Muskellunge

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Muskellunge

  • Sharp-toothed fish that can grow to more than 50 inches long.
  • Muskie are considered the “ultimate challenge” in freshwater fishing, because they are hard to catch.
  • They have been known to eat anything from fish to ducks.

  • (Photograph courtesy of Engbretson Underwater Photography)

The Need for Management

Muskellunge, also called “muskie,” are the second largest fish in Michigan, behind only the lake sturgeon. That means humans are their only predators. Muskies are found in only a small percentage of inland lakes. For fisherman, catching a muskie is difficult. The massive fish have sharp teeth that often cut through fishing lines.

Management Results

In 2016, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources stocked more than 25,000 muskies in Michigan waters. Stocking fish doesn’t happen everywhere, but where it does, it helps provides a unique fishing opportunity and in turn supports Michigan’s economy. Muskies are also tagged by the DNR to help monitor growth, spawning locations and how fishing affects them. Thanks to fishing licenses, Michigan has the funding need to support the management of fish species such as the muskie. In addition, organizations such as the Michigan Muskie Alliance encourage anglers to release muskies after catching them.

Management Activities

From overfished to thriving, the muskie population in Michigan has risen substantially because of the following efforts:

  • Carefully established fishing regulations that ensure Michigan’s aquatic life can be enjoyed by future generations. Fishing regulations include increasing minimum size limits and reducing each person’s catch limit.
  • Stock muskellunge in various lakes throughout the state to provide diverse fishing opportunities
  • Encouraging catch and release – asking fishermen to aid their population growth.