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Muskies!?!
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2006/9/11 8:26
From Chester County
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Mike or any other fish experts:

The post about the stocking of amur pike brings up a question I have about introducing huge predator fish such as muskies to many lakes. Two lakes come to mind. Francis Slocum State Park Lake in the Wilkes-Barre area, where I grew up, was/is stocked with muskies. They grow huge there. This is the type of lake to take your kids to and fish for bluegills and crappie, and maybe catch some decent bass once in a while. Ditto for Marsh Creek Lake in MC State Park where I live now.

Few anglers target muskies compared to the vast majority of fisherman who fish for panfish and bass. Those fishermen that do use very specialized tackle and lures suited to catch these fish. The musky is known as “the fish of a thousand casts,” just to give you an idea on the success rate.

My question is the introduction of these large predators for sport fishing, or does it have some value in balancing the fish population in the lake? If there is no biological reason to stock them, it would seem that these types of lakes would be better off, from an overall fishing perspective, without the introduction and stocking of huge predator fish such as muskies.

Posted on: 2007/10/24 9:31


Re: Muskies!?!

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If you don't have a predator to keep the population in check, other fish like bluegills will over populate and stunt.

Posted on: 2007/10/24 9:43


Re: Muskies!?!

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From Harrisburg PA
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I believe the real benefit is - THEY ARE GREAT TO CATCH!

Fish have been stocked in waters all over the country for no reason other than recreation. See the topic of stocking trout over wild trout. Brown trout, rainbow trout and I believe smallmouth, muskies and walleyes have been have all been stocked in the Susquehanna and created excellent recreational oppotunities. Striped Bass, hybrid stripers and largemouths have been stocked in many PA lakes. All of these fish are predators. Have they been detrimental to the ecosystem can be debated ad nauseum.

I believe that with the number of trout that are stocked into many lakes, the muskies actually help to balance the system by eating these stockers.

Posted on: 2007/10/24 9:49


Re: Muskies!?!
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I read about this several times. Here is what I came up from the Minnesota DNR about muskies:

"Efforts to stock muskies to control stunted panfish populations generally have failed. Muskies seem as ill-suited to the task as do northern pike. When muskies were introduced to one Wisconsin lake, the number of largemouth bass dropped. The number of yellow perch increased while their size decreased. Muskie actually appeared to contribute to the problem they were thought to correct. In another Wisconsin experiment, muskies were stocked in a lake filled with runty bluegill. Though the muskie fattened up quickly, the bluegill population showed no effect."

I'm sure the PFBC has this info from the studies in Wisconsin.

Posted on: 2007/10/24 10:13


Re: Muskies!?!

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There is a lake in west central PA that is being stocked with musky, walleye and trout(12,000 or so a year) is under trophy bass regs and is being managed for crappie. I can tell you from personal experience that this lake is GREAT for all species.

An average evening of musky fishing in spring and fall will get me 8 - 12 hook-ups. Largemouth bass average 2-4 lbs with plenty of 6lb+. Walleye & crappie fishing does not appeal to me , but a friend claims they are both excellent. Some of the stocked rainbows when fished for like salmon in a lake - trolling plugs & spoons with dispy diver have become QUITE large.

Maybe I am not giving enough credit as these fish are primarily predators it does not seems to me that PFBC put much thought into this stocking other than recreation and it seems to be thriving.

Posted on: 2007/10/24 10:36


Re: Muskies!?!
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I love muskies! I would certainly count them among the success stories of fish introduced throughout PA - although (like smallmouth bass) they have always been found in the Ohio drainage in the western part of the state. Whether they impact populations of smaller gamefish like bass and trout will probably always be debated. I don't think any studies have proven conclusively that they do. And, frankly, I'd rather fish a water with slightly fewer bass/trout knowing I've got a shot at muskies. Muskies can be caught fly fishing although it's tough. I've taken a few. There is a gentleman whose name escapes me at the moment who is writing (or has finished writing) a book about muskie fly fishing. I watched him speak at the show in Somerset back in January and he's got me determined to try fly fishing for muskies again.
It's not commonly known, but that great guru of trout fishing - Charlie Fox - was an avid muskie junkie. He often told me stories on the banks of the Letort (where I never saw him fish) of muskie fishing. He loved to cast his big home made plugs on Conodoguinet Creek. Charlie was instrumental in getting muskies stocked in the central part of the state back in the 60's. He didn't think they hurt bass and trout populations at all.

Posted on: 2007/10/24 13:54


Re: Muskies!?!

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Fishidiot,

They are great!

I believe they are readily catchable on flies as I have caught dozens that way. I use large Puglisi flies in size 2/0 to 4/0 with a tiable wire bite leader and 3-4' level fluoro in 20 to 30lb test on an intermediate line. I use a fast action 9ft 9wt to make pitching the big flies easier. Large arbor real with a good drag is a must.

The Puglisi flies are large profile, appealing to the muskie, but lightweight, appealing to me!

I have also caught some giant bass with these same tactics.

I don't care if I am using fly gear or spinning/casting tackle these dudes have a bad attitude and are fun to catch!

Posted on: 2007/10/24 14:15


Re: Muskies!?!

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Quote:

afishinado wrote:
I read about this several times. Here is what I came up from the Minnesota DNR about muskies:

"Efforts to stock muskies to control stunted panfish populations generally have failed. Muskies seem as ill-suited to the task as do northern pike. When muskies were introduced to one Wisconsin lake, the number of largemouth bass dropped. The number of yellow perch increased while their size decreased. Muskie actually appeared to contribute to the problem they were thought to correct. In another Wisconsin experiment, muskies were stocked in a lake filled with runty bluegill. Though the muskie fattened up quickly, the bluegill population showed no effect."

I'm sure the PFBC has this info from the studies in Wisconsin.


But not always the case...most will tell you that LM Bass is the best at controlling stunting of sunnies. Unless of course your water's dominant predator isn't largemouth bass. The musky has no problem gorging on the bass. But if no bass the sunny population will decline. There was a lake in Idaho where they once stocked brookies. As brookies will do they were able to spawn in the gravely bottom of the lake shallows and quickly over populated to where this huge lake held thousands of brookies in the 4-6 inch range. So what do you put in there to control the population. Well, what loves to eat brookies more than anything. Atlantic salmon. Within 2 years they some monster atlantics in the lake and the brookie population had declined significantly. Now I don;t know what they have done since, because the salmon supposedly had no suitable spawning habitat, which was probably a good thing. So if you have a nice population of bass and a stunted pop. of sunnies, musky or pike might nto be the way to go.

While I'm sure the Minnesota observations are valid, I'm not so sure that this would be the case every time.

Posted on: 2007/10/24 16:21


Re: Muskies!?!

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From Attitudinally, one mile south of Lake LeBoeuf
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I grew up in the heart of that portion of PA that has both naturally occurring muskellunge populations as well as the tigers that the Commission works with. This was back when natural reproduction of the indigenous muskies was sufficient to support a modest fishery, if not pretty good at times.

In all the natural lakes we fished, which included but were not limited to: LeBoeuf, Edinboro, Canadohta, Sugar, Conneaut, Presque Isle Bay and several others, I've never heard of either panfish or bass populations being suppressed by muskie predation.

The reason I say natural lakes is that, if I remember correctly, in their natural range, muskies occur at pretty low density. Maybe low enough that despite their large size and equally large appetite, their presence may not matter all that much in this way.

But I have no idea how many fry/fingerling the Commission plants when it wants to establish a tiger muskie pop. in an impoundment.
If it's a lot and survival is good, maybe that would be different in terms of predation impact on other species.

But even this doesn't quite ring right to me...

All I know for sure is that I've never heard of such a thing with Muskies at any rate.

Posted on: 2007/10/25 13:59


Re: Muskies!?!

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2007/1/5 16:49
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What are some strategies for targetting muskies in small rivers? I live within walking distance of the Swattie down from Hummelstown and have caught some bass down there but really want to try for Muskies. Is it worth trying now? WHat is the best time for them? I have noticed most in the Patriot's big fish contest are caught in June. Also, what water conditions do they seem to bite best under?
Jay P.

Posted on: 2007/11/23 15:33


Re: Muskies!?!

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2007/8/2 13:30
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I have to disagree with the stocking of muskies. What helps the rivers and lakes the most would be a high number of panfish, rockbass, crappie, and 8" to 15" bass.

Big bass, >15" are no fun to catch anyway....... especially with a fly rod. They fight just like a carp or a big catfish.

What made the Susquehanna a fly fishing paradise was all the smallmouth 8" to 13" that would smack poppers almost every cast, and the millions of bluegills and rockbass. They are gone now, probably eaten by the big predators and the cormorants........ probably the pollution also, but I would rather see sick small fish than sick big fish.

The "big bass" regulations have screwed up the fly fishing IMHO! Big bass regs means that you can keep 4 bass over 15". I wish people would kill more big bass to make room for the smaller fish. I don't keep any bass, but I'll have to start killing my share.

If muskies take over the river, I would hang up my flyrod and drift down the river with a fish spear!! This would be fun. Fill up the boat with carp and muskies. Good fertilizer for the garden. Maybe I could return the river to what it used to be.

Posted on: 2007/11/23 19:30
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Re: Muskies!?!
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riverwhy,
The Swatara is stocked with Tiger muskies. In my experience, tigers are easier to catch in warmer water. River muskies bite well in winter and many of the biggest fish are taken in the colder months. Part of the reason that the local newspaper big fish contests indicate a lot of muskies in the summer is because that is simply when there are more fishermen on the river and the bass guys get a lot of the muskies by accident. In any event, you can fly fish river muskies throughout the year but I think the "Swattie" might fish better in the summer for the tigers there. As for methods, use an 8WT (or larger) with a floating or intermediate line; a short leader tapered to about 14LB test; a wire bite tippet and the largest streamer you can cast. A six inch olive over white Clouser is a good muskie fly. Chartreuse or orange is good in stained water. Muskies don't usually hang out where there is current although you'll occassionally see one splashing in the riffles chasing minnows or fallfish- this is a fish that's on the feed and very likely to strike. Otherwise, concentrate on deeper, slower pools. I like an overcast day with a cold front coming in with a hint of rain or snow. The best spot for river muskies (esp in winter) is a feeder creek. Fan cast the streamer and work it back rapidly with long strips right where the feeder enters the river. Woody debris along shoreline eddies is also good. Polaroid glasses will help you spot follows. If you don't move a fish, try a few casts low and slow. River muskie guys get a lot of fish on jigs fished slow in cold water. Don't get discouraged if you get skunked. Woolybugger, frankly, is wrong about big bass over 15". They're a great fight and you will get some on muskie flies which will keep things fun during the long lulls between action with muskies. Good luck.

Posted on: 2007/11/23 22:42


Re: Muskies!?!

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2006/10/19 14:21
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fishidiot,

I've heard that about Charlie Fox too. Apparently after all the pollution incidents on the Letort in the 70s and 80s, it broke Charlies heart to see that stream a mere shadow of what it had once been. In fact, in a conversation with Gene Macri -- who interviewed Charlie for Limestone Legends -- he told me that toward the end, Charlie wouldn't even fish the Letort anymore, he much preferrred to fish for muskies. Supposedly, he was one hell of a muskie and bass angler on the Suskie.

rising fish always
schrec

Posted on: 2007/11/29 14:02






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