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JCU
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Daily Subscription Msg 1 Posted: 01:08 AM 02/17/09 (CST)
MINNESOTA MUSKIES
Now We Really Know

For many years these fish were misunderstood by the people who fished them and those who tried to manage them as a natural resource. Now most of the questions about Muskies have scientifically sound answers.

Muskies! Who Needs Them?
Several generations of anglers have subjected Northern Pike to over-harvest; this coupled with the loss of spawning habitat and water pollution has in many cases this created “Hammer Handle” lakes. When all the big predator fish are gone, the rough and stunted fish take over and can damage the fishery. Muskies introduced into these damaged lakes take the place of that former top predator by controlling rough fish as well as stunted fish naturally.

A 2006 University of Minnesota Survey shows a growing need for new lakes stating. “Adjusted estimate of licensed Minnesota anglers who report fishing for Muskie is 14% [168,000 resident anglers]” 1

Muskies and Spearing
Spearing Muskies is illegal in Minnesota. There are spearing bans on 26 lakes due to the fact they are trophy lakes, brood stock lakes, or lakes that need the additional protection of small Muskies due to low natural numbers. As stated in the 2008 Long Range Large Pike and Muskie plan “Any new lakes will not have any spearing bans.”2-8 We will continue to work with the spearing community to assure their future as well.


How will Muskies affect a Lake?
Lakes like; Winnibigoshish, Leech, Lake of the Woods, Vermillion and Mille Lacs and the Mississippi River are some of the best fisheries for Walleye and Panfish in the state. These are the quality lakes anglers have enjoyed for hundreds of years; all contain Muskies, some for thousands of years.

The MN DNR in 2007 conducted an extensive study on all 41 stocked Muskie lakes; here is their final result: “The lack of negative (or any) trends across all species, lakes, and lake classes, the tendency for most lakes to be within or above the lake class (suggests) that the fish species in this study have coexisted well with Muskies in these types of lakes and at the densities the MN DNR manages Muskies” 3

A 2005 study from Wisconsin looks into how different species interact with one another; this is the conclusion on Muskies. “Because muskellunge abundances were positively correlated to walleye abundances, direct competition or predation is unlikely to be occurring between these two species.” 4

How Do They Decide What to Stock?
The MN DNR has a stringent list of requirements and research that must be met before they stock any variety of fish. This study involves both social and biological issues. They assess the forage as well as the need for the fish from public requests. Then they call public meetings to get input and answer any concerns.

Are Muskies Trouble?
Anglers who oppose Muskies have used excerpts of field notes from Wisconsin, they have wrongly been used as actual studies; the Wisconsin DNR has reviewed, discredited and discounted them as having been taken out of context. Musky Troubles have also mentioned a 1984 technical report from Michigan on Iron Lake; 7 it was managed as a Muskie brood-stock lake and overstocked for decades, resulting in problems that would arise with any species that are over abundant in a lake.



Will They Overpopulate Our Lake?
A healthy population of Muskies is a low number of large trophy fish. Most lakes where they are stocked have very little or no natural reproduction. These populations depend on stocking for the future. The MN DNR monitors the population very closely. There are no examples of overpopulation or damage to the fishery in the state of Minnesota from Muskie stocking 3.

Catch and Release Is Important!
Any fish species benefit from a catch and release of its large specimens, some require this extra protection. Because Muskie populations are low the value of an individual fish is high. Delayed mortality can be a problem when fish are mishandled or improperly released. However; fish mortality can be less than 1% when artificial lures (optimized tackle) and correct fish-handling techniques are used as found in this 2004 study. “Relatively low levels of fish mortality are associated with catch and release fishing. Scientific evidence further indicates that the use of selected optimized tackle and techniques can then further reduce catch and release mortality rates.” 5

So What?
We hope this information will help you understand a bit more about these fabled fish. Muskies are enticing. They can also be important to local lakes, lakeshore owners and surrounding communities since there are roughly 100 waters with Muskies out of 13,000. Resorts and local businesses have prospered from areas having great Muskie