the lake inventory data base with additions and amendments made by district staff.

distribution-and-range

(English) Kerr, S. J. 2011. Distribution and management of muskellunge in North America: An overview. Fisheries Policy Section. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. Peterborough, Ontario. 22 p. + appendices.

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Distribution and Range

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This report has been prepared to document current muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) distribution in North America as well as summarize and compare management approaches used in various jurisdictions. This is not the first survey, regarding muskellunge management activities in North America, to be conducted. A similar agency questionnaire was carried out by the North Dakota Game and Fish Department in 1985 (Ragan et al. 1986). The Esocid Technical Committee, Northcentral Division, American Fisheries Society, compiled information on esocid research and management in 1992 (ETC 1992), esocid angling regulations in 1995 (ETC 1997a), and esocid stocking in 1996 (ETC 1997b). I am also aware of a mail survey conducted in 1981 (Miller 1983) but was unable to obtain results from that undertaking. Information contained in this report was derived from a number of sources including a survey of state/provincial staff (conducted during the fall of 2010), an internet search of muskellunge regulations in various jurisdictions, and a review of published literature. Completed surveys were received from 59 individuals (see Appendix 1) representing 56 different North American jurisdictions. In most instances, a single response was received from an individual jurisdiction. In other cases, several responses were received and combined to form a provincial or state response. Survey responses were not received from Alabama, Delaware, Idaho, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and South Carolina. Much of the outstanding information (e.g., number of muskellunge waters, numbers of fish stocked, etc.) for non-responding jurisdictions was obtained from agency websites.

distribution-and-range

(English) Kerr, S.J. and C.H. Olver [eds.]. 1996. Managing muskies in the ’90s. Workshop Proceedings. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Southern Region Science & Technology Transfer Unit Workshop Proceedings WP-007. 169 p.

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Research and Management, Workshops and Conferences

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The muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) enjoys an almost mystical reputation among Ontario anglers. It’s elusive nature, voracious appetite, fighting qualities when hooked and ability to attain an immense size all contribute to its stature as one of the most highly prized fish species in Ontario. In addition to its value from a recreational aspect, muskellunge also provide direct economic benefits estimated at several million dollars in Ontario annually (Scott and Crossman 1973). The distribution of muskellunge in Canada is confined to small portions of northwestern Ontario and western Quebec as well as the lower Great Lakes and inland waters of southern Ontario (Crossman 1978). They are known to exist in 302 inland lakes and several river systems in Ontario (OMNR 1987). Perhaps with no other species of fish is the partnership more evident between researchers, anglers and managers than is the case with muskellunge. Muskies Inc. and, more recently, Muskies Canada Inc., have a long and distinquished history of data collection, public education and support of muskellunge research. Two earlier symposia have established benchmarks in the knowledge of muskellunge and the fisheries they provide. The « Coolwater Fishes of North America Symposium » (AFS 1978) was held at St. Paul, Minnesota in 1978. In 1984, the first major collaborative effort to assemble and synthesize information solely on muskellunge was the « Managing Muskies » symposium held at LaCrosse, Wisconsin (AFS 1986). Discussions are currently underway for a second international muskellunge symposium in 1997.

A two-day workshop, entitled « Managing Muskies in the ’90s » was held at the Kemptville College of Agricultural Technology onAugust 16-17, 1995. The workshop was organized by the Science & Technology Transfer Unit, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, and sponsored by local chapters of Muskies Canada Inc. This workshop was organized to assemble a mix of researchers, managers, anglers and selected outdoor writers to transfer results of current and ongoing muskellunge research and discuss issues regarding management of the species. The format included formal presentations by 17 individual speakers from Quebec, New York, Wisconsin and across Ontario. Presentations were grouped according to the general topics of management strategies, movements and habitat utilization and status reports on different fisheries. The second component of the agenda involved breaking into informal discussion groups to discuss two current management issues: (i) Muskellunge Stocking: Is it a viable option? and (ii) Size limits: Do they work? The interest in muskellunge was evident by the fact that at least 75 people attended the workshop. These proceedings have been prepared to disseminate information presented to those who were unable to attend. It is hoped that this document will provide useful information for future management of this « noble » fish

research-and-management workshops-and-conferences

(English) Kendall, R. L. [ed.]. Selected coolwater fishes of North America. American Fisheries Society Special Publication 11. Washington, D. C. 437 p.

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Workshops and Conferences

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Selected coolwater fishes of North America

workshops-and-conferences

(English) Kapuscinski, K. L. T. D. Simonson, D. P. Crane, S. J. Kerr, J. S. Diana and J. M. Farrell [eds.]. Muskellunge Management: Fifty Years of Coopoeration among Anglers, Scientists and Fisheries Biologists. American Fisheries Society Symposium 85. Bethesda, Maryland. 675 p.

(English) Link

Workshops and Conferences

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Muskellunge Management: Fifty Years of Coopoeration among Anglers, Scientists and Fisheries Biologists

workshops-and-conferences

Hall, G. E. [ed.]. Managing muskies. American Fisheries Society Special Publication 15. Bethesda, Maryland. 372 p.

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Workshops and Conferences

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Managing muskies. American Fisheries Society Special Publication 15

workshops-and-conferences

(English) Diana, J. S. and T. L. Margenau [eds.]. 2007. The muskellunge symposium: A memorial tribute to E. J. Crossman. Springer Publishers. Dodrecht, The Netherlands. 185 p.

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Workshops and Conferences

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The muskellunge symposium: A memorial tribute to E. J. Crossman

workshops-and-conferences

(English) Taillon, D. and D. Heinbuck. 2017. Ontario’s muskellunge angler log program: 1995-2015. P. 51-73 In K. L. Kapuscinski, T. D. Simonson, D. P. Crane, S. J. Kerr, J. S. Diana and J. M. Farrell [eds.]. Muskellunge Management: Fifty Years of Cooperation among Anglers, Scientists and Fisheries Biologists. American Fisheries Society Special Publication 85. Bethesdam Maryland. 675 p.

(English) N/A

Voluntary Angler Diaries

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Muskies Canada Inc. (MCI) has represented muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) anglers since 1978, advocating for the conservation and effective management of muskellunge populations. A core initiative of MCI, since it inception, has been the voluntary angler log program (ALP) which collects data on MCI-member muskellunge angling effort and catch. These data are shared with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and forestry with the intent of contributing to the management of muskellunge fisheries in Ontario. this paper examines the data provided by MCI members for the six waterbodies with the highest representation in the ALP from 1995 to 2015 – Pigeon Lake, Rideau River, Lake St. Clair, Georgian Bay, St. Lawrence River and Ottawa River. Mean length, catch-per-unit-of-effort and proportional size are examined to determine (1) if a response to large scale changes in fish abundance (viral hemorrhagic septicemia-related die-offs) can be detected in the data, and (2) if data from the ALP related to the broad management objectives for the fishery. While the ALP is subject to some sources of bias, our assessments suggests that there is considerable potential for direct use of the data in setting and measuring fishery and muskellunge population objectives.

voluntary-angler-diaries

(English) Kerr, S. J., D. Heinbuck, and S. Powell. 2011. Ontario’s 2010 Volunteer Muskellunge Angler Diary Program. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Muskies Canada Incorporated. Peterborough, Ontario. 10 p

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Voluntary Angler Diaries

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In 2010, volunteer muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) angler diary program information was collected by anglers participating in a Lake Erie Management Unit (MNR) sponsored program as well as volunteer anglers affiliated with Muskies Canada Inc. (MCI). The 2010 program represented the 32nd consecutive year that MCI members have collected and provided information on their muskellunge angling activities. A total of 187 MCI anglers participated in the 2010 program.

Anglers reported expending a total of 17,999 rod hours of effort directed at muskellunge in 2010. The most heavily fished waters were the Ottawa River (2,550 hours), St. Lawrence River (2,263 hours), Lake St. Clair (2,134 hours), Lake Nipissing (1,029 hours), and Lake of the Woods (1,025 hours). A total of 946 muskellunge were landed in 2010. Based on the reported angling effort, the overall catch-per-unit-of-effort (CUE) was 0.053 fish/rod hour. All but two angled muskellunge were released alive. Records were submitted from a total of 65 different Ontario waterbodies. This is the largest number of waterbodies since the program began in 1979.

Angled muskellunge ranged in size from 15-56 inches in total length. The mean length of angled muskellunge in 2010 was 36.0 inches. Based on volunteer angler logs maintained by members of Muskies Inc. (MI) (Bunch 2011) and Muskies Canada Inc. (MCI), there were 159 muskellunge exceeding 50 inches in length which were angled from 24 Ontario waters in 2010 (Table 2). Based on this information, the largest muskellunge reported during the 2010 angling season was a 57.0 inch fish taken from the Ottawa River.

voluntary-angler-diaries

(English) Cooke, S. J., W. I. Dunlop, D. MacLennan and G. Power. 2000. Applications and characteristics of angler diary programs in Ontario. Fisheries Management and Ecology 7:473-487.

(English) Link, Link2

Voluntary Angler Diaries

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Angler diary programs (n=46, 1979–1997) implemented in Ontario by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources are reviewed, and the different uses of angler diary programmes, levels of participation and differences in programme design are reported. In Ontario, angler diary use is common, but successful application is limited. This review revealed a variety of uses and approaches for administering angler diary programmes. Problems arise when programmes are initiated without the complete commitment of the administrators and agency, or when there is no regular review so adaptive changes can be made. If administrators realize the potential biases and problems associated with diaries, and design programmes to control them, angler diaries can provide favourable cost-effective results. With reduced funding and staffing constraints, angler diary programmes could become the primary method of data collection for specialized and remote fisheries

voluntary-angler-diaries

(English) Kerr, S. J., D. Heinbuck, S. Powell, G. Olson, and J. Bunch. 2012. Ontario’s 2011 Volunteer Muskellunge Angler Diary Program. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Muskies Canada Incorporated. Peterborough, Ontario.

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Voluntary Angler Diaries

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In 2011, information was collected from four volunteer muskellunge angler diary programs in Ontario. These included MNR-sponsored programs on Lake of the Woods and Lake St. Clair as well as Muskies Canada Inc’s (MCI) and Muskies Inc. (MI) ongoing volunteer programs. The 2011 program represented the 33rd consecutive year that MCI anglers have participated in this volunteer activity. A total of 178 MCI anglers participated in the 2011 program and reported angling activities on 62 different Ontario waterbodies. A total of 408 Muskies Inc. members provided information on 4,734 muskellunge angled from 62 different Ontario waterbodies in 2011. The majority (3,728 records, 78.7%) of these records originated from either Lake St. Clair or Lake of the Woods. In a few instances reported information was not included because the lake could not be verified. The annual Lake St. Clair program was coordinated by the Lake Erie Management Unit. Six volunteer anglers were involved in the 2011 program. – The MNR Lake of the Woods Program, conducted on a regular five year cycle, was coordinated by the Lake of the Woods Fisheries Assessment Unit. Participants in the Lake of the Woods Fisheries Assessment Unit program were guests at one of five lodges on the lake.

Volunteer anglers reported angling results from a total of 92 different Ontario waterbodies in 2011. This is the largest number of individual waters since the program began. Most of these new waters were in northwestern Ontario with information being provided by Muskies Inc. as well as the new northwestern Ontario chapter of Muskies Canada Inc. Anglers participating in the 2011 program reported 20,812.2 rod hours of angling effort. Those same anglers reported catching a total of 1,235 muskellunge. This represents an angling success rate of 0.059 fish per rod hour. Only one muskellunge was reported as harvested. All other angled fish were released. The most heavily fished water in 2011 was Lake of the Woods (Table 2) with 5,173.25 rod hours of reported effort. This may be attributed to the fact that MNR had a volunteer angler diary program on that water in 2011.

voluntary-angler-diaries

(English) 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.

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Voluntary Angler Diaries

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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.

voluntary-angler-diaries

(English) Chase, S. K. and A. Levine. 2016. A framework for evaluating and designing citizen science programs for natural resource monitoring. Conservation Biology 30:456-466.

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Voluntary Angler Diaries

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We present a framework of resource characteristics critical to the design and assessment of citizen science programs that monitor natural resources. To develop the framework we reviewed 52 citizen science programs that monitored a wide range of resources and provided insights into what resource characteristics are most conducive to developing citizen science programs and how resource characteristics may constrain the use or growth of these programs. We focused on 4 types of resource characteristics: biophysical and geographical, management and monitoring, public awareness and knowledge, and social and cultural characteristics. We applied the framework to 2 programs, the Tucson (U.S.A.) Bird Count and the Maui (U.S.A.) Great Whale Count. We found that resource characteristics such as accessibility, diverse institutional involvement in resource management, and social or cultural importance of the resource affected program endurance and success. However, the relative influence of each characteristic was in turn affected by goals of the citizen science programs. Although the goals of public engagement and education sometimes complimented the goal of collecting reliable data, in many cases trade-offs must be made between these 2 goals. Program goals and priorities ultimately dictate the design of citizen science programs, but for a program to endure and successfully meet its goals, program managers must consider the diverse ways that the nature of the resource being monitored influences public participation in monitoring.

voluntary-angler-diaries

(English) Bray, G. S. and H. L. Schramm. 2001. Evaluation of a statewide volunteer angler diary program for use as a fisheries assessment tool. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 21:606-615.

(English) Link, Link2

Voluntary Angler Diaries

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We implemented a statewide volunteer angler diary program for the 1995 fishing season to determine whether angler diaries can provide data that are useful for the management of the principal sport fishes in waters throughout Mississippi. Of 1,153 anglers volunteering to participate, 224 (19%) returned diaries with at least one recorded fishing trip that was usable for data analysis. We found no significant (P < 0.05) correlations between angler diary catch per unit effort (CPUE; fish/h) and creel survey or electrofishing CPUE for black bass Micropterus spp. and crappies Pomoxis spp. The length distributions of black bass reported by anglers were similar to those obtained from electrofishing samples at five of seven reservoirs when fish smaller than 250 mm were excluded from the comparisons. The length distributions of crappies obtained from diary reports were different from those obtained from electrofishing samples. Low participation by anglers for catfish (Ictaluridae) and sunfish Lepomis spp. precluded similar analyses for those species. The participating anglers differed from the general angling public in Mississippi, possibly biasing estimates of catch rate. Although angler diaries may have value for monitoring angler catch rate trends for diverse types of anglers and in numerous water bodies, our results show that angler diary data should not be used to replace traditional fishery assessment data.

voluntary-angler-diaries

(English) Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. 2007.Guidelines for competitive fishing events for muskellunge in Ontario. Fisheries Policy Section. Peterborough, Ontario.

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Tournaments and Competitive Fishing Events

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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.

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 should be a top priority

tournaments

(English) Kerr, S. J. [ed.]. 1999. Competitive Fishing in Ontario Workshop Proceedings, Workshop Proceedings WP-O1, Southcentral Sciences Section, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Kemptville, Ontario. 107 p.

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Tournaments and Competitive Fishing Events

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There is little doubt that the popularity of competitive fishing has increased considerably in the past decade. Although accurate records on individual events are generally not available, it is believed that there are several hundred competitive fishing events, including tournaments, derbies and contests, across Ontario each year. These events span all seasons of the year, include both inland and Great Lakes waters, and target a wide variety of fish species. Despite their increasing popularity and obvious economic benefits to local economies, there are several controversial issues with respect to competitive fishing events. These include concerns about boating safety, the impacts of handling, weigh-in and release techniques of angled fish, interference with the activities of shoreline residents, the potential of overharvesting local fish stocks, impacts on other aquatic biota (e.g., nesting water birds), and competition with other non-tournament anglers. One of the primary functions of the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resource’s (MNR) science division is to collate and disseminate new science and pertinent information to both resource users and managers. One means of accomplishing this task is to organize and host interactive workshops. Three other workshops (« Bass Management in Ontario » in 1994; « Managing Muskies in the 90s » in 1995; and « Science in the Southeast » in 1997) have been held in southeastern Ontario in the past five years. A two day workshop on competitive fishing events was held at the Kemptville College of Agricultural Technology on March 12 and 13, 1999. The workshop was organized by the Southcentral Sciences Section of the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. The objective of the workshop was to assemble a mix of speakers to summarize recent research activities and management approaches as well as review various issues and concerns with respect to competitive fishing in Ontario. The workshop format included presentations by 16 different speakers. Time was allotted for questions and general discussion after each presentation. The workshop concluded with a general synopsis and overview summarizing highlights of individual presentations and items of general discussion. The interest in competitive fishing was evident by the fact that, despite inclement late winter weather conditions, at least eighty people attended the event. Workshop attendees included fisheries managers and researchers from the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, fishing tournament organizers, tournament anglers, representatives from local sportsmans organizations and cottage associations, and unaffiliated anglers. These workshop proceedings have been assembled to document the formal presentations at the workshop and transfer this information to those who were not in attendance.

tournaments

(English) Kerr, S. J. 2009. A survey of 2008 competitive fishing events in Ontario. Fish and Wildlife Branch. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. Peterborough, Ontario. 9 p. + appendices.

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Tournaments and Competitive Fishing Events

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A survey was conducted to gather information on competitive fishing activities in Ontario during 2008. Information on 1,039 events was recorded. At least 71 of these events have been run annually for more than a decade. The majority (~ 73%) of competitive fishing activities were concentrated on inland waters particularly in southern Ontario. Based on comparisons with previous surveys, it is evident that competitive fishing continues to expand in Ontario. Other changes include an increase in the number of fish species being caught, an increase in the number of youth and family oriented events and more events during the spring, summer and fall. It is recommended that another survey be conducted in 4-5 years in order to continue monitoring this activity.

tournaments

(English) Kerr, S. J. 2004. A 2004 survey of competitive fishing events in Ontario. Fish and Wildlife Branch. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. Peterborough, Ontario. 14 p. + appendices.

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Tournaments and Competitive Fishing Events

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A provincial survey was conducted to obtain information on competitive fishing activities which occurred in Ontario during 2004. Information on a total of 680 events is summarized. This represents a 31% increase from the number of events documented during a 1999 survey. The majority of events (61.8%) were situated on inland waters of southern Ontario followed by the Great Lakes (20.3%). Most events lasted only one day in duration. Fish and game clubs and professional tournament series accounted for the organization of 434 competitive fishing events (63.8%). Bass were the most commonly targeted species accounting for 42.6% of all events. Other popular species included walleye (13.3%) and northern pike (8.8%). Based on the results of this survey, several issues were identified and recommendations are offered for consideration. A similar survey should be conducted again in 2009.

tournaments

(English) Gilbert, S. J. and G. G. Sass. 2016. Trends in a northern Wisconsin muskellunge fishery: Results from a county-wide angling context, 1964-2010. Fisheries Management and Ecology 23:172-176.

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Recreational Fisheries, Tournaments and Competitive Fishing Events

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Trends in a northern Wisconsin muskellunge fishery: Results from a county-wide angling context, 1964-2010

recreational-fisheries tournaments

(English) Kerr, S. J. and K. K. Kamke. 2003. Competitive fishing in freshwaters of North America: A survey of Canadian and U. S. jurisdictions. Fisheries 28:26-31.

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Tournaments and Competitive Fishing Events

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A survey of competitive fishing activities in Canadian and U. S. jurisdictions was conducted during the summer-autumn of 2000 and the winter of 2001. Responses to a survey involving 10 questions were received from all 62 state, provincial, and territorial agencies contacted. Respondents reported 19,371 events and we estimate that over 25,000 competitive fishing events were held in 2000. Several social and biological issues associated with competitive fishing activities were reported. Social issues included congestion at access points, safety concerns, and conflicts with non-tournament anglers. Biological issues included increased fishing pressure, initial and delayed mortality, impacts of fish relocation, and the potential transfer of exotic species. There has been an increase in the development of policies and regulations associated with competitive fishing since the last survey was conducted in 1989 and it appears that more are being planned for the future. Approximately one-half of all North American jurisdictions now have a requirement to obtain a permit for an organized competitive fishing event. Research is needed to address potential impacts and to develop best management practices for competitive fishing activities.

tournaments

(English) Schramm, H. L., Jr., M. L. Armstrong, N. A. Funicelli, D. M. Green, D. P. Lee, R. E. Mann, Jr., B. D. Taubert and S. J. Waters. 1991. The status of competitive fishing in North America. Fisheries 16:4-12.

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Tournaments and Competitive Fishing Events

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Organized competitive sportfishing has been a growing use of fishery resources for at least the last 20 years. We conducted a survey of fishery agencies in Canada, the United States, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands to estimate the numbers and types of competitive fishing events in inland and marine waters and to determine fishery agency perceptions of the benefits and problems associated with these events. Based on survey responses, there were 20,697 competitive fishing events annually. Adjusting for agencies that did not provide estimates and incomplete reporting, we estimated that there were at least 31,000 competitive fishing events annually. Most competitive fishing events were for black bass in inland waters and billfish in marine waters, but events targeted many species of fish. In inland waters, events for species other than black bass appear to be increasing. Prevalent problems of competitive fishing perceived by fishery management agencies were stimulation and concentration of fishing effort, conflicts among user groups, and impeded access. Prevalent benefits of competitive fishing were economical acquisition of catch and biological data, promotion of recreational fishing, and communication between agencies and anglers. Our survey indicated the need for accurate (rather than estimated) and current data about competitive fishing and further investigations of sociological aspects, economic values, and biological impacts of competitive fishing events.

tournaments

(English) Wagner, C. P. and D. H. Wahl. 2007. Evaluation of temperature selection differences among juvenile muskellunge originating from different latitudes. Environmental Biology of Fishes 79:85-98.

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Temperature Preferences

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Genetic differences among muskellunge Esox masquinongy populations are related to residence in major river drainages, suggesting the existence of divergent stocks. By use of radio-telemetry we compared different seasonal and diel temperature selection in a southern Illinois reservoir for three geographically and genetically distinct stocks of age-2 muskellunge from throughout the latitudinal range of the species. Muskellunge from the Upper Mississippi River drainage were represented by the Leech Lake, Minnesota, population and the Ohio River drainage was represented by the Cave Run Lake, Kentucky, population. Progeny from North Spring Lake, Illinois, an interstock, or mixed-origin stock, were also evaluated. No differences in temperature selection were observed among stocks of juvenile muskellunge across seasons or diel periods. The seasonal mean temperatures of the water varied significantly—spring 21.7°C, summer 28.4°C, and fall 14.8°C, with an overall average temperature of 24.1°C, in agreement with previously published values obtained in laboratory trials. This lack of different temperature-selection patterns among stocks is in contrast with other life-history characteristics, for example growth, metabolism, and conversion efficiency, which have been shown to differ among populations and stocks.

temperature-preferences

(English) Scott, D. P. 1964. Thermal resistance of pike (Esox lucius), muskellunge (E. masquinongy) and their F1 hybrid. Journal of the Fisheries Research Board of Canada 21:1043-1049.

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Temperature Preferences

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Comparison of thermal resistances of pike, muskellunge, and their F1 hybrid indicates close similarity between the two species. There appears to be some hybrid vigour in that the hybrids tend to be more resistant to thermal stress at the average acclimation and test temperatures encountered in the experiments. The greatest difference between the hybrids and parents occurred at the lowest test temperatures. Differences between the parent species were apparent only in their response to acclimation temperature, the slope of the curve of resistance time on acclimation temperature being much steeper for muskellunge than that for pike.

temperature-preferences

(English) Ferguson, R. G. 1958. The preferred temperature of fish and their midsummer distribution in temperate lakes and streams. Journal of the Fisheries Research Board of Canada 15:607-624.

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Temperature Preferences

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Laboratory studies of preferred temperature with yellow perch (Perca flavescens) are compared with results from 21 other species. These show that temperature, if acting alone, can determine the distribution of fish in laboratory apparatus. Factors such as light, conditioned responses related to feeding routines, and social behaviour can interfere with the expression of the response to temperature. Subdued lighting conditions were necessary in the experiments with Oncorhynchus, Salvelinus and Coregonus, whereas full daylight was required in experiments with Perca flavescens.The level of thermal acclimation influences the range of temperature preferred. In general the preferred temperature is considerably higher than the acclimation temperature at low thermal acclimations, but this difference decreases up to the final preferendum, where both coincide. The final preferendum and the relation between acclimation and preferred temperature is characteristic for the species. The shape of the resulting curve may have some value in interpreting observations of fish mortalities and distribution in nature. The final preferendum of the yellow perch from the present work was 24.2 °C., from other work using older fish it was 21.0 °C.Summer field observations of yellow perch in Lake Nipissing, Costello Lake and Opeongo Lake in Ontario, showed average thermal distribution of 19.7 °C., 21.0 °C. and 21.2 °C. respectively. This agrees well with 20.8 °C. observed for four Wisconsin lakes. Oxygen depletion reported for Tennessee Valley reservoirs, distribution of primary prey species of lake trout in New York waters, and other factors, have been shown to modify the thermal distribution in nature. Differential sex response to temperature may be important in the perch. Field observations of thermal distributions for other species are also presented.A comparison of the laboratory and field data shows good agreement with fish having colder final preferenda: Salvelinus fontinalis, Salvelinus namaycush, Salvelinus hybrid and Coregonus clupeaformis. Fish with warmer final preferenda, such as Micropterus salmoides, Micropterus dolomieu and Lota lota lacustris, showed higher temperatures in the laboratory than was shown by field observations. Young Perca flavescens showed similar results, but experiments with older perch showed excellent agreement between laboratory results and held observations. The lack of agreement between laboratory results and field observations is attributed to age differences; laboratory experiments being performed with young fish and held observations being made on older fish.

temperature-preferences

(English) Cole, A. J. and P. W. Betoli. 2014. Thermal ecology of subadult and adult muskellunge in a thermally enriched reservoir. Fisheries Management and Ecology 21:410-420.

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Temperature Preferences

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The movement of adult muskellunge, Esox masquinongy Mitchill, has been investigated in a variety of systems, but temperature selection by muskellunge has not been examined where well‐oxygenated waters were available over a range of temperatures for much of the year. Thirty subadult and adult muskellunge tagged internally with temperature‐sensing radio tags were tracked from March 2010 to March 2011 in a Tennessee reservoir. Mean tag temperatures were 18.9 °C in spring (March to May), 22.1 °C in summer (June to August), 16.5 °C in autumn and 9.8 °C in winter (December to February). When the greatest range in water temperatures was available (7.1–33.3 °C; May to early August 2010), their realised thermal niche (mean ± 1 SD ) was 22.3 °C ± 1.8; the realised thermal niche was affected by fish size (smaller fish selected slightly warmer temperatures) but not sex. An electric generating steam plant discharging warm water resumed operation in January 2011, and most (86%) tagged fish occupied the plume where temperatures were ≈10 °C warmer than ambient water temperatures. No mortalities were observed 15 days later when plant operations ceased. Their affinity for the heated plume prompted concerns that muskellunge will be too easily exploited when the plant operates during winter.

temperature-preferences

(English) Bonin, J. D. and J. R. Spotila. 1978. Temperature tolerance of larval muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) F1 hybrids reared under hatchery conditions. Comparative Biochemical Physiology 59A:245-248.

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Temperature Preferences

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Critical thermal maxima (CTM) of larval muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) and norlunge (Esox masquinongy females × E. lucuis males) were determined under hatchery conditions. Norlunge had higher temperature tolerance and developed faster. CTM of larval norlunge (30.9–36.0°C,X= 34.0°C) were significantly higher (P ≤ 0.01) than those of muskellunge (29.9–35.6°C,X= 32.8°C). Both fish exhibited a sharp decrease in CTM during swim-up, followed by a slow recovery period characterized by a general increase in CTM values. Both age and past thermal history had important effects on temperature tolerance of fry. Norlunge fry were better able to physiologically adjust to changing environmental conditions than were muskelunge.

temperature-preferences

(English) Crossman, E. J. 1960. Variation in number and asymmetry in branchiostegal rays in the family Esocidae. Canadian Journal of Zoology 38:363-375.

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Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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In teleost fishes which have high numbers of meristic parts there is great variability. Within the family Esocidae this variability is apparent in the branchiostegal rays. Within populations there often exists up to 23 combinations of numbers of these rays on the epihyoid and ceratohyoid bones on each side of single individuals. There is considerable bilateral asymmetry in both number and arrangement of these rays. Counts of the number of branchiostegal rays on each hyoid segment may prove more useful as distinguishing characteristics than total counts now in use.

taxonomy-and-nomenclature

(English) Pierce, R. B., J. A. Younk and C. M. Tomcko. 2007. Expulsion of miniature radio transmitters along with eggs of muskellunge and northern pike: A new methods for locating critical spawning habitat. Environmental Biology of Fishes 79:99-109

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Sampling Techniques and Protocols, Tagging and Marking

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Identification and protection of critical spawning habitat for muskellunge Esox masquinongy and northern pike Esox lucius is important for preserving the reproductive potential of both species. In this study, we implanted miniature radio transmitters through the oviduct into the egg masses of female muskellunge and northern pike just prior to spawning. This non-surgical procedure was a novel approach for identifying spawning sites when transmitters were expelled with the eggs during egg deposition. Preliminary studies in three lakes showed that muskellunge and northern pike deposited many of the transmitters in likely spawning habitat. An inability to find eggs limited our validation of this method, but nevertheless, a relatively high proportion (70%) of northern pike larger than 690 mm (27.2 inches) expelled transmitters in a previously known spawning area in Willow Lake, Minnesota. Shoreline vegetation in that area consisted primarily of sedges Carex spp., and the adjacent water was shallow with substrate consisting of large mats of water bulrush Scirpus subterminalis. A lower proportion (50%) of muskellunge expelled transmitters in Elk Lake, Minnesota. Water depth at likely spawning sites averaged 1.1 m (3.6 feet) and vegetative cover was variable, but Chara spp. was common to most sites. In Moose Lake, Minnesota, containing sympatric populations of muskellunge and northern pike, 60% of muskellunge and 90% of pike expelled transmitters. Chara spp. beds were the predominant substrate where transmitters were expelled in Moose Lake, but the two species deposited transmitters on deepwater bars (3.7–5.2 m) in addition to shallow near-shore habitat. These results suggest more flexibility in depths used for spawning than typically reported for muskellunge and northern pike.

sampling-techniques-and-protocols tagging-and-marking

(English) McNeil, F. I. and E. J. Crossman. 1979. Fin clips in the evaluation of stocking programs for muskellunge (Esox masquinongy). Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 108:335-343.

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Tagging and Marking

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During laboratory and field experiments in Ontario, with hatchery muskellunge 90–235 mm in total length, total removal of a fin did not add to the immediate mortality caused by seining the fish from ponds. The use of an anesthetic during surgery (MS-222) did not affect subsequent survival of marked, stocked fish. Removal of any single paired fin was equally detrimental to short-term (3 months) survival. In contrast, over long periods (10 months) the loss of a pectoral fin was more detrimental than loss of a pelvic fin. Removal of both fins of a pair may cause higher mortality than the removal of one fin. Neither the fin removed nor the anesthetic significantly affected short-term or long-term growth. Within 1 year of marking regeneration of amputated fins was such that recognition of marked fish was difficult and the degree of difficulty increased with time. Estimates based on marked 2-year-old or older individuals could result in substantial underestimates of survival.

tagging-and-marking

(English) Lucy, J. and K. Davy. 2000. Benefits of angler assisted tag-and-release programs. Fisheries 25:18-23.

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Tagging and Marking

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Angler-based tagging programs can have substantial benefits to fisheries research and management in the marine system. Some cooperative tagging programs of this nature have been in existence for nearly 40 years, providing a long time-series of data that would not otherwise be available to managers. Data provided through cooperative tagging programs with commercial and recreational fishers have contributed to the management of Atlantic highly migratory species, nearshore marine reef species, and nearshore marine migratory species. In addition to adding to the database used to manage fisheries, angler-based tagging programs can be a vehicle to promote resource stewardship and conservation principles such as catch and release and proper release techniques. However, to maximize their utility, tagging programs should be conducted in conjunction with fishery management or research programs, provide some training to taggers, and have established objectives.

tagging-and-marking

(English) Muir, B. S. 1963. Vital statistics of Esox maqquinongy in Nogies Creek, Ontario: Tag loss, mortality due to tagging and the estimate of exploitation. Journal of the fisheries Research board of Canada 20:1213-1230.

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Tagging and Marking

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A small population of maskinonge was exploited by a 9-year fishery, using fixed nets under control of the investigator. During the period 1952 to 1960, approximately 4000 maskinonge were handled, 2000 of them being tagged and returned to the population.The rate of loss of the preopercular disc tag increased progressively with time out, so that an estimated 8.5% of the tags had been lost after the end of the first year, 30% after the second and virtually all after the third. The total mortality and tag loss is estimated to range from 25% to 66% during the period from spring to fall for various years. These estimates are used as correcting factors to determine the numbers of tags extant at the start of the fall fishery each year. The rates of recapture of these tags give estimates of exploitation during the fall fisheries, and the average coefficient of catchability, derived from these data, is 0.0026 for fish age IV and older.A method, using simultaneous tag and recapture data, is developed to estimate the coefficient of catchability for each age-group. The estimated coefficients of catchability increase, almost linearly, from 0.0013 for age-group III to 0.0032 for age-group VI+. The average coefficient estimated by this method, 0.0025 for age-group IV and older, agrees well with that estimated independently by the method above.

tagging-and-marking

(English) Landsman, S. J., E. G. Martins, L. F. G. Gutowsky, C. D. Suski, R. Arlinghaus and S. J. Cooke. 2015. Locomotor activity patterns of muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) assessed using tri-axial acceleration sensing acoustic transmitters. Environmental Biology of Fishes 98:2109-2121.

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Movements, Tagging and Marking

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The trade-off between remaining stationary and being active has consequences for the survival and growth of fishes. Recent advancements in telemetry tools have enabled researchers to assess activity patterns of free-swimming fishes using tri-axial acceleration-sensing acoustic transmitters. This study describes the summer activity patterns of muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) in an 8 km reach of the Rideau River, Ontario between 1 June and 20 August 2010. Acceleration measurements indicated that muskellunge tended to remain inactive for much of the time. The effect of time of day (i.e., diel patterns), water temperature, and fish size were also examined. Activity was lowest at dawn, increased throughout the day, peaked at dusk, and declined at night. Activity also declined above temperatures of 25 °C and was lower for larger muskellunge. A comparison of fish captured with rod and reel versus boat electrofisher failed to reveal a significant difference in behaviour. The results of this study illustrate the utility of accelerometer transmitters for studying the behavioural ecology of free-swimming fishes. The results also confirm that muskellunge are generally sedentary during the summer period, but do exhibit reasonably pronounced diel activity patterns.

movements tagging-and-marking

(English) Kerr, S. J. and B. Jones. 2016. The Saint John River Muskellunge Tagging Project, 2006-2015. Report prepared for the Saint John River Chapter of Muskies Canada Inc. Fredericton, New Brunswick. 14 p. + appendices.

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Movements, Tagging and Marking

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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 Saint John River Chapter of Muskies Canada 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 behaviour 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.

movements tagging-and-marking

(English) Margenau, T. L. 1992. Survival and cost effectiveness of stocked fall fingerling and spring yearling muskellunge in Wisconsin. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 12:484-493.

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Stocking and Transfers

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Stocking hatchery-reared muskellunge Esox masquinongy is important to Wisconsin’s muskellunge management program. Typically, large (8–12-in) fingerlings are stocked in fall; however, these fish have poor short-term (30–60-d) survival. To assess survival and cost-effectiveness (maximizing return per dollar invested), both over winter and to age 18 months, I compared success of fish stocked as fall fingerlings (FF) and spring yearlings (SY). Overwinter survival of FF averaged 19% (N = 14; range, 2.7–43.3%). Mortality was highest from stocking through late fall, then declined over winter. In three lakes stocked with both FF and SY, SY survived better (19%) than FF (4%) to age 18 months. Cost analysis based on survival over winter revealed no consistent economic advantage in stocking larger, more expensive fingerlings within the 8–12-in range unless precise information is known about potential predators. Cost comparisons indicated SY were one to four times more cost-effective than FF to age 18 months. Stocking SY should provide a better return to the fishery per hatchery dollar than stocking FF.

stocking-and-transfers

(English) Larscheid, J., J. Christianson, T. Gengerke and W. Jorgensen. 2011. Survival, growth and abundance of pellet-reared and minnow-reared muskellunge stocked in northwestern Iowa. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 19:230-237

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Stocking and Transfers

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Recent advances in artificial feeding techniques have increased the numbers and reliability of fingerling production of muskellunge Esox masquinongy in Iowa. Most of the muskellunge fingerlings produced in Iowa since 1984 were raised on dry pelleted feed. We compared the survival of pellet-reared fingerlings with traditional minnow-reared fingerlings stocked into Spirit and West Okoboji lakes in northwest Iowa. Beginning in 1991, all muskellunge fingerlings were marked with freeze brands to differentiate the type and year that fingerlings were stocked. Adult muskellunge were caught each spring with 360-ft, 2.5-in-bar-mesh gill nets. All muskellunge caught were examined for brands, individually marked with visual implant tags, and released into the same lake as captured. Abundance and survival of stocked fingerlings to year-classes were estimated from recaptures of branded and individually marked muskellunge. In most years none of the pellet-reared fingerlings survived. The poor survival of these fish was most likely due to a combination of poor health, poor color (camouflage barring was muted and virtually nonexistent), and small size (6–9 in total length, TL). Minnow-reared muskellunge fingerlings were much larger (10–13 in TL), displayed strong camouflage barring and no apparent nutritional problems, and survived much better than pellet-reared fish. Minnow-fed fingerlings stocked in the spring survived much better than those stocked in the fall. One spring stocking of only 572 fish more than doubled the muskellunge population in West Okoboji Lake. Such success with stocking muskellunge in the spring could drastically change stocking strategies in Iowa; fewer fish may need to be stocked, and management objectives could be met without annual stockings.

stocking-and-transfers

(English) Kerr, S. J. 2017. The Lake Simcoe muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) restoration program, 2005-2016: A review. Report prepared for the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. Aurora, Ontario. 40 p. + appendices.

Stocking and Transfers

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This report has been prepared to assemble and summarize information in order to evaluate the Lake Simcoe Muskellunge Restoration Program (LSMRP)..The program was initiated in 2005 after a feasibility study and a habitat assessment were documented and concluded the restoration of muskellunge was feasible. Design of the restoration program included identification of long term goals, selection of appropriate genetic strains for re-stocking, identification of muskellunge culture sites and the development of egg collection and netting protocols as well as assessment techniques.

Rehabilitative stocking efforts were intiated in 2005. Between 2005 and 2016, a total of 16, 359 juvenile (predominantly fall fingerlings) muskellunge were stocked at nine selected sites in Lake Simcoe. Netting for egg collections in Gloucester Pool enabled the identification of muskellunge spawning sites, documentation of spawning dates and water temperatures, and collection of information regarding muskellunge growth rates, maturation and movements. From a habitat perspective, the LSMRP also involve planting of soft stem bulrush (Scirpus validus) and wild rice (Zizania sp.) to enhance muskellunge spawning habitats at selected sites as well as rehabilitation measures which involved 15,904 m2 of shoreline.

To date, the LSMRP has been heavily dependent on partnerships, in terms of both volunteer participation and financing. A number of problems and issues were identified during the course of the program to date. A variety of assessment techniques have recently been implemented to evaluate the success of the program. Only limited success has been documented to date given the long term nature of species restoration programs, however ongoing monitoring efforts in the future should enable a better evaluation of program success.

stocking-and-transfers

(English) Kerr, S. J. 2006. Muskellunge. p. 108-114 In An historical review of fish culture, stocking and fish transfers in Ontario, 1865-2004. Fish and Wildlife Branch. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. Peterborough, Ontario. 154 p. + appendices.

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Stocking and Transfers

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Fish culture, stocking and fish transfers have a long history in Ontario dating back before Confederation. Over the years, programs have involved the federal and provincial governments, private facilities, and public interest groups. This report provides a history of fish culture activities and summarizes records of fish stocking and transfers in the province of Ontario. Information has been derived from a number of sources including annual reports of the Department of Marine and Fisheries, Ontario Department of Game and Fisheries, Ontario Department of Lands and Forests, and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) as well as provincial databases FISHNET and FSIS. Community Fisheries and Wildlife Involvement Program (CFWIP) stocking information is based on reports from individual proponents. An extensive search was conducted at the MNR library in Peterborough for historic fish culture and stocking information. Finally, MNR staff, too numerous to mention, provided valuable information on local stocking activities. Several limitations in the stocking data should be noted. Numbers of fish stocked, from two or more different sources of information, were not always consistent. When stocking values from different sources conflicted, the larger number was accepted. In a number of instances, records could not be found or were incomplete. Stocking records reported by CWFIP proponents, particularly from projects involving fry, may be inaccurate as the result of poor inventory procedures. Stocking and fish transfers have played an important role in fisheries management in the province of Ontario. Hopefully this document will provide a useful reference, from an Ontario perspective, of activities and experiences from the past 140 years.

stocking-and-transfers

(English) Diana, M. J., C. P. Wagner and D. H. Wahl. 2017. Differences in stocking success among geographically distrinct stocks of juvenile muskellunge in Illinois lakes. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 37:633-643.

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Stocking and Transfers

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Muskellunge Esox masquinongy are broadly distributed across the northern United States and southern Canada. Intraspecific genetic variation suggests the existence of divergent stocks related to residence in major river drainages. Populations and stocks have likely adapted to specific environmental conditions associated with geographic location, especially latitude and the associated thermal regime. In this study, we examined differences in survival and growth among stocks of juvenile Muskellunge stocked into lakes throughout Illinois. Muskellunge from the Ohio River drainage stock, the upper Mississippi River drainage stock, and the current mixed Illinois broodstock were used for comparisons. Stocking mortality was related to temperature and was greatest for Illinois and Ohio River drainage fish that were stocked during the early fall. Mississippi River drainage fish experienced high mortality over the first summer after stocking, resulting in the lowest abundance during the second fall poststocking. In addition to low catch rates, Muskellunge from the Mississippi River drainage were significantly smaller than fish from the Illinois and Ohio River drainage stocks by the second fall. Populations from similar latitudes and climate (Illinois and Ohio) performed the best in terms of survival and growth and should be utilized in future stockings.

stocking-and-transfers

(English) LeBeau, B. 1991. Oocyte recruitment and spawning chronology in pike (Esox lucius) and muskellunge (E. masquinongy). Canadian Journal of Zoology 69:2194-2301.

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Spawning and Reproduction

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During the reproductive cycle, the progression of oogenesis differs markedly between northern pike, Esox lucius Linnaeus, and muskellunge, Esox masquinongy Mitchill. Both species have group-synchronous ovaries but have different oocyte recruitment strategies. Pike is a single spawner, developing eggs in a single clutch annually, whereas muskellunge is a fractional spawner, producing two clutches of eggs per year. During the spawning period in large female muskellunge, oocyte counts indicate that the second clutch of eggs is equally important to the first. An event portrait of the spawning period for muskellunge is provided, whereby amval of adults to a spawning site, egg yield, and hatching success agree with the fractional spawner concept. A hypothesis of the temporal sequence of evolutionary relationships in recruitment of oocytes for esocoid fishes is presented. The reproductive strategy of muskellunge belongs to a common esocoid ancestor, whereas that in pike is derived and unique. The significance of this divergence in closely related species remains consistent with the ecological theory that evolution of reproductive strategies is adaptive to diverse environmental conditions.

spawning-and-reproduction

(English) Jennings, M. J., G. R. Hatzenbeler and J. M. Kampa. 2011. Spring capture site fidelity of adult muskellunge in inland lakes. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 31:461-467.

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Habitat, Spawning and Reproduction, Tagging and Marking

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Behaviors that affect the distribution of fish within aquatic systems are important considerations in the design of sampling programs. Although movements consistent with reproductive homing have been documented for muskellunge Esox masquinongy in relatively large, complex systems, quantitative data describing their distribution at the restricted spatial scale relevant to small lake fisheries are lacking. We sampled muskellunge by means of fyke netting over 2 years in each of four Wisconsin lakes with surface areas between 110 and 588 ha. Individual capture locations were recorded. Each muskellunge sampled during the first year was injected with a passive integrated transponder to allow identification of the individuals recaptured during the second year. The number of recaptures with functional transponders during the second year ranged from 15 to 43 per lake. Capture site fidelity, defined as the percentage of recaptured fish being found in the same spawning area in two consecutive years, varied from 55% to 93%. The results are relevant to population estimation and broodstock collection for artificial propagation. Population estimates need to include all spawning habitats because marked and unmarked fish are not well mixed throughout the lake during the spawning season. Because repeated netting effort at the same locations among years is likely to resample individuals used for broodstock collection, netting effort should be dispersed among spawning sites.

habitat spawning-and-reproduction tagging-and-marking

(English) Farrell, J. M. 2001. Reproductive success of sympatric northern pike and muskellunge in an upper St. Lawrence River bay. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 130:796-808.

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Spawning and Reproduction

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A change in the use of spawning habitats linked with water-level management may explain differences in reproductive success among sympatric St. Lawrence River northern pike Esox lucius and muskellunge Esox masquinongy. Reproductive success in a shared spawning and nursery bay was compared based on egg (embryo) and age-0 abundance estimates before the fall emigration of young. Historically, northern pike were noted to commence spawning runs in shallow flooded areas soon after ice-out. I found that more than 87% of the estimated northern pike egg deposition in 1994 occurred in offshore, deep-water habitats (2–5 m) and that 99% did in 1995. Northern pike began spawning 17 d before muskellunge in 1994 and 31 d earlier in 1995. Spawning peaks occurred during the interval of 16–23 May. Muskellunge mostly spawned near shore (<1.5-m depth) in submerged aquatic vegetation growth that was absent during northern pike spawning. Muskellunge spawning began and peaked between 23 May and 4 June in 1994 and between 23 May and 1 June in 1995. Estimated egg deposition by northern pike was over 40 times that of muskellunge for the 2 years combined. Despite greater egg deposition, minimum survival estimates of northern pike from egg to fall juvenile were very low: 0.00008% in 1994 and 0.00010% in 1995. By comparison, minimum muskellunge survival estimates (egg to fall juvenile) were greater: 0.034% in 1994 and 0.105% in 1995. In seine surveys age-0 muskellunge catch per unit effort was negatively correlated with that of northern pike (r = −0.77), and muskellunge dominated catches for 9 of 10 years sampled. Growth of inshore submergent habitat during muskellunge spawning and the low abundance of northern pike may have contributed to the greater reproductive success of muskellunge.

spawning-and-reproduction

(English) Crossman, E. J. 1990. Reproductive homing in muskellunge (Esox masquinongy). Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 47:1803-1812.

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Spawning and Reproduction

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The number and nature of muskellunge moving to and from spawning grounds are extensively documented. Individual spawning muskellunge in Stony Lake, Ontario are considered to home annually to specific spawning grounds and to specific areas (spawning sites) within spawning grounds. Some individuals were caught in the same location, or a nearby location, in as many as 7 yr. There is some evidence for discrete populations with apparent reproductive isolation and no interchange in summer. Dispersal from spawning grounds to summer home ranges seems to be limited in regard to direction and area sf the lake. Recapture of fish on spawning grounds suggests an obligatory return to a limited number of « traditional » spawning grounds and may extend our knowledge of the groups of fishes exhibiting this type of directed movement. The results also have serious implications for muskellunge in regard to management, shoreline development, and genetic contamination by fish culture activities.

spawning-and-reproduction

(English) Diana, J. S., P. Hanchin and H. Popoff. 2015. Movement patterns and spawning sites of muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) in the Antrum chain of lakes, Michigan. Environmental Biology of Fishes 98:833-844.

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Spawning and Reproduction

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The purpose of this study was to identify spawning habitat, determine home ranges, and examine movement patterns for a naturally reproducing population of Great Lakes muskellunge in the lower Antrim County chain of lakes, Michigan. Muskellunge spawning sites were identified by tracking of implanted muskellunge using a directional hydrophone and by nighttime spotlight surveys. All spawning fish tagged in Torch or Clam Lake spawned in Clam Lake, while most spawning fish tagged in Elk or Skegemog Lake spawned in the Torch River; one appeared to spawn in Lake Skegemog. Of the 32 potential spawning sites, 28 (87.5 %) contained submerged aquatic vegetation as the dominant habitat type, while the remaining 4 sites were divided equally between woody debris (6.25 %) and bare substrate. All but one implanted muskellunge returned from spawning sites to the same lake in which they were captured and implanted. Of the 24 tagged muskellunge, four were harvested via angling or spearing within 1 year after tagging, and two additional fish were assumed harvested when contact was lost. Implanted muskellunge tended to remain in the lakes during the winter, then move into spawning areas in spring, eventually returning to open lake sites where they resided over summer. Muskellunge movement behavior diverged after spawning each year, with 11 tagged fish (61.1 %) remaining in Skegemog or Clam Lake for the summer, and seven individuals traveling to Elk or Torch Lake. Muskellunge home ranges averaged 612 ha and ranged from 17 to 5,287 ha.

spawning-and-reproduction

(English) Dombeck, M.P., B.W. Menzel and P.N. Hinz. 1984. Muskellunge spawning habitat and reproductive success. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 113(2): 205–216.

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Spawning and Reproduction

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Reproduction of muskellunge Esox masquinongy has failed in many waters that formerly supported self-sustaining populations. Laboratory experiments were conducted to isolate causes of such failures. Differential mortality occurred among lots of muskellunge eggs incubated in jars of unaceated lake water over substrates of sand, gravel, silt, aquatic macrophytes, wood, tree leaves, polyethylene screen, and bare glass. High and rapid early mortality (days 1–2), attributable to low dissolved oxygen (DO) concentrations (0–0.1 mg/liter), occurred among eggs incubated on leaves and macrophytes. After day 3, Saprolegnia sp. fungus was implicated in high egg mortalities in jars with inorganic substrates and moderate DO concentrations (3.8–4.1 mg/liter). Lowest mortality rates occurred on organic substrates (silt and wood) amidst intermediate DO concentrations (0.4–1.7 mg/liter) and limited fungal infestation. Among eight midwestern lakes and reservoirs, measured DO at the substrate-water interface in four of them was high (means, 6.0–8.4 mg/liter) and showed little microstratification; these lakes contain self-sustaining muskellunge populations. The other four lakes showed extreme DO microstratification and virtual anoxia (means, 0.4–2.4 mg/liter) at the substrate-water interface; muskellunge populations in these lakes are supported almost wholly by stocking. Suitable spawning substrates in these lakes are aerated by annual reservoir drawdown, have inherently low biological oxygen demand, or support dense beds of stonewort Chara sp. Reproductive failure is associated with spawning areas having deep accumulations of organic matter and dense macrophyte growth. Improvements of spawning habitat to prevent or alleviate hypoxia are among the options available to manage this species.

spawning-and-reproduction

(English) Jobling, M. 1981. Temperature and final preferendum: Rapid methods for the assessment of optimum growth temperatures. Journal of Fish Biology 19:439-455.

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Sampling Techniques and Protocols

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The relationship between the temperature requirements of some fish species, using published data for growth optima, final preferences and lethal limits were examined. A good correlation was found and it is suggested that the data established gives a good estimate of the temperature promoting maximum growth. Determinations of final preferenda are easily conducted in the laboratory and could therefore be used to give rapid assessments of optimum growth temperatures of potential culture species. The practical application of such measurements is discussed.

sampling-techniques-and-protocols

(English) Hansel, H. C., S. D. Duke, P. T. Lofy and G. A. Gray. 1988. Use of diagnostic bones to identify and estimate original lengths of ingested prey fishes. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 117:1405-1420.

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Sampling Techniques and Protocols

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We examined and measured cleithra, dentaries, opercles, and pharyngeal arches – bones found to persist during digestion of most prey fish – to identify 24 prey fish species and back‐calculate their original fork length. Eighteen of the 24 species examined could be easily distinguished; however, for certain congenerics, identification was neither consistent nor reliable for all bones within the size ranges examined. Relations between bone length and fish length were linear for 14 species for which the sample sizes were adequate (N > 30); coefficients of determination (r 2) ranged from 0.79 to 0.99. Diagnostic characteristics and measurements of these bones provided reliable identification of genera and species and estimates of original fork lengths of partly digested prey fish from three predators. This method, compared with that of examining only prey fish in a measurable condition, greatly increased the amount of dietary information available from gut analysis.

sampling-techniques-and-protocols

(English) Gammon, J. R. 1965. Device for collecting eggs of muskellunge, northern pike and other scatter-spawning species. The Progressive Fish Culturist 27:78.

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Sampling Techniques and Protocols

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Device for collecting eggs of muskellunge, northern pike and other scatter-spawning species

sampling-techniques-and-protocols

(English) Crossman, E. J. and J. G. Hamilton. 1978. An apparatus for sampling gut contents of large, living fishes. Environmental Biology of Fishes 3:297-300.

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Sampling Techniques and Protocols

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Apparatus and methods are described and illustrated for flushing and retaining gut contents from large, living fishes with water supplied by a 12 volt portable pump.

sampling-techniques-and-protocols

(English) Dembkowski, D. J., J. A. Kerns, E. G. Easterly and D. A. Isermann. 2020. Electrofishing encounter probability, survival and dispersal of stocked age-0 muskellunge in Wisconsin lakes. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 40:383-393.

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Sampling Techniques and Protocols, Stocking and Transfers

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Boat electrofishing is often used to sample age‐0 Muskellunge Esox masquinongy for indexing recruitment or evaluating stocking success. However, electrofishing samples typically result in low CPUE , prompting concerns regarding whether catch rates reflect actual abundance or whether boat electrofishing is generally ineffective for capturing age‐0 Muskellunge (i.e., if fish are not being encountered by the gear). To address these concerns, we used radiotelemetry to evaluate the probability of encountering stocked age‐0 Muskellunge (230–350 mm TL ) during standardized fall electrofishing surveys in three Wisconsin lakes. Our approach also allowed us to evaluate short‐term survival and dispersal from stocking locations. Despite limited dispersal (<2.5 km) from the stocking locations and relatively high short‐term survival (75–94%) of radio‐tagged fish, few age‐0 Muskellunge were located within the path of the electrofishing boat (7–30%). Furthermore, the probability of encounter by boat electrofishing varied by as much as 6.3 times among lakes. Differences in encounter probability among lakes appeared to be related to lake basin and habitat characteristics. Overlays of electrofishing sampling effort and fish locations revealed that traditional shoreline electrofishing may not be an effective way of estimating age‐0 Muskellunge CPUE . Modifications to electrofishing protocols, including increased effort in offshore areas and consideration of basin characteristics and habitat, may be needed to increase encounter probabilities and the utility of boat electrofishing for sampling age‐0 Muskellunge

sampling-techniques-and-protocols stocking-and-transfers

(English) Blackwell, B. G., T. M. Kaufman, S. Moos and D. O. Luchessi. 2015. Comparison of two trap net sizes for sampling muskellunge. Prairie Naturalist 47:211-25.

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Sampling Techniques and Protocols

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Sampling adequate numbers of muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) is necessary to evaluate stocking success and to collect information on various population metrics (e.g., growth, condition, relative abundance). However, muskellunge are often difficult to sample with standard fish sampling gears. We collected muskellunge in trap nets of two different designs (large trap nets [1.5-m × 1.8-m frames, 1.5-m diameter hoops, double throated, single 1.5-m × 30.5-m lead and 19-mm knotless mesh] and small trap nets [0.9-m × 1.5-m frames, 0.9-m diameter hoops, single throat, single 0.9-m × 15.2-m lead and 19-mm knotted mesh]. We also estimated abundance of muskellunge (>600 mm total length) in three eastern South Dakota waters using marked and recaptured fish collected from the trap net comparisons. Sampling with both large and small trap nets was completed during the spring of 2013 and 2014 soon after ice-out. More muskellunge were collected in large than small trap nets at all three lakes. Mean total lengths of muskellunge did not differ significantly between large and small trap nets; however, length-frequency distributions did differ between net designs. Regardless of trap net design, a small number of muskellunge were collected, likely due to low abundance (population range = 0.10 fish/ha to 0.47 fish/ha) in these populations. Thus, long-term monitoring is necessary to accurately assess populations and associated trends. Sampling with large trap nets during the spring combined with population estimates may improve the ability to monitor and manage muskellunge when compared to sampling with small trap nets.

sampling-techniques-and-protocols

(English) Margenau, T. L. and J. B. Petchenink. 2004. Social aspects of muskellunge management in Wisconsin. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 24:82-93.

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Research and Management

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Public opinion plays an important part in the successful development of a fisheries management plan. We used a mail questionnaire to survey 1,400 anglers who fish for muskellunge Esox masquinongy in Wisconsin. The survey included defined groups of muskellunge anglers separated by muskellunge club affiliation and geographic location and general anglers selected from a random sample of angler license sales. The survey questions were designed to obtain opinions regarding muskellunge fishery and trophy management in Wisconsin in terms of angling behaviors, regulation options, and perceived problems. All anglers generally preferred fishing with artificial lures and practiced the voluntary live release of legal‐length muskellunge. Muskellunge anglers considered a trophy muskellunge to be at least 40 in long, with a preferred length of 50 in or longer. Muskellunge anglers also supported regulations for muskellunge that were based on a water’s biological potential, along with increased restrictions on regulations such as minimum length limits. General anglers were less supportive of restrictive regulations and were more likely to keep a legal muskellunge for consumptive purposes. The greatest perceived problems with muskellunge fishing were Native American spearing and conflicts with users of speedboats and jet skis. Opinion surveys such as this can help in formulating management strategies that satisfy most anglers within biological limits.

research-and-management

(English) Midwood, J. D., S. J. Kerr, P. Levick and S. J. Cooke. [eds.]. 2015. Conference report: Muskellunge science and management: Progress through partnerships. Environmental Biology of Fishes DOI 10.1007/s10641-015-0417-1

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Research and Management, Workshops and Conferences

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Muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) are an elusive yet highly prized species in eastern North America that can attain trophy sizes. As a result, a dedicated catch-and-release recreational Muskellunge fishery has developed throughout their range. Management of this fishery has largely been facilitated by partnerships between anglers, researchers, and managers. To explore and encourage interactions among these groups a 2-day workshop was held in Ottawa, Canada in August 2014. Three key themes emerged from presentations at this workshop highlighting: 1) the success of Muskellunge management in most of their natural range, 2) knowledge gaps regarding their habitat requirements at various life-stages, and 3) the utility of genetic tools to assist with their management. Through a series of facilitated discussions, concerns were raised by participants regarding the threat posed by non-specialized anglers, the response of Muskellunge populations under future novel conditions, the appropriate scale for management of populations, the potential consequences of cumulative stressors, and the challenges associated with managing cumulative effects and threats. The major take-home message from the workshop was that Muskellunge management is largely a success story that can serve as an example for other recreational fisheries, particularly in terms of building productive partnerships that engage anglers, managers and scientists. Here we present a discussion of the major themes and concerns identified through the workshop in the hopes of spurring future research on Muskellunge, and encouraging managers of other fisheries to adopt some of the strategies that have made Muskellunge fishery management successful.

research-and-management workshops-and-conferences

(English) Kerr, S. J. 2010. Fish and fisheries management in Ontario: A chronology of events. Fisheries Policy Section. Biodiversity Branch. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. Peterborough, Ontario. 80 p. + appendices.

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Research and Management

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Ontario has a long history of fisheries management dating back well over a century. This report has been prepared in an attempt to identify events of significance to fisheries managers and detail how fisheries management has evolved over the past 200 years. It is a mixture of history, anecdotes, and factual information. Information has been drawn from a variety of published sources. In addition, many MNR staff have contributed information for the preparation of this chronology. It is hoped that this document will serve as a useful reference for new MNR staff as well as members of the public having an interest in Ontario’s fisheries.

research-and-management

(English) Farrell, J. M., R. M. Klindt, J. M. Casselman, S. R. LaPan, R. G. Werner and A. Sciavone. 2007. Development, implementation and evaluation of an international muskellunge management strategy for the upper St. Lawrence River. Environmental Biology of Fishes 79:111-123.

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Research and Management

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The muskellunge, Esox masquinongy, fishery in the St Lawrence River is believed to have declined significantly from historical levels and reached critically low levels during the 1970s. Over-exploitation caused by liberal angling regulations, and loss and alteration of critical spawning and nursery habitat probably contributed to this decline. In 1980, a St Lawrence River Muskellunge Management Work Group comprising resource managers and several advisors, including E.J. Crossman, to whom this symposium is dedicated, was created to address research and management needs. A trophy muskellunge management strategy was implemented including more restrictive harvest regulations, public education promoting “catch and release”, and protection of spawning and nursery habitats. Age and growth information obtained from cleithra analysis indicated the need for increased size limits to adequately protect spawning stocks. Research efforts have developed a biological information base and monitoring tools to guide management decisions and evaluate responses. Over 100 spawning and nursery locations have been identified in US and Canadian waters leading to improved protection of critical habitats. An angler diary program shows a decline in the number of fish being harvested and a local muskellunge release award program implemented in 1987 has logged over 1000 releases of fish at least 44″ in length. Adult muskellunge monitoring in eleven spawning areas revealed an increase in mean total length of over 63 mm (>2.5 inches) after the regulation changes. Monitoring of age-0 muskellunge by use of seining surveys (1997–2005) indicates consistent reproductive success with the potential for several strong year-classes. Improvements in the muskellunge population and fishery are attributed to the progressive management action and a united community response.

research-and-management

(English) Crane, D. P., L. M. Miller, J. S. Diana, J. M. Casselman, J. M. Farrell, K. L. Kapuscinski and J. K. Nohner. 2015. Muskellunge and northern pike ecology and management: Important issues and research needs. Fisheries 40:258-267.

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Research and Management

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New research techniques and changing Muskellunge Esox masquinongy and Northern Pike E. lucius fisheries have contributed to paradigm shifts in the science and management of these species. A symposium on Muskellunge and Northern Pike biology, ecology and management was held at the American Fisheries Society Annual Meeting in Little Rock, Arkansas, and a panel discussion following the symposium identified several research and management priorities, including spawning habitat identification, habitat and population restoration, genetics, and selective mortality and exploitation. Future Muskellunge and Northern Pike research should focus on quantifying egg and age‐0 survival based on habitat characteristics, rigorously evaluating habitat restoration efforts using statistically sound study designs, describing range‐wide genetic structure of populations, and developing a better understanding of how selective mortality and exploitation can alter population size structure, sex ratios, and life history characteristics. Information and outcomes from the proposed research and management priorities will be critical for conserving and restoring self‐sustaining populations of Muskellunge and Northern Pike.

research-and-management

(English) Van Poorten, B. T., S. P. Cox and A. B. Cooper. 2013. Efficacy of harvest and minimum size limit regulations for controlling short term harvest in recreational fisheries. Fisheries Management and Ecology 20:258-267.

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Regulations and Enforcement

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It is important to consider the potential effectiveness of regulations for reducing total harvest levels when developing fishery management plans. A random forest (RF) modelling approach was used to examine how changing per‐angler harvest or minimum size limit regulations affected sport fishery harvest in US Atlantic coast recreational fisheries. Harvest limits per angler (i.e. bag limits) were typically high initially and subsequently reduced, whereas almost half of minimum length limits were initially below the length‐at‐maturity and subsequently increased. Across most fisheries examined, extreme reductions in harvest limits (e.g. from unlimited to catch‐and‐release) were largely ineffective at limiting total fishery harvest. Increasingly restrictive minimum length limits caused a greater average harvest reduction than per‐angler harvest limits. Some regulation changes were associated with higher angling effort and thus increased harvest, which suggests that when effort cannot be constrained, more direct harvest limitations should be considered.

regulations-and-enforcement

(English) Margenau, T. L. and S. P. AveLallemant. 2000. Effects of a 40 inch minimum length limit on muskellunge in Wisconsin. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 20:986-993.

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Regulations and Enforcement

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Management agencies commonly use high minimum length limits for muskellunge Esox masquinongy to achieve the goal of trophy fisheries. Evaluations of length-limit effects on muskellunge populations have been limited. We evaluated the effects of a 40-in minimum length limit (total length) on seven northern Wisconsin lakes and compared the results to eight lakes that remained at the statewide minimum length limit of 32 or 34 in. Five years after its implementation, the 40-in minimum length limit did not increase adult muskellunge abundance or size structure compared with reference lakes. Variation among lakes dictates that low-density species such as muskellunge be monitored for extended periods and that reference waters also be monitored to aid interpretation of data and development of meaningful management recommendations.

regulations-and-enforcement

(English) Radomski, P. J., G. C. Grant, P. C. Jacobson and M. F. Cook. Visions for recreational fishing regulations. Fisheries 26:7-18

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Regulations and Enforcement

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We review sportfishing regulations in Minnesota and across North America and discuss potential visions for the future of sportfishing regulations. Creel limits are ubiquitous across North America and they have been generally set arbitrarily with little biological justification. Anglers may not accept reductions in creel limits that actually decrease total harvest. Length-based regulations are now common and most North American sport fish management agencies had numerous water-specific length-based regulations. The future of fishing regulations could continue to get more complex but there are substantial shortcomings to this future. We present four visions of the future of freshwater recreational fishing, and we pose the question « Does the fact we are managing a pleasure sport mean that we need to rethink our fisheries management philosophy? » Future management of sport fish may rely less on biology and more on social science as we learn to optimize angler satisfaction. Although biology should be the basis for future management, other aspects of the fishing experience besides the number and size of fish caught could be managed. We will need to manage « how people fish » and understand « why people fish » to improve the angling experience. Since many of us chose this profession for nobler reasons than pleasure or sport management, we have difficulties addressing the social issues of fishing quality.

regulations-and-enforcement

(English) Cornelius, R. R. and T. L. Margenau. 1999. Effects of length limits on muskellunge in Bone Lake, Wisconsin. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 19:300-308.

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Regulations and Enforcement

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Minimum length limits are a commonly used management tool for protecting fisheries from exploitation and for improving population size structure. However, little is known about the effects of minimum length limits on populations of muskellunge Esox masquinongy. We monitored changes in the muskellunge population in Bone Lake, a 1,781-acre lake in northwest Wisconsin over a 31-year period (1964–1995) during which time length limits were changed from 30 in to 34 in and from 34 in to 40 in. These changes were compared with population changes in nearby Deer Lake (807 acres), where the length limit remained at the statewide minimum of 32 in. Mean length of adult muskellunge in Bone Lake increased from 31.3 in in 1964 to 36.0 in in 1995. Adult (≥30-in) muskellunge abundance in Bone Lake increased more than five-fold during the study and reached a density of 0.99 fish/acre. Abundance of larger (≥38-in) muskellunge increased 269% following minimum length limit increases between 1982 and 1995. Relative weight (Wr) of Bone Lake muskellunge decreased during the study, suggesting intraspecific competition for food resources. The muskellunge population in Deer Lake also had positive increases in size structure, but the increases were not as great as those in Bone Lake, and population abundance did not change. Results from this study suggest that high minimum length limits can increase abundance and mean length of a muskellunge population, but biologists need to consider long-term effects on the fish community if high densities are achieved.

regulations-and-enforcement

(English) Casselman, J. M. 2007. Determining minimum ultimate size, setting size limits and developing trophy standards and indices of comparable size for maintaining quality muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) populations and sport fisheries. Environmental Biology of Fishes 79:137-154.

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Age and Growth, Regulations and Enforcement

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Growth and ultimate size can provide important population insights and a sound biological basis for setting length limits, which can be the best single regulation for preventing overexploitation of muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) populations. A system was developed, using cleithral age and total length at age confidence limits (CL) data, to determine reproductive and growth potential (ultimate size) for calculating and setting increased size limits based on minimum reproductive size (upper 99% CL at age at first maturity + 2 year) and minimum ultimate size (MUS) calculated from the lower 99% CL—minimum ultimate size limit (MUSL). MUS also provides a trophy standard and an index of relative size for comparing trophy potential of individuals within and among populations. Guidelines are provided for determining minimum sample size (mean ± 95% confidence interval = 12 ± 4) and minimum age (8–10 ± 2.0 year) required to produce valid von Bertalanffy growth trajectories. MUS, MUSL, and trophy standards for both length and estimated weight are provided for female and male muskellunge from 14 Ontario sources. Mean MUS, or trophy standard, for females was 115 ± 10.3 cm (MUSL range 75–135) and 11.1 ± 2.6 kg (2.5–17.5) and for males was 95 ± 7.5 cm (66–110) and 6.1 ± 1.3 kg (1.9–9.2). These indices can precisely define growth and growth potential for muskellunge populations and individuals and can be used to better manage and maintain or improve the quality of muskellunge populations and fisheries.

age-and-growth regulations-and-enforcement

(English) Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. 2003 (updated in 2005). Regulatory guidelines for managing the muskellunge sport fishery in Ontario.; Fisheries Policy Section. Fish and Wildlife Branch. Peterborough, Ontario. 9 p.

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Regulations and Enforcement

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Muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) are native only to North America and are distributed across the northeastern portion of the continent. In Ontario, there are at least 302 lakes and 105 streams and rivers, which support populations of muskellunge (OMNR 1987, Kerr 2001). Their distribution occurs in the southcentral and northwestern parts of the province. All of Ontario’s muskellunge fisheries are based on naturally reproducing stocks. The only muskellunge stocking program currently underway involves small plantings of fish in the Spanish River area of the North Channel, Lake Huron, which are intended to restore a degraded population. There is also interest in the rehabilitation of Lake Simcoe’s muskellunge population.

Muskellunge are a highly valued fish species. Ontario provides a wide diversity of angling opportunities ranging from those who merely wish to catch a fish to other anglers who may desire the opportunity to catch a trophy or even a world record.

A unique aspect of muskellunge fisheries is that most anglers practice a catch-and-release ethic with very little post-release mortality. It is estimated that less than 10% of the muskellunge angled from Ontario waters are actually harvested. This fact must be considered when regulatory options are being reviewed.

In Ontario, muskellunge have traditionally been managed on a regulatory basis by the use of closed seasons, catch and possession limits, size limit regulations and fish sanctuaries (see review by Kerr 1998). There have been two provincial reviews (1985 and 1999) of muskellunge regulations in the past. Over the past decade there has been a tendency for regulations to become increasingly complex and poorly rationalized. These guidelines have been prepared to 3 identify the most effective regulatory options to ensure sustainability and provide trophy fishing opportunities, based on existing science and current knowledge, and to simplify regulations, which are ultimately selected.

regulations-and-enforcement

(English) Simonson, T. D. and S. W. Hewitt. 1999. Trends in Wisconsin’s muskellunge fishery. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 19:291-299.

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Recreational Fisheries

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Wisconsin’s populations of muskellunge Esox masquinongy provide an important recreational fishery. Our objectives were to (1) evaluate progress of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources muskellunge management plan, (2) examine subsequent changes in the fishery, and (3) evaluate Wisconsin’s muskellunge waters classification system. With the goal of maintaining viable populations and a trophy fishery, the 1979 plan endorsed more restrictive harvest regulations, an increased supply of muskellunge fishing opportunities, and increased data collection. Since the 1980s, muskellunge fishing opportunities have increased 75% in terms of lake acres and 51% in terms of stream miles. Hatchery production and stocking efficacy have improved to the point where the department needs to reevaluate current stocking practices. With the establishment of a shorter season, a higher statewide minimum length limit, and an increased use of special regulations, harvest regulations have become progressively more restrictive. Concurrently, muskellunge‐specific fishing effort increased from the 1980s to the 1990s. Harvest of muskellunge declined even though catch remained unchanged. Reducing the season length and increasing the overall availability of muskellunge angling opportunities did not reduce fishing effort on premier muskellunge lakes, but rather compressed effort into a shorter time period on increasingly popular waters. The reduction in harvest was associated with more restrictive regulations and voluntary changes in angler behavior (i.e., increased release of legal‐sized muskellunge). Without voluntary release, it is likely that angler harvest would have exceeded levels needed to sustain the fishery. The muskellunge waters classification system, based originally on professional judgment, proved useful in distinguishing the fishery potential of lakes. Preliminary evidence suggests that voluntary constraints on harvest have not improved the size‐structure of Wisconsin muskellunge populations because of continued harvest of nontrophy‐sized fish. If our goal remains to provide a trophy fishery, more restrictive size‐specific restrictions on harvest may be needed.

recreational-fisheries

(English) Kapuscinski, K. L., J. M. Farrell and M. A> Wilkinson. 2014. Trends in muskellunge population and fishery characteristics in Buffalo Harbor (Lake Erie) and the Niagara River. Journal of Great Lakes Research 40:125-134.

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Case Histories, Recreational Fisheries

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We review the history of muskellunge management and describe population and fishery responses to management actions. Stocking of muskellunge in the Niagara River occurred sporadically from 1941 to 1974 when angler harvest was common. Since the late 1970s, managers have enacted increasingly restrictive minimum length limits and anglers adopted a catch-and-release ethic. Despite these efforts, angler catches declined sharply after 1991 in Buffalo Harbor and 1984 in the upper Niagara River; catch rates rebounded after 2006 in the Niagara River, but remain near all-time lows in Buffalo Harbor. In addition, mean catch rates of young-of-the-year (YOY) in fall electrofishing surveys declined from 3.3/h in 1992–1993 to 1.7/h in 2006–2009 in Buffalo Harbor and 11.0/h in 1992–1994 to 5.4/h in 2006–2009 in the Niagara River. Several ecosystem changes occurred that likely contributed to reductions in muskellunge populations, but comprehensive monitoring programs were not in place to quantify these effects. Recent seining surveys show YOY muskellunge production during 2007–2011 was highly variable among index sites (within years) and years, but catch per unit effort was 5.3 times higher at Niagara River sites than Buffalo Harbor sites; catch per unit effort of all fishes was 9.5 times higher in the upper Niagara River than Buffalo Harbor. Both areas are in need of habitat restoration, but habitats in Buffalo Harbor appear especially poor for nearshore fishes. Uncertainty about which factors led to declines in angler catches of muskellunge and YOY production demonstrates the need for a comprehensive monitoring program and formal muskellunge management plan.

case-histories recreational-fisheries

(English) Brenden, T. O., E. M. Hallerman, B. R. Murphy, J. R. Copeland and J. A. Williams. 2007. The New River, Virginia, muskellunge fishery: Population dynamics, harvest regulation, monitoring and angler attitudes. Environmental Biology of Fishes 79:11-25.

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Recreational Fisheries

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Although muskellunge, Esox masquinongy, fisheries in northern US states and Canadian provinces are increasingly being managed by introduction of restrictive harvest regulations (e.g. 1370-mm (54′′) minimum length limits), many southern US muskellunge fisheries continue to be managed with comparatively liberal regulations (e.g. 762-mm (30′′) minimum length limits) that are implemented statewide. We studied the population dynamics of the New River, Virginia, muskellunge fishery and used predictive modeling to determine whether restrictive harvest regulations also might prove beneficial for this southern latitude fishery. A creel survey was also conducted to learn more about angler attitudes to the New River muskellunge fishery. Muskellunge grew quickly, with fish reaching harvestable lengths (762 mm, 30′′) in 2–3 years. Muskellunge fishing pressure, harvest rates, and voluntary release rates were low compared with reports for more northern areas. Most anglers, irrespective of how often they fished for muskellunge, defined “trophy” muskellunge to be approximately 1050–1100 mm (41–43′′) in length. Although angler support for restrictive harvest regulations was low, abundance of memorable-length (≥1070 mm, 42′′) muskellunge was predicted to increase under all evaluated length limits. Muskellunge yield would remain static at 914-mm (36′′) and 1016-mm (40′′) length limits, because of the rapid growth of fish, but yield would decline dramatically with a 1143-mm (45′′) length limit, because male muskellunge rarely exceeded 1100 mm (43′′). Because of rapid growth and low release rates, implementation of higher length limits (e.g. 965–1067 mm, 38–42′′) may indeed prove beneficial for augmenting “trophy” muskellunge production on the New River. Angler support for higher minimum length limits might be increased by educating anglers about the rapid growth rates of muskellunge and the expected size structure changes that will result from a length-limit increase. Size structure changes resulting from an increase in the minimum length limit may be difficult to detect because of potential increases in fishing pressure or reduced fish growth as a result of competition for food resources. Long-term monitoring of muskellunge growth and angling pressure may therefore be needed to ensure that new regulations are indeed benefitting the fishery.

recreational-fisheries

(English) Kapuscinski, K. L., B. J. Belonger, S. Fajfer and T. J. Lychwick. 2007. Population dynamics of muskellunge in Wisconsin waters of Green Bay, Lake Michigan, 1989-2005. Environmental Biology of Fishes 79:27-36.

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Population Dynamics

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Muskellunge, Esox masquinongy, were an important component of the Green Bay ecosystem prior to mid 1900s, but were extirpated by over-fishing, pollution, habitat degradation, and the introduction of exotic species. The Green Bay ecosystem improved after the passage of the Clean Water Act, and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WI DNR) started a muskellunge reintroduction program in 1989. Monitoring the results of reintroduction efforts is necessary to achieve the program goal of establishing a self-sustaining population. We used available data to provide a 2005 spawner abundance estimate for a Green Bay tributary, estimates of contributions to that spawning stock from fall fingerling and yearling stocking, a weight–length relationship, a growth analysis, and a description of size and age at maturity. Our results indicate that stocking efforts have been successful in producing an adult population, with yearlings contributing to the spawning stock at a higher proportion than fingerlings (14.69:1). Our weight–length and growth analyses suggest that Green Bay muskellunge are unlikely to reach record length, but that it is possible for females to achieve record weight. The rapid growth of Green Bay muskellunge results in their maturing at larger sizes than other stocks, but the relationship between age and maturity is not well understood. Reintroduction efforts in Green Bay have created stocked populations capable of supporting trophy fisheries, but evidence of successful natural reproduction has not been observed. Future research should focus on the reproductive requirements of muskellunge reintroduced into altered habitats.

population-dynamics

(English) Frohnauer, N. K., C. L. Pierce and W. Kallemeyn. 2007. Population dynamics and angler exploitation of the unique muskellunge population in Shoepack Lake, Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 27:63-76.

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Population Dynamics

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A unique population of muskellunge Esox masquinongy inhabits Shoepack Lake in Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota. Little is known about its status, dynamics, and angler exploitation, and there is concern for the long-term viability of this population. We used intensive sampling and mark–recapture methods to quantify abundance, survival, growth, condition, age at maturity and fecundity and angler surveys to quantify angler pressure, catch rates, and exploitation. During our study, heavy rain washed out a dam constructed by beavers Castor canadensis which regulates the water level at the lake outlet, resulting in a nearly 50% reduction in surface area. We estimated a population size of 1,120 adult fish at the beginning of the study. No immediate reduction in population size was detected in response to the loss of lake area, although there was a gradual, but significant, decline in population size over the 2-year study. Adults grew less than 50 mm per year, and relative weight (W r) averaged roughly 80. Anglers were successful in catching, on average, two fish during a full day of angling, but harvest was negligible. Shoepack Lake muskellunge exhibit much slower growth rates and lower condition, but much higher densities and angler catch per unit effort (CPUE), than other muskellunge populations. The unique nature, limited distribution, and location of this population in a national park require special consideration for management. The results of this study provide the basis for assessing the long-term viability of the Shoepack Lake muskellunge population through simulations of long-term population dynamics and genetically effective population size.

population-dynamics

(English) Eslinger, L. D., D. M. Dolan and S. P. Newman. 2010. Factors affecting recruitment of age-0 muskellunge in Escanaba Lake, Wisconsin, 1987-2006. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 30:908-920.

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Population Dynamics, Spawning and Reproduction

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We modeled variation in recruitment (R) of age-0 muskellunge Esox masquinongy to identify factors influencing their abundance in Escanaba Lake, Wisconsin. Muskellunge R declined over the study period and ranged from 0.00 to 1.85 age-0 fish/km of shoreline (mean = 0.42 age-0 fish/km of shoreline). A Ricker stock–recruitment model determined that the following factors explained 88% of the variation in annual R of age-0 muskellunge between 1987 and 2006: abundance and age structure of the adult muskellunge population, abundance of bluntnose minnow Pimephales notatus, abundance of age-3 and older (age-3+) walleyes Sander vitreus, abundance of age-0 white suckers Catostomus commersonii, and coefficient of variation (CV) of May water temperatures. Abundance of adult muskellunge (≥76.2 cm total length) accounted for only 1% of the variation in R and showed no significant relationship with R. Abundance of bluntnose minnow improved the model fit to 40% of the variation in R and indicated that higher R was achieved with greater numbers of bluntnose minnow. The average age of adult muskellunge further improved the model fit to 59% of the variation in R, suggesting that R increased when more young adults were present in the population. The abundance of age-3+ walleyes enhanced the model fit to 69% of the variation in R and indicated that greater R occurred with high numbers of walleyes. The abundance of age-0 white suckers improved the model to explain 77% of the variation in R and indicated that more recruits occurred when numbers of age-0 white suckers were low. Finally, the CV of May water temperatures further improved the model to explain 88% of the variation in R and signified that lower variability in May water temperatures was beneficial to recruitment success. We interpret the model results to mean that muskellunge R in Escanaba Lake is regulated by the reproductive potential of the adult muskellunge population, forage availability, variation in May water temperatures, and other community dynamics.

population-dynamics spawning-and-reproduction

(English) Muir, B. S. 1964. Vital statistics of Esox masquinongy in Nogies Creek, Ontario: Population size, natural mortality and effects of fishing. Journal of the Fisheries Research Board of Canada 221:727-746.

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Population Dynamics

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Several methods for the estimation of population size and natural mortality are used and evaluated, for the Nogies Creek maskinonge, with consideration being given to the sources of error and correcting factors discussed by Muir (1963a). The Schumacher tagging method and a method using only catch and average exploitation are found to be equally useful.The same catch and exploitation method is used to estimate natural mortality and the estimates agree with those from the Beverton and Holt type method. Both methods suffer from large year-to-year errors but the 9-year average appears to be a useful statistic. Natural mortality increases with age and is about 15% per year for age IV and older and about 24% per year for age V and older.There is only a 2-fold variation in the estimated age IV size of year-classes. The smallest of 9 year-classes was 302 and the largest was 604. No effect of fishing on subsequent year-class production could be demonstrated during the period of study. Heavy fishing did, however, remove large numbers of older fish with a resultant increase in catchability of the younger fish.

population-dynamics

(English) Miles, H. M., S. M. Loehner, D. T. Mimchaud and S. L. Salivar. 1974. Physiological responses of hatchery-reared muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) to handling. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 103:336-342.

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Physiology

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Increases in plasma lactate and glucose concentrations, along with decreases in plasma chloride and liver glycogen concentrations, were observed in muskellunge in response to capture and handling. Holding muskellunge in 0.3% NaCl alleviated some of the physiological symptoms of stress, but holding the fish in the lake for 48 hr before release had no effect. Physiological responses to fin-clipping and transport by truck were slight in comparison to that of original capture. Salt treatment and reduction in duration and frequency of handling is recommended.

physiology

(English) Lin, F., K. Drabrowski and L. P. M. Timmermans. 1997. Early gonadal development and sexual differentiation in muskellunge (Esox masquinongy). Canadian Journal of Zoology 75:1262-1269.

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Physiology

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Primordial germ cells (PGCs) were first identified in muskellunge (Esox masquinongymm TL were at the early stage of perinucleolus (early diplotene). Our observations indicate that in muskellunge ( mm TL. Female gonads contained lobes with germ cells, including oogonia, early-prophase oocytes, and large oocytes. Spermatogonia and cells undergoing mitosis were observed in the testis. Ovaries in a fish of 250 mm TL, female gonads could be clearly identified from the ovarian sac and groups of oogonia, whereas in another type of gonad, the morphology of undifferentiated gonads was maintained. Germ cells became numerous in both sexes at 211 mm TL, while the germ cells were still considered to be undifferentiated. In a fish of 138 mm TL. Some of the PGCs underwent mitotic division at this stage. The ovarian sac started to develop in a fish of 82 mm TL, gonad strings were complete and formed a typical gonad shape in cross section. Blood vessels were first found in the gonads with Crossmon staining at 46 mm total length (TL) 3 weeks post fertilization. At 32 ) of 14i) the PGCs remained in a resting state for up to 8 weeks post fertilization, (ii) gametogenesis occurred earlier in females than in males, (iii) the gonads developed from an undifferentiated stage directly into an ovary or testis, and (iv) the somatic elements in the gonads differentiated prior to the germ cells.

physiology

(English) Jonas, J. L., C. E. Craft and T. L. Margenau. 1996. Assessment of seasonal changes in energy density and condition in age-0 and age-1 muskellunge. Transactions of the
American Fisheries Society 125:203-210.

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Physiology

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The objectives of this study were to evaluate seasonal changes in the energy density of age-0 and age-1 muskellunge Esox masquinongy and to compare energy density to various estimates of condition. Three treatment groups of muskellunge were evaluated to determine temporal changes in energy density (J/g wet weight [ww]), water content, condition factor (K TL; K = W/L 3, where W = weight and L = total length in centimeters), and relative weight (Wr .; ratio of actual to “standard” weight) through the first year following hatching. Treatment groups were (1) hatchery (muskellunge reared and maintained in hatchery ponds), (2) stocked (hatchery-reared muskellunge stocked in lakes), and (3) natural (muskellunge naturally produced in lakes). Energy levels and relative condition were compared for fish 4 and 11 months old. Differences in energy density were observed between all three treatment groups. An average overwinter reduction of 494 ± 192 J/g ww in energy density was observed over all treatment groups combined. Natural fish lost less energy (8%) over winter than either hatchery (12%) or stocked fish (15%). A simple linear model effectively relates energy to indices of condition for muskellunge. A weak positive relation (P < 0.0001, r 2 = 0.39, 0.40, and 0.43) was observed between dry weight energy density and three indicators of fish condition (percent water, K, and Wr ). Our results show that condition indices may not be the best indicators of seasonal fluctuations in total energy within and between fish populations. Seasonal fluctuations in energetic values for a population can be more accurately determined through assessment of percent water in individual fish.

physiology

(English) Wolter, M. H., C. S. DeBoom and D. H. Wahl. 2013. Field and laboratory evaluation of dam escapement of muskellunge. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 33:829-838.

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Movements

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Muskellunge Esox masquinongy occur in many Midwestern reservoirs where dam escapement is often reported. Because densities of Muskellunge in many reservoirs are low, escapement is a concern. Little is known regarding the factors that influence rates of Muskellunge dam escapement or the proportion of reservoir populations that escape annually. We used controlled laboratory experiments to examine how juvenile Muskellunge interact with flow over a barrier at varying levels of turbidity, flow rate, habitat availability, and periods in the diel cycle. In the field we inserted PIT tags into juvenile and adult Muskellunge, monitored their escapement over a dam with an antenna array, and then compared escapement among demographic groups and described escapement in relation to precipitation events, water temperature, and water clarity. Both laboratory and field studies found Muskellunge were more likely to escape during the day than at night. We estimated that 25% of a reservoir Muskellunge population escaped within the 1-year period of this study, with escapement occurring during late spring but not during fall. Adults were more likely to escape than juveniles, and both sexes escaped at equal rates. Methods developed here can be used to provide useful information to managers and develop mitigation practices to limit escapement in situations where it is not desirable.

movements

(English) Tipping, J. M. 2001. Movement of tiger muskellunge in Mayfield Reservoir,Washington. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 21:683-687.

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Movements

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Sixteen 67–100-cm tiger muskellunge (hybrids of northern pike Esox lucius and muskellunge E. masquinongy) were implanted with ultrasonic tags and tracked in Mayfield Reservoir for 7–34 months to determine seasonal movements. Year-to-year site fidelity was observed, and the area occupied in summer and fall was about one-third of that occupied in winter and spring. The distance traveled by fish in summer–fall was about half of that in winter–spring. Tiger muskellunge were located in aquatic macrophytes in 2–3 m of water in summer–fall and offshore in 5–10 m of water in winter–spring. These results are consistent with research on both parent species and suggest that interactions with salmonids may be minimal.

movements

(English) Muir, B. S. and J. G., Sweet. 1964. The survival, growth and movement of Esox masquinongy transplanted from Nogies Creek sanctuary to public fishing waters. Canadian Fish Culturist 32:31-44.

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Movements

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Conservationists in Ontario have been concerned for many years with the apparent decline in numbers of the maskinonge, or lunge (Esox masquinongy). A great deal of effort has been expended in artificial propagation with the aim of augmenting natural reproduction, and large numbers of fry and fingerlings have been planted throughout southern Ontario each year. In 1960, for example, approximately four million fry and fifty thousand fingerlings were reared at the provincial hatchery at Deer Lake and planted throughout the province. In view of the many natural enemies of juveniles, and since maskinonge do not normally reach maturity until the fifth or sixth year, there would appear to be merit in raising the fish to a larger size before planting. Elson (1940), experimenting with the planting of fry in a nursery area, obtained a minimum survival of 0.08% for the first year. The experiments were not, however, pursued. In 1952 the transplanting of juvenile and adult maskinonge from Nogies Creek Sanctuary was begun, to determine their value in restocking public lakes. Although hatchery fingerlings were planted into the sanctuary from 1952 on (Muir, 1960), the bulk of the harvested fish were the result of natural reproduction by the resident population. It is noteworthy however, that the planted hatchery fingerlings displayed a survival rate (to age III) ranging from about three per cent to about ten per cent (unpublished). The present report deals with the survival, growth and movement, until time of recapture, of the fish transplanted from the sanctuary.

movements

(English) Crossman, E. J. 1977. Displacement and home range movements of muskellunge determined by ultrasonic tracking. Environmental Biology of Fishes 1:145-158.

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Movements

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Five adult or subadult muskellunge, Esox masquinongy (Salmoniformes: Esocoidei), were tracked over periods of 6–11 days by means of ultrasonic (74 ± 1 Khz) transmitters, surgically implanted in the body cavity. One of these fish demonstrated that survival and well-being for over a year is probable. There was no apparent effect on equilibrium, swimming, or feeding. There was also no apparent abnormally high amount of movement immediately after release.

Signal range was at times no greater than 10 m (in contrast to a potential of 1 km) as a result of the air in the dense aquatic vegetation.

Area occupied by a single individual for a protracted period could be described as a linear distance of 300–800 m in the stream, or a circle 300 m in diameter in the lake. Displaced individuals returned to a specific locality. Following spawning they do so over a distance as great as 6.4 km in a maximum of two days. There was evidence that two individuals used the same general area simultaneously.

Subsequent results with some of the same individuals indicated that radio transmitters are more practical and yield better results in the situation under study.

movements

(English) Crossman, E. J. 1856. Growth, mortality and movements of a sanctuary population of maskinonge (Esox masquinongy). Journal of the Fisheries Research Board of Canada 13:599-612.

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Age and Growth, Movements

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A Schumacher population estimate based on 995 maskinonge taken by trap nets, between the months of May and October in the years 1951–1953, set the number of maskinonge in Nogies Creek at between 769 and 1,122 in July 1953. The mean standard length of these fish was 53.0cm. S.L. in the first year) compared favourably with that for maskinonge in other waters. Fish of age-groups II, III and IV predominated. The small number of fish over four years of age was apparently due to a 70% annual mortality rate at least after the third year of life and perhaps before age III.Recaptures of tagged maskinonge demonstrated that there was little movement of maskinonge in summer, and what movement there was, was mainly upstream. In the fall there was far more movement of fish, and this was mainly in a downstream direction.The area supports a fairly large population of maskinonge but the high mortality after three years of age limits its value for raising maskinonge to legal size. The potential for rearing fish to three years of age is such that it may be very advantageous to move hatchery fish here for one or two years before liberation. cm. The rate of growth (26.3

age-and-growth movements

(English) Scott, W. B. and E. J. Crossman. 1973. Muskellunge. p. 363-370 In Freshwater fishes of Canada. Bulletin 184. Fisheries Research Board of Canada. Ottawa, Ontario. 966 p.

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Miscellaneous

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Muskellunge. p. 363-370 In Freshwater fishes of Canada

miscellaneous

(English) LeBeau, B. 1992. Historical ecology of northern pike (Esox lucius) , muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) and maskinonge, a new species of Esox (subgenus mascalongus) from North America. Ph. D. Dissertation. University of Toronto. Toronto, Ontario.

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Miscellaneous

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Historical ecology of northern pike, muskellunge and maskinonge, a new species of Esox from North America.

miscellaneous

(English) Casselman, J. M. 2007. Dr. E. J. (Ed) Crossman’s scientific contributions on muskellunge: Celebrating a lasting legacy. Environmental Biology of Fishes 19:5-10.

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Miscellaneous

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Dr. E. J. (Ed) Crossman’s scientific contributions on muskellunge: Celebrating a lasting legacy.

miscellaneous

(English) Stein, R. A., R. F. Carline and R. S. Hayward. 1981. Largemouth bass predation on stocked tiger muskellunge. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 110:604-612.

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Interactions with Other Species

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To better understand why stocked esocids survive poorly, we estimated mortality rates of tiger muskellunge (F1 hybrid of female muskellunge Esox masquinongy x male northern pike E. lucius) that were placed into two Ohio reservoirs (mean fish total lengths, 171 and 179 mm; 62 fish per hectare). Because pond experiments showed that hybrids stocked at night experienced mortality rates as high as those released during the day, we stocked tiger muskellunge into lakes during the day. Mortality of stocked hybrids (estimated by catch per effort of electrofishing) exceeded 95% within 40 days in both lakes. Population estimates of largemouth bass Micropterus salmoides coupled with stomach-content data revealed that these predators accounted for 26% and 45% of the numbers stocked in the two lakes. In addition, some hybrids died from thermal stress. Improved survival of tiger muskellunge should result if they are stocked at lengths greater than 250 mm to reduce predation losses, and late in fall when thermal stress is reduced.

interactions-with-other-species

(English) Knapp, M. L., S. W. Mero, D. J. Bohlander, D. F. Staples and J. A. Younk. 2012. Fish community responses to the introduction of muskellunge into Minnesota lakes. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 32:191-201.

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Interactions with Other Species

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The popularity of sportfishing for muskellunge Esox masquinongy in Minnesota has increased substantially during the last 20 years and has resulted in a call for creating more fishing opportunities. As new waters are considered for muskellunge management, some anglers have expressed concern over the effects on other popular game fish species of adding a top-level predator. We evaluated the responses of seven fish species to muskellunge by comparing gill-net and/or trap-net catch per unit effort (CPUE) before and after muskellunge were stocked in 41 Minnesota lakes composed of 12 lake-classes. The species examined were northern pike Esox lucius, walleye Sander vitreus, yellow perch Perca flavescens, bluegill Lepomis macrochirus, black crappie Pomoxis nigromaculatus, white sucker Catostomus commersonii, and cisco Coregonus artedi. We found no significant decreases among the lakes in the mean CPUE of any species after muskellunge stocking, either for the stocked lakes as a whole or within lake-classes. There was a significant increase in the mean CPUE for bluegills over the entire group of lakes and within lake-class 24 in addition to an increase in the mean CPUE for black crappies sampled by gill nets in lake-class 25. Nevertheless, there was large variability in the changes in CPUE among lakes, and several individual lakes had significant changes in mean CPUE for some species following muskellunge stocking. The trend in CPUE increased for yellow perch and declined for white suckers over the entire group of lakes after muskellunge stocking. Because Minnesota follows established, biologically based guidelines for selecting new muskellunge lakes, the study lakes were not chosen at random and therefore the study conclusions most appropriately apply to lakes chosen in this manner. The lack of consistent negative changes in CPUE after stocking suggests that these fish species have generally coexisted well with muskellunge in these lakes at the densities that have resulted from stocking.

interactions-with-other-species

(English) Kerr, S. J. and R. E. Grant. 2000. Muskellunge. p. 325-355 In Ecological impacts of fish introductions: Evaluating the risk. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. Peterborough, Ontario. 473 p.

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Interactions with Other Species

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Ecological impacts of fish introductions: Evaluating the risk

interactions-with-other-species

(English) Fayram, A. H., M. Hansen and T. E. Ehlinger. 2005. Interactions between walleye and four fish species with implications for walleye stocking. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 25:1321-1330.

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Interactions with Other Species

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We used a number of different data sets and four criteria to evaluate evidence of competition and predation between walleye Sander vitreus and northern pike Esox lucius, muskellunge E. masquinongy, smallmouth bass Micropterus dolomieu, and largemouth bass M. salmoides in northern Wisconsin lakes. The four criteria were as follows: (1) indices of population abundance were inversely related, (2) two species had shared resources or one species preyed on the other, (3) competition or predation was strong enough to produce a measurable effect, and (4) experimental manipulations produced results consistent with the hypothesis of competition or predation. Using these criteria, we identified which species interact most strongly with walleyes, determined the most likely mechanism for interaction (predation, competition, or both), and characterized the effects of walleye stocking on these species. Largemouth bass was the only species that strongly interacted with walleyes: (1) indices of largemouth bass and walleye population abundance were inversely related in lakes with self-sustaining walleye populations; (2) the diet of largemouth bass included juvenile walleyes; (3) walleye growth was positively related to indices of largemouth bass abundance; and (4) survival of stocked walleyes was negatively related to indices of largemouth bass abundance, and indices of largemouth bass abundances increased as an index of walleye stocking intensity increased. A bioenergetics analysis of one lake that was stocked with 39,300 juvenile walleyes, but also has some natural reproduction of walleyes, suggested that the largemouth bass population could consume up to 82,500 juvenile walleyes per year. Our findings suggest that largemouth bass interact strongly with walleyes through predation, that they can limit the survival of stocked walleyes, and that walleye stocking can result in increased largemouth bass populations. Therefore, management goals seeking to simultaneously maximize largemouth bass and walleye populations may be unrealistic.

interactions-with-other-species

(English) Farrell, J. M., R. G. Wewrner, S. R. LaPan and K. A. Claypool. 1996. Egg distribution and spawning habitat of northern pike and muskellunge in a St. Lawrence River marsh, New York. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 125:127-131.

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Habitat, Interactions with Other Species, Spawning and Reproduction

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Coexistence of northern pike Esox lucius and muskellunge Esox masquinongy in the Niagara and St. Lawrence rivers has been hypothesized to depend on segregation during spawning. However, large overlap in the use of spawning areas by these two species occurs in the Thousand Islands section of the upper St. Lawrence River. In this study, egg collections in Point Marguerite Marsh in the upper river revealed a partial temporal and spatial overlap in egg deposition by northern pike and muskellunge. Northern pike began spawning earlier but overlapped with muskellunge spawning for 2 weeks, May 13–27. Northern pike eggs were collected over a larger area than muskellunge eggs and at all locations where muskellunge eggs were collected. Both species deposited eggs over three dominant genera of vegetation: pondweeds Potamogeton, duckweeds Lemna, and stonewort Chara. Northern pike spawned over a wider range of water depths (0.5–2.6 m) than muskellunge (0.8–1.5 m) and selected habitats with denser, taller vegetative cover. The temporal and spatial overlap of northern pike and muskellunge egg deposition suggests that mechanisms other than spawning segregation permit these two species to coexist in the St. Lawrence River.

habitat interactions-with-other-species spawning-and-reproduction

(English) Cooper, J., J. V. Mead, J. M. Farrell and R. G. Werner. 2008. Potential effects of spawning habitat changes on the segregation of northern pike (Esox lucius) and muskellunge (E. masquinongy) in the Upper St. Lawrence River. Hydrobiologia 601:41-53.

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Habitat, Interactions with Other Species

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Changes in spawning habitat of northern pike (Esox lucius) may affect their segregation from and coexistence with the closely related muskellunge (E. masquinongy). We estimated the areal coverage of robust and shallow emergent vegetation in three shared-spawning bays in the Upper St. Lawrence River from aerial photographs taken from 1948 to 2003. Robust emergent vegetation (e.g., cattail) increased in coverage by 155–241% while shallow emergents (sedges) decreased by 46–96%. The loss of sedges, an important northern pike-spawning habitat, may facilitate greater spawning overlap in offshore-submersed aquatic vegetation within bay habitats used by muskellunge. Development rates and characteristics of northern pike and muskellunge eggs and larvae were compared to better understand the implications of greater spawning overlap. Northern pike eggs developed faster than muskellunge eggs at temperatures of 4.7–19°C, and adhesive eggs and the presence of adhesive papillae were present in both species. Equations were used to predict degree-day requirements for hatching and swim-up in three habitats (shallow emergents, bay, and offshore shoal) along a temperature gradient. Northern pike required more estimated degree days to reach hatching in bay and offshore shoal habitat relative to shallow emergent habitat due to cooler temperatures. Significant spawning overlap is known to occur within bay habitats, but poor success of northern pike in deep bay habitats and overall reductions in abundance are hypothesized to currently buffer muskellunge from potential negative interactions between these species.

habitat interactions-with-other-species

(English) Pyzer, G. 2019. Is it a muskie, pike or tiger? Here’s how the experts identify these fish. August 22 Issue of Outdoor Canada. Toronto, Ontario.

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Hybridization

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Is it a muskie, pike or tiger? Here’s how the experts identify these fish

hybridization

(English) Crossman, E. J. and K. Buss. 1965. Hybridization in the family Esocidae. Journal of the Fisheries Research Board of Canada 22:1261-1292.

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Hybridization

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Of 11 possible hybrids of species in the family Esocidae, six were known from nature and they are reviewed. The occurrence of a seventh, Esox lucius × Esox americanus americanus, is recorded. Of 22 possible reciprocal combinations of these species, five were previously known, five are still unknown, and 12 are newly described here. These 12 are based on artificial hybrids of known gametic constitution. Data are given on: description (young and oldest material available); growth; fertility; vitality and meristics are compared with parent populations. The low level of interspecific sterility was surprising. Some interspecific sterility exists between the two largest (Esox masquinongy Mitchill, Esox lucius Linnaeus) and the two smallest (Esox americanus Gmelin) forms. Total sterility does not exist as artificially one or other of the reciprocals was successful in each cross, including Esox masquinongy × Esox americanus. The hybrids exhibited the blending and intermediate nature usual in fish hybrids but colour pattern seemed tied to a particular parent. In nature only certain species hybridize, but it would appear that incompatibility of gametes has proceeded only to a limited extent. Other factors such as distribution, habitat, size, and behavior may be preventing hybridization.

hybridization

(English) Wahl, D. H. and R. A. Stein. 1993. Comparative population characteristics of muskellunge (Esox masquinongy), northern pike (E. lucius) and their hybrid (E. masquinongy x E. lucius). Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 50:1961-1968.

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Hybridization

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We compared growth, survival, diet, and angler catch of muskellunge (Esox masquinongy), northern pike (E. lucius), and tiger muskellunge (E. masquinongy x E. lucius) through 5 yr after their introduction into three Ohio reservoirs. Muskellunge grew slower than northern pike and tiger muskellunge through the first year but faster than northern pike in subsequent years. Large stocked esocids (180-205 mm) survived better than small ones (145 mm). Survival patterns established through the first fall were maintained through age 5; northern pike survived best, followed by muskellunge and tiger muskellunge. Angler catch reflected differences in survival as well as catchability among taxa. Northern pike were caught at smaller sizes and younger ages than other taxa. Gizzard shad (Dorosoma cepedianum) dominated esocid diets for all taxa and age classes, followed by centrarchids and cyprinids. Prey length consumed increased linearly with esocid length; northern pike selected larger gizzard shad than either muskellunge or tiger muskellunge. These differences in population characteristics among esocids should influence management and stocking programs. Whereas northern pike maximize angling opportunities, muskellunge probably will provide trophy fisheries. Although tiger muskellunge can be reared inexpensively, they appear to provide little recreational fishing in return.

hybridization

(English) Cameron, G. S. 1948. An unusual maskinonge from Little Vermilion Lake. p. 223-229 In Royal Ontario Museum Zoological Contribution 31. Toronto, Ontario.

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Hybridization

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An unusual type of maskinonge found in two lakes in Kenora District, Ontario, is regarded as a hybrid between Esox masquinongy and Esox lucius. It differs from the typical maskinonge found in the same waters in having a stouter body, longer and deeper head, longer maxillary, and longer fins. It retains dark vertical bars throughout life whereas in the typical form these break up and tend to disappear with age. Of 69 specimens examined, six were of the presumed hybrid type. These all appeared to be sterile. They showed the following Esox lucius characters—cheeks totally scaled, head concave interorbitally, cheeks and opercula vividly marked.

hybridization

(English) Weller, J. D. and P. Chow-Fraser. 2019. Development of a multi scale wetland resilience index from muskellunge nursery habitat in Georgian Bay, Lake Huron. Ecological Indicators 103:212-225.

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Habitat

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In a 2012 study, no age-0 muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) were found in any of 16 historic nursery sites in coastal marshes of southeastern Georgian Bay (SEGB), and this was attributed to sustained low water levels (1999–2013) that had altered the vegetation structure of nursery habitat. In the same study, age-0 muskellunge were found in 16 coastal marshes surveyed in northern Georgian Bay (NGB), even though these sites had been subjected to the same water-level conditions. We hypothesize that hydrogeomorphic features of NGB sites made them resilient to effects of sustained low lake levels that made the SEGB sites unsuitable for age-0 muskellunge. Compared to their SEGB counterparts, the NGB nursery sites were significantly steeper, deeper, and less sheltered under low water levels. We used these hydrogeomorphic features to develop a multi-scale Resilience Index (RI) for identifying coastal wetlands that are resilient to stable low lake levels. The RI correctly classified the NGB and SEGB nursery sites, with an area-under-the-curve score of 0.973. Coarser-scale variants of the RI provide a regional screening tool in the identification of resilient wetland habitat (e.g. potential muskellunge nursery habitat), and a basin-wide approach to identify vulnerable wetland habitats. This multi-scale index, in conjunction with targeted field surveys, should provide managers a useful tool in the face of uncertain water level forecasts.

habitat

(English) Pankhurst, K., J. D. Midwood, H. Wachelka and S. J. Cooke. 2016. Comparative spatial ecology of sympatric adult muskellunge and northern pike during a one year period in an urban reach of the Rideau River, Canada. Environmental Biology of Fishes 99:409-421.

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Habitat

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The reach of the Rideau River that flows through Ottawa, Ontario supports a recreational fishery for northern pike (Esox lucius) and muskellunge (Esox masquinongy). The reach is unique not only because such a vibrant esocid-based recreational fishery exists in an urban center, but that these two species co-occur. Typically, when these species occur sympatrically, northern pike tend to exclude muskellunge. To ensure the persistence of these esocid populations and the fisheries they support it is important to identify key spawning, nursery, foraging and over-wintering locations along this reach, and to evaluate the extent to which adults of the two species exhibit spatio-temporal overlap in habitat use. Radio-telemetry was used to track adult northern pike (N = 18; length 510 to 890 mm) and adult muskellunge (N = 15; length 695 to 1200 mm) on 73 occasions over one year, with particular focus on the breeding seasons (early April until the end of May [56 % tracking effort]). For the two esocids, we observed 19–60 % overlap in key aggregation areas during each season and during the spawning period. The minimum activity (average linear river distance travelled between consecutive tracking events) and core range (linear river distance within 95 % C.I. of mean river position) were greatest in the winter and fall for northern pike and in the spring for muskellunge. On average, northern pike were considerably smaller than muskellunge and had lower minimum activities and smaller core ranges, which could be a result of thermal biology, limited suitable habitat, prey availability or predation. Results from this study will inform future management of these unique esocid populations and should be considered before any habitat alterations occurs within or adjacent to the Rideau River.

habitat

LeBlanc, J. P., J. D. Weller and P. Chow-Fraser. 2014. Thirty year update: Changes in biological characteristics of degraded muskellunge nursery habitat in southern Georgian Bay, Lake Huron. Canadian Journal of Great Lakes Research 40:870-878.

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Habitat

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Aquatic vegetation is a critical component of nursery habitat for young-of-the-year (YOY) muskellunge. The trophy status of the muskellunge fishery in southeastern Georgian Bay owes its reputation to the widespread distribution of aquatic vegetation in coastal marshes of this region. Unfortunately, wetland habitat has been in decline because of an unprecedented period of sustained low water levels since 1999. In this study, we strategically resampled 16 historic sites that supported YOY muskellunge in 1981. The sustained low water levels and increased shoreline modifications experienced by southeastern Georgian Bay may have contributed to the current disappearance of YOY muskellunge at those sites. These physical stressors appeared to have altered the habitat structure of the plant community and led to changes in fish communities, making them no longer suitable for YOY muskellunge. The precise mechanisms limiting survival to the YOY stage are unknown because spawning adults have been observed in the area in the spring of 2012 and 2013. These results corroborated previous sampling programs at the historic sites (2004–2005: n = 8 and 2007: n = 16) that employed other fishing gears and protocols as well as a supplemental YOY sampling in 2013 (n = 26 additional sites). If this muskellunge population is to remain self-sustaining, a complementary management strategy specifically developed for Georgian Bay is required. The strategy should identify and ultimately protect suitable muskellunge breeding habitat by accounting for the unique geomorphology, current physical stressors affecting Georgian Bay, and the biological links between suitable spawning and nursery habitats.

habitat

(English) Farmer, B. and P. Chow-Fraser. 2004. A conceptual model of muskellunge spawning habitat. B.Sc. Thesis. McMaster University. Hamilton, Ontario. 19 p.

(English) Link

Habitat

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The muskellunge is an economically important and often declining sport fish restricted to eastern and central North America. To assist research and management, especially in the Georgian Bay area, a conceptual model of muskellunge spawning habitat was developed from a meta-analysis of available peer-reviewed and technical literature. The model incorporates three primary variables: water temperature (7.5-15oC), dissolved oxygen (> 5 mg/L) at the sediment-water interface, and adequate separation of individual eggs after deposition. The model also assumes that muskellunge spawning occurs in wetlands because of their known association with aquatic vegetation. Secondary variables influencing primary conditions include (1) depth, current and substrate colour (assumed to have an effect on temperature); (2) current, sediment oxygen demand, sediment compactness and plant density (assumed to have an effect on dissolved oxygen concentrations); and (3) particle size and plant density (assumed to have an effect on egg separation). Field validation of these results will help to clarify the relative importance of each variable, and thus allow for refinement of the model.

habitat

(English) Crane, D. P. and J. M. Farrell. 2015. Muskellunge egg incubation habitat in the upper Niagara River. Journal of Great Lakes Research 41:448-453.

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Habitat

Désolé, cet article est seulement disponible en Anglais Canadien.

Identification, conservation, and restoration of spawning and nursery habitats are essential for conserving the self-sustaining population of muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) in the upper Niagara River. The objectives of this study were to describe muskellunge egg incubation habitat, identify the most important habitat features associated with the presence of eggs, and make comparisons between spawning habitats identified through visual observation of spawning adults and collection of eggs. We conducted surveys for muskellunge eggs at four locations from 2012 through 2014 and used logistic regression to identify habitat features related to the presence or absence of eggs. We used Bayesian information criterion to select the most likely model and area under the receiver operating characteristic curve tests to determine variable importance and evaluate the model. One-hundred-thirty-six viable muskellunge eggs and two yolk-sac larvae were collected from 30 locations. The most likely model contained parameters for the percent rank of algae or aquatic macrophyte cover of the substrate and water depth. The percent rank of algae or aquatic macrophyte cover was the most important predictor of egg occurrence, and the odds of collecting a muskellunge egg increased by 100% for every 10 percentile increase in percent rank of cover. Spawning habitat features identified in this study were similar to those identified through visual observation of spawning adults. Muskellunge egg incubation locations and habitats should be protected from development and alteration to ensure the sustainability of muskellunge in the Niagara River.

habitat

(English) Rougemont, Q., A. Carrier, J. LeLuyer, A. L. Ferchaud, J. M. Farrell, D. Hatin. P. Brodeur and L. Bernatchez. 2018. Population genetics of muskellunge in the St. Lawrence River, its main tributaries and inland lakes of Quebec. Muskies Canada Inc. Montreal, Quebec.

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Genetics

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Over the past decades, an increasing number of fish species have undergone strong decrease in their abundance due to various human activities. Such activities may prevent the free movement of fish, generates pollution and habitat loss, overfishing and many additional problems. To overcome these demographic declines, numerous stocking programs have been implemented to sustain fish populations worldwide. This is the case of the Muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) in the province of Québec, Canada. The species is renowned for his trophy-size specimens which are highly prized by anglers. However, Muskellunge has undergone strong decline in abundance during the first half of the 20th century in the waters of the St. Lawrence River, especially in the greater Montréal region. Consequently, Muskellunge from Ontario and New York State were used for stocking over 1.5 million of individuals from 1950 to 1997. From 1950 to 1965, eggs initially taken from the Chautauqua Lake (New York State, USA) were transferred to the Lachine government hatchery in Québec where fry were reared before being released into the St. Lawrence River, several of its main tributaries and inland lakes. From 1965 to 1986, adults from Lake Joseph were used as source for stocking. Finally, from 1986 to 1997, eggs from Lake Tremblant were used. Muskellunge populations from Joseph and Tremblant Lakes were originally introduced with fish from the Lake Chautauqua source.

genetics

(English) Younk, J. A. and R. F. Strand. 1992. Performance evaluation of four muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) strains in two Minnesota lakes. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. St. Paul, Minnesota.

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Genetics

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Performance of four muskellunge strains (Mississippi, Shoepack, Court Oreilles and Miinocqua) were evaluated in two Minnesota lakes. Shoepack strain matured earlier and at a smaller size than the Mississippi strain. Although temporal spawning periods tended to overlap, Mississippi strain spawned at significantly higher water temperatures than the Shoepack strain. After six growing seasons the Mississippi strain was longer and heavier than the other strains. Weight-length relationships were significantly different with Shoepack and Wisconsin strains exhibiting a more robust body shape. Ultimate growth potential was greatest for the Mississippi and Court Oreilles strains and least for the Minocqua and Shoepack strains. Mortality rates were similar except for the Shoepack strain which had the highest mortality rate. The superior growth performance of the Mississippi strain suggests that it should be the strain of choice for muskellunge culture in Minnesota.

genetics

(English) Wilson, C. C., A. P. Liskauskas and K. M. Wozney. 2016. Pronounced genetic structure and site fidelity among native muskellunge populations in Lake Huron and Georgian Bay. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 145:1290-1302.

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Genetics

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Conservation and management issues related to genetic diversity and stock structure of native populations of muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) have largely been unexplored. In Lake Huron’s North Channel and Georgian Bay, Muskellunge populations have been impacted by historical commercial fisheries, recreational fisheries, loss of spawning habitat, historical water quality issues, and ecosystem changes. To determine the spatial genetic structure of native Muskellunge in Lake Huron and Georgian Bay, spawning adults were sampled from 10 sites in the North Channel and eastern Georgian Bay. Genotyping with 20 microsatellite DNA loci showed substantial spatial genetic structure, with significant pairwise divergences among spawning sites. Individual- and population-based analyses revealed hierarchical population structuring, with strong patterns of spawning site fidelity and isolation by distance; very low levels of dispersal and gene flow over historical and contemporary timescales were indicated. Estimation of effective population sizes highlighted the limited genetic resources that are present in these localized populations. The present results show that Muskellunge in Lake Huron and Georgian Bay consist of multiple small populations with limited ranges and high site fidelity and should be managed accordingly.

genetics

(English) Scribner, K., P. Howell, K. Smith, P. Hanchin, M. Wlgamood and G. Whelan. 2015. Spatial genetic structure of suspected remnant and naturalized populations of muskellunge and evidence for introgression between stocked and native strains. Journal of Great Lakes Research 41:1131-1137.

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Genetics

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Achievement of management goals to maintain, enhance, or re-establish fish species of management importance in the Great Lakes often relies on hatchery supplementation. Issues may arise when individuals of hatchery origin are super-imposed upon natural stocks, particularly when resident species are naturally in low abundance such as with most Muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) populations. We used 12 microsatellite loci to survey 450 individuals from 13 populations to quantify the contributions of stocked individuals to the current Muskellunge stock structure in Michigan and document evidence of inter-strain hybridization. Genetic differentiation among populations based on variance in allele frequency was moderately high (mean Fst = 0.18), and was largely attributed to stocking history. The major genetic discordance was found among populations inhabiting waters with native Great Lakes and native and introduced Northern Muskellunge strains. We identified five genetic lineages, corresponding to native stocks (one Great Lake and two Northern strains) and two Northern Muskellunge strains obtained from other states and stocked across Michigan. Analyses revealed that the majority of populations sampled were composed of multiple hatchery strains of Northern Muskellunge, including waters connected to the Great Lakes and in waters with remnant native stocks. Admixtures of stocked strains and evidence of inter-strain hybridization were widespread. Collectively, data reveal that hatchery programs have the potential to restructure native fish populations on a statewide basis. Greater attention to current genetic stocks of both donor and recipient populations is advised to ensure that future supplementation efforts do not further erode the integrity of native stocks.

genetics

(English) Kapuscinski, K. L. B. L. Sloss and J. M. Farrell. 2013. Genetic population structure of muskellunge in the Great Lakes. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 142:1075-1089.

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Genetics

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We quantified genetic relationships among Muskellunge Esox masquinongy from 15 locations in the Great Lakes to determine the extent and distribution of measurable population structure and to identify appropriate spatial scales for fishery management and genetic conservation. We hypothesized that Muskellunge from each area represented genetically distinct populations, which would be evident from analyses of genotype data. A total of 691 Muskellunge were sampled (n = 10–127/site) and genetic data were collected at 13 microsatellite loci. Results from a suite of analyses (including pairwise genetic differentiation, Bayesian admixture prediction, analysis of molecular variance, and tests of isolation by distance) indicated the presence of nine distinct genetic groups, including two that were approximately 50 km apart. Geographic proximity and low habitat complexity seemed to facilitate genetic similarity among areas, whereas Muskellunge from areas of greater habitat heterogeneity exhibited high differentiation. Muskellunge from most areas contained private alleles, and mean within-area genetic variation was similar to that reported for other freshwater fishes. Management programs aimed at conserving the broader diversity and long-term sustainability of Muskellunge could benefit by considering the genetically distinct groups as independent fisheries, and individual spawning and nursery habitats could subsequently be protected to conserve the evolutionary potential of Muskellunge.

genetics

(English) Bowser, P. R., J. W. Casey, G. A. Wooster, R. G. Getchell and C. Y. Chen. 2002. Lymposarcoma in hatchery-reared yearling tiger muskellunge. Journal of Aquatic Animal Health 14:225-229.

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Disease and Parasites

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Yearling tiger muskellunge (northern pike Esox lucius × muskellunge E. masquinongy) being cultured within the Colorado Division of Wildlife’s fish hatchery system were found to have external lesions that were grossly and microscopically consistent with descriptions of esocid lymphosarcoma. This neoplasia has been described as a tumor of adult northern pike and muskellunge; a retroviral etiology has been proposed for it. However, esocid lymphosarcoma has not previously been reported in tiger muskellunge. Owing to concerns about the potentially infectious nature of the condition in a hatchery environment, an experiment was conducted to determine whether the lesion could be transmitted to naive young-of-the-year tiger muskellunge in the laboratory by means of cell-free filtrates. At 32 weeks postchallenge, grossly visible lesions were observed on the challenged fish. Histological evaluation of these lesions confirmed that they were esocid lymphosarcoma. We believe that this is the first report of the natural occurrence of this disease in tiger muskellunge as well as in any esocid that was not an adult.

disease-and-parasites

(English) Renaud, C. B. 2002. The muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) as a host for the silver lamprey (Icthyomyzon unicuspis) in the Ottawa River, Ontario/Quebec. Canadian Field Naturalist 116:433-440.

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Disease and Parasites

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A new host, Esox masquinongy, the Muskellunge, for the Silver Lamprey, Ichthyomyzon unicuspis, is reported. Fifteen Silver Lamprey/Muskellunge interactions were documented in a 90-km section of the lower Ottawa River, on the Ontario as well as the Quebec side, from Ottawa to Hawkesbury between 1992 and 2001. Sites of attachment were predominantly on the back. Number of marks per host varied between 1 and 31 with a mean of 10.6. There was evidence of cytolytic activity of the buccal gland secretions. Shallowness of the fresh wounds indicated blood feeding rather than flesh feeding. Survival of the host was indicated by the presence of healed wounds in 26.7% of the cases. Muskellunge over 122 cm in total length were preferred over smaller individuals. Lampreys appeared to be more highly concentrated in the 50-km stretch of the lower Ottawa River, between Thurso and Hawkesbury, than they were in the 40-km stretch upstream, between Ottawa and Thurso.

disease-and-parasites

(English) Kim, R. and M. Faisal. 2012. Shedding of viral hemorrhagic septicaemia virus by experimentally infected muskellunge. Journal of Microbiology 50:278-284.

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Disease and Parasites

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Previous experimental infection demonstrated that juvenile muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) can survive experimental infection of viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus, Genotype IVb (VHSV IVb) at a low concentration of exposure. Herein we report that survivors of experimental infection with VHSV IVb shed the virus into the surrounding environment for an extended period of time. When muskellunge were exposed to VHSV IVb by immersion at a concentration of 1,400 plaque forming units (PFU)/ml, VHSV IVb was detected in the water of surviving fish for up to 15 weeks postexposure (p.e.) with the highest levels of shedding occurring between weeks 1 and 5 p.e. We estimated that each juvenile muskellunge can shed upwards of 1.36×105 PFU/fish/h after initial exposure signifying the uptake and amplification of VHSV to several orders of magnitude above the original exposure concentration. Muskellunge surviving low concentration exposure were re-infected with VHSV IVb by immersion at week 22 p.e. at concentrations ranging from 0 to 106 PFU/ml. Viral shedding was detected in all re-exposed fish, including mock rechallenged controls up to 15 consecutive weeks. Rates of viral shedding were substantially higher following rechallenge in the first 5 weeks. The highest rate of viral shedding was approximately 4.6×106 PFU/fish/h and shedding did not necessarily correspond to the re-exposure VHSV concentration. The results of this study shed new light into the dynamics of VHSV IVb shedding in a highly susceptible host and provide useful insights to fishery managers to design effective control strategies to this deadly virus.

disease-and-parasites

(English) Spooner, E. 2016. Muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) feeding habits and habitat preferences in Lake St. Clair. M.Sc. Thesis. University of Michigan. Ann Arbor, Michigan. 30 p.

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Diets and Feeding Habits, Habitat

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Muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) are an economically and ecologically important species. Yet, our understanding of their feeding habits and habitat preference is limited and incomplete. This study addressed these shortcomings with muskellunge in Lake St. Clair. Muskellunge were captured by trolling on charter boats and electrofishing. Feeding habits were determined by comparing fish consumed to abundance of fish in the lake. Habitat preference was determined by spatially analyzing collected fish catch-per-unit-effort and lake conditions such as depth and submerged aquatic vegetation coverage. Overall, 167 muskellunge were sampled and 77% of them had empty stomachs. White bass (Morone chrysops) was the most common found prey species in their diet. Moronidae was the family composing the largest portion of their diet. Muskellunge were more abundant in water with greater depth. The entire lake appears to have suitable coverage of submerged aquatic vegetation with an average of 67%. In conclusion, muskellunge consumed small amounts of the main sport fish species in Lake St. Clair and likely have minimal impacts on those populations. The majority of Lake St. Clair has the preferred habitat for muskellunge and is likely to be a contributing factor to their large population.

diets-and-feeding-habits habitat

(English) Hourston, A. S. 1952. The food and growth of the maskinonge (Esox masquinongy) in Canadian waters. Journal of the Fisheries Research Board of Canada 8:347-368.

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Diets and Feeding Habits

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Maskinonge from three regions were studied: the Lake of the Woods district in Ontario (called Western); the Kawartha Lakes and Georgian Bay district in Ontario (Central) and the St. Lawrence River district in Quebec (Easternmm. in length. The families Percidae, Catostomidae, Ameiuridae, Centrarchidae, Hiodontidae, Esocidae and Cyprinidae were represented, along with at least one ). Examination of 202 stomachs, 81 containing food, showed the maskinonge to be a general carnivore, preying mainly on fish over 150 Cambarus. The yellow perch, Perca flavescens, was the species eaten most frequently in all three regions. A common white sucker (Catostomus commersonnii) was found in a stomach of the hybrid E. masquinongy × E. luciusmm. fork length. Specimens of a . Examination of the teeth of each specimen showed that they were being continuously replaced throughout the summer season.Rate of growth varied with sex and locality. Females had a significantly faster rate of growth, both in length and in weight, than did males. Maskinonge from the Western Region were shorter and weighed less than fish of the same age from the other two regions. Maskinonge of the Eastern and Central Regions reached the legal size of 30 inches fork length during their fifth summer, but in the Western Region they did not attain this size until their seventh summer. The length-weight relationship appears to be the same in the Eastern and Central Regions, whereas maskinonge from the Western Region tended to be heavier than those of comparable lengths from the other two regions. In all regions the length-weight relationship was a straight line when plotted logarithmically, its slope being estimated as 3.26 in the Eastern Region. Sexual maturity occurs first between the ages of three and six years, or about 575 to 800 E. masquinongy × E. lucius hybrid appeared to be infertile. They did not differ from the maskinonge specimens in their length-weight relationships but made faster growth than did the maskinonge from the same region.

diets-and-feeding-habits

(English) Bozek, M. A., T. M. Burri and R. V. Frie. 1999. Diets of muskellunge in northern Wisconsin lakes. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 19:258-270.

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Diets and Feeding Habits

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The muskellunge Esox masquinongy is an important sport fish in Wisconsin and elsewhere, but more information about its diet is needed to better understand its role in aquatic systems and its effects on other fish. Stomach contents were examined for 1,092 muskellunge (226–1,180 mm total length, TL) captured in the littoral zone from 34 Wisconsin water bodies from July 1991 to October 1994. Food occurred in 34.3% (N 5 375) of the stomachs, with most (74%) containing a single item. Overall, the proportion of muskellunge with food differed significantly among seasons, with the greatest proportion occurring in fall (69.0%), followed by summer (53.5%) and then spring (25.4%). Prey items consisted of 547 fish, representing 12 families and 31 species, along with 35 nonfish items; fish composed 98% of the diet. Relative importance values of diet items varied by taxa, season, and water body, but the main food items eaten by muskellunge in each season were yellow perch Perca flavescens and white sucker Catostomous commersoni. Black basses Micropterus spp., northern pike Esox lucius, walleye Stizostedion vitreum, cyprinids, and other taxa were less common in the diet. Prey fish ranged in size from 6% to 47% of muskellunge total length and prey length increased significantly as muskellunge size increased. Yet the size of prey in proportion to muskellunge size remained the same for all sizes of muskellunge. The results of this study indicate that, if readily available, yellow perch and catostomids will compose a large proportion of the muskellunge diet. Additional studies assessing muskellunge diet among lakes having different prey community types and assessing diet in deeper offshore areas of lakes are needed to better understand the role that muskellunge play in aquatic communities.

diets-and-feeding-habits

(English) Kerr, S. J. 2016. Feeding habits and diet of the muskellunge (Esox masquinongy): A review of predatory impacts on resident biota. Report prepared for Muskies Canada Inc. and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. Peterborough, Ontario.

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Diets and Feeding Habits

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The Muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) is known as a voracious apex predator. In instances where muskellunge are extending their range, either through intentional or inadvertent introduction and natural range extension, concerns have been identified about the potential negative impacts on resident fishes and aquatic biota. This review has been conducted to assemble information on muskellunge predatory habits and diet as well as interspecific competition with other species.

Muskellunge prey on a wide variety of organisms but prefer other fishes. Predation is based largely on whatever species in available at the preferred size. There is a considerable amount of evidence to indicate that Muskellunge prefer soft-rayed fishes and the availability of soft-rayed prey cound determine the degree of predation on other species.

Generally, there a few definitive studies to quantify impacts (if any) of Muskellunge on other fish species. There is very little evidence to indicate that Muskellunge have a significant negative impact on populations of other popular sport fish species including Walleye, Largemouth Bass and Smallmouth Bass. In fact, there are numerous instances where these fish species successfully co-habit the same waterbody. Since Muskellunge seldom occupy coldwater habitats, their interactions with coldwater fishes (i.e. salmonids and coregonids) are poorly understood. This is an area which requires future study.

Potential negative impacts of Muskellunge on other fish species are probably related to the size of waterbody and the composition of the resident fish community. Larger waterbodies and those waters having a diverse forage fish community seem to be relatively unaffected by the presence of Muskellunge. The presence/abundance of soft-rayed fish species likely reduces the predation on other resident fish species.

Other fish species can have negative impacts on the Muskellunge. Northern Pike are known to have a competitive advantage over Muskellunge where they coexist. Young Muskellunge are also subject to predation by other fishes including Largemouth Bass, Yellow Perch, Rock Bass and Walleye.

Based on this literature review several recommendations are offered. These are related to initiating more quantified studies to document impacts (if any) when Muskellunge are introduced or become established in new waters, utilizing new state-of-the-art techniques to determine diets and predatory-prey relationships amongst a broader range of fish community types (including salmonids and species at risk), and developing efforts to improve the public perception of Muskellunge.

diets-and-feeding-habits

(English) Curry, R. A., C. A. Doherty, T. P. Jardine and S. L. currie. 2007. Using movements and diet analysis to assess effects of introduced muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) on Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) in the St. John River, New Brunswick. Environmental Biology of Fishes 79:49-60.

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Diets and Feeding Habits, Interactions with Other Species

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The muskellunge was introduced in the Saint John River system from stockings in a headwater lake in the 1970s. They have migrated down the system as far as the river’s first dam, Mactaquac Hydroelectric Facility, at Fredericton and appear to have established several reproducing populations along the river. This exotic invader represents a potential threat to the severely depleted Atlantic salmon stocks in the river. We radio-tracked muskellunge over a 2- year period in the middle reaches. Home ranges extended to ~100 km in both riverine and lacustrine areas, including 78% of individuals translocated upstream of the dam making their way back through the dam successfully. Downstream of the dam, home ranges were <25 km. No spawning areas were detected. An isotope analyses of diet indicated that the large sub-adults and adults had established the greatest proportion of their biomass in a more 15N depleted environment typical of areas farther upstream. Isotope mixing models could not accurately determine the proportion of Atlantic salmon smolts that may have been consumed by muskellunge, but anadromous salmon had £7% probabilities of being in the diet. A bioenergetics model suggested £5% of the annual food intake by muskellunge occurs during the smolt out-migration period. For the Saint John River, the impacts of growing numbers of muskellunge are multi-faceted creating a complex management challenge. Muskellunge appear to minimally increase predation risk for Atlantic salmon smolts while their increasing numbers are creating a growing recreational fishery and potential threat to the native fish community and ecosystem.

diets-and-feeding-habits interactions-with-other-species

(English) Schachte, J. H., Jr. 1979. Iodophore disinfections of muskellunge eggs under intensive culture in hatcheries. Progressive Fish Culturist 41:189-190.

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Culture

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The iodophor Povidone-Iodine (1% active I2) was used at three concentrations, 100, 28, and 13 mg/L (1:100,1:350, and 1:750) for 10 min, in an attempt to disinfect fertilized eggs of muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) and to test the efficacy and toxicity of the compound on the eggs of cool-water species. No treatment effect was observed between treatments and controls or among treatments. However, no toxic effects of the iodophor were found at the concentrations of active I2 considered efficacious for salmonids.

culture

(English) Meerbeck, J. R. and M. J. Weber. 2019. Effects if hatchery broodstock collection on adult muskellunge populations. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 39:807-816.

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Culture

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Stocking programs for Muskellunge Esox masquinongy throughout North America rely on the collection of wild adult Muskellunge to acquire gametes for hatchery propagation. The process of collecting, transporting, confining, handling, and spawning broodstock Muskellunge may cause mortality that could alter Muskellunge density, size structure, and population survival rates. We used long‐term Muskellunge capture–recapture data collected from the Iowa Great Lakes and Clear Lake in northern Iowa to estimate the number and proportion of Muskellunge captured annually and the initial mortality rates resulting from broodstock collection. We also evaluated whether Muskellunge apparent survival rates differed between individuals used as broodstock and those that were not captured annually. Finally, we evaluated whether the number of initial mortalities or the number of individuals captured were related to annual population survival estimates. Collectively, 7,010 adult Muskellunge (3,896 males and 3,114 females) captures occurred between 2001 and 2017, and population densities within a system ranged from 0.11 to 0.39 fish/ha. An average of 33% (range = 13–76%) of the population was captured during broodstock operations annually. Between 0 and 28 (0.0000 to 0.0191 fish/ha) Muskellunge died at each hatchery annually, and more males died than females (total of 150 males and 68 females; 3.9% and 2.2% of captured fish, respectively). However, annual mortalities were generally a low proportion of Muskellunge in the lake (<2%; <0.001 fish/ha). There was some evidence of size‐selective mortality, particularly for males, where larger individuals (875–975 mm) were more likely to die, but we found no evidence to suggest that broodstock collection affected annual population survival estimates. Muskellunge broodstock mortality appears to act in a compensatory manner with natural mortality, and other sources of population mortality are more likely to have a greater effect on the population.

culture

(English) McKeown, P. E., J. L. Forney and S. R. Mooradian. 1999. Effects of Stocking Size and Rearing Method on Muskellunge Survival in Chautauqua Lake, New York. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 191:249-257.

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Culture, Stocking and Transfers

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We examined the effects of rearing method and size at stocking on the survival of muskellunge Esox masquinongy in Chautauqua Lake, New York. Since 1961, changes in rearing methods have coincided with declining abundance of adult muskellunge. In particular, a change from pond rearing to trough rearing coincided with declining catches of adult muskellunge in pound nets. The decline was only partly reversed by changes from trough rearing to pond finishing of fingerlings. Changes in survival to age 5 from 1961 to 1996 indicated that both rearing method and stocking length significantly affected survival. Greater length at stocking resulted in higher survival rates. After accounting for length at stocking, survival was highest for pond‐reared fingerlings, intermediate for pond‐finished fingerlings, and lowest for trough‐reared fingerlings. A modified Ricker stock–recruitment model indicated that survival of fingerlings declined over time. Increases in the adult stock of walleye Stizostedion vitrium since the 1960s may have increased predatory pressure on fingerlings and increased the importance of greater length at stocking.

culture stocking-and-transfers

(English) Lemm, C. A. and D. V. Rottiers. 1986. Growth of tiger muskellunge fed different amounts of protein at three different temperatures. The Progressive Fish Culturist 48:101-106.

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Age and Growth, Culture

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Growth rates of tiger muskellunge (muskellunge Esox masquinongy ♀ x northern pike E. lucius ♂) fed diets containing 35, 45, or 55% crude protein for 5 weeks at 17, 20, or 23°C were compared. Fish fed diets containing 45 or 55% protein grew faster at all temperatures than those fed 35% protein. Growth of tiger muskellunge fed a diet containing either 45 or 55% protein did not increase significantly at optimum growth temperatures (20 or 23°C). At 17°C, below the optimum temperature range, growth did increase when the percentage of protein in the diet was increased.

age-and-growth culture

(English) Dombek, M. P. 1987. Artificial turf incubators for raising muskellunge to swim-up fry. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 7:425-428.

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Culture

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Muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) eggs were incubated in artificial turf incubators in five lakes in Michigan and Wisconsin in 1985. Mean survival of swim‐up fry from green eggs was 12% and from eyed eggs was 39%. This technique provides the manager with an economical and rapid method for raising muskellunge in lakes with inadequate spawning habitat.

culture

(English) Colesante, R. T. and J. Bubnack. 1992. Fingerlings muskellunge production in an intensive-extensive culture system in New York State. Progressive Fish Culturist 54:243-246.

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Culture

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Declining stocks of adult muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) in Chautauqua Lake prompted changes in the production procedures employed at the Chautauqua State Fish Hatchery, Mayville, New York. The system now in use involves intensive trough rearing of muskellunge for approximately 1–1.5 months, followed by extensive pond rearing for up to 2 months. There was no significant difference in growth rate between muskellunge reared intensively on minnows and those reared on formulated diets; mean growth rates were 0.054 and 0.048 in/d, respectively. There was no significant difference in growth rate of muskellunge reared extensively whether they previously had been fed formulated diet or minnows in troughs; average growth rates were 0.086 and 0.084 in/d. Food conversion (food weight fed/fish weight gained) and percent survival of fingerlings transferred to ponds were significantly lower among fish previously fed formulated feeds (3.02 and 68.4%) than among fish previously fed minnows (3.74 and 81.2%).

culture

(English) Pelletier, C., K. C. Hanson and S. J. Cooke. 2007. Do catch-and-release guidelines from state and provincial agencies in North America conform to scientifically based best practices. Environmental Management 39:760-773.

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Catch and Release

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Many recreational anglers practice catch-and-release angling, where fish are returned to the water with the presumption that they will survive. However, not all fish survive, and those that do often experience sublethal consequences including injury and stress. There is compelling scientific evidence that angler behavior and gear choice can affect the success of catch-and-release as a management and conservation strategy. Because anglers often look to government natural resource agencies for guidance on how to handle and release fish properly, there is a need to assess whether their outreach materials are readily accessible and provide the necessary and correct information on the subject. Therefore, on-line catch-and-release guidelines developed by state and provincial natural resource agencies across North America were evaluated to determine whether their guidelines were consistent with the best available scientific information. This analysis revealed that there was immense variation in the depth and breadth of coverage among jurisdictions. Agency guidelines contradicted one another in several areas including air exposure, angling in deep water, venting trapped gases, and resuscitation. In many cases, the guidelines failed to provide sufficient direction to actually be of use to anglers or provide direction consistent with contemporary scientific literature. This analysis will assist with developing outreach materials that promote sustainable recreational fisheries and in maintaining the welfare status of individual fish.

catch-and-release

(English) Landsman, S. J., H. J. Wachelka, C. D. Suski and S. J. Cooke. 2011. Evaluation of the physiology, behavior and survival of adult muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) captured and released by specialized anglers. Fisheries Research 11:377-386.

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Catch and Release

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Angling for muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) is a specialized endeavor involving species-specific equipment and handling procedures. The latter were developed by anglers with little influence from fisheries managers or the scientific community. Today, release rates approach 100% for specialized anglers; therefore, a formal evaluation of these procedures was warranted. Using two handling treatments – one to mimic current handling procedures with a period of air exposure and another gentler alternative without a period of air exposure – we assessed the physiological and behavioural disturbances as well as mortality associated with the catch-and-release process. Seventy-seven muskellunge were angled and blood sampled during the 2009 and 2010 muskellunge angling seasons. An additional 18 muskellunge were electrofished and immediately blood sampled to obtain baseline physiology data. A subsample (N = 30, 15 per treatment) of the 77 angled individuals was fitted with external radio transmitters to assess behaviour and survival. Glucose and lactate concentrations were found to be significantly lower for controls, and glucose and potassium concentrations increased significantly with increasing surface water temperatures. No differences in physiology were noted between angling treatments. Muskellunge treated with normal and alternative handling procedures exhibited similar post-release behaviour, and no angling related mortalities were observed across a range of water temperatures (17.5–26.0 °C) This study demonstrates the effectiveness of current handling procedures at minimizing physiological and behavioural disturbances, particularly when compared with a gentler alternative. A fishery in which no angling mortality exists is not possible, but our study provides support for the notion that angling related mortality for muskellunge captured and released by specialized anglers using handling procedures evaluated in this study may indeed be negligible.

catch-and-release

(English) Cooke, S. J. and H. L. Schramm. 2007. Catch-and-release science and its application to conservation and management of recreational fisheries. Fisheries Management and Ecology 14:73-79.

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Catch and Release

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Catch‐and‐release angling is a well‐established practice in recreational angler behaviour and fisheries management. Accompanying this is a growing body of catch‐and‐release research that can be applied to reduce injury, mortality and sublethal alterations in behaviour and physiology. Here, the status of catch‐and‐release research from a symposium on the topic is summarised. Several general themes emerged including the need to: (1) better connect sublethal assessments to population‐level processes; (2) enhance understanding of the variation in fish, fishing practices and gear and their role in catch and release; (3) better understand animal welfare issues related to catch and release; (4) increase the exchange of information on fishing‐induced stress, injury and mortality between the recreational and commercial fishing sectors; and (5) improve procedures for measuring and understanding the effect of catch‐and‐release angling. Through design of better catch‐and‐release studies, strategies could be developed to further minimise stress, injury and mortality arising from catch‐and‐release angling. These strategies, when integrated with other fish population and fishery characteristics, can be used by anglers and managers to sustain or enhance recreational fishing resources.

catch-and-release

(English) 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

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Catch and Release

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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.

catch-and-release

(English) Bimber, D. L. and S. A. Nicholson. 1981. Fluctuations in the muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) population of Chautauqua Lake, New York. Environmental Biology of Fishes. 6:207-211

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Case Histories

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Population and exploitation estimates were made from angler recaptures of Chautauqua Lake muskellunge,Esox masquinongy Mitchill. Fish were tagged during Conservation Department studies in 1941–1946, 1961–1965 and 1976–1978. Population estimates of adult fish ranged from one to seven fish per hectare and angler exploitation rates of tagged fish fluctuated from 3.8% to 14.1%. Relative catch indicators suggest a major decline in the lake’s muskellunge population during the last decade. Overexploitation, habitat alteration and interspecific competition with recently introduced fish species were cited as probable causes of the decline.

case-histories

(English) Kerr, S. J. 2010. Muskellunge of the Ottawa River. Fisheries Policy Section. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. Peterborough, Ontario. 21 p. + appendices

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Case Histories

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The Ottawa River supports a world class muskellunge fishery and muskellunge has been identified as a feature species to be hightlighted in the development of a fisheries management plan for the Ontario portion of the Ottawa River. This report was prepared as a background document for the new Fisheries Management Zone 12 Advisory Council.

case-histories

(English) Kerr, S. J., A. Kirkpatrick and T. Haxton. 2011. Characteristics of trophy-sized muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) angled from Ontario waters, 1917-2010. Fisheries Policy Section. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. Peterborough, Ontario. 11 p. +appendices.

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Age and Growth, Recreational Fisheries

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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.

age-and-growth recreational-fisheries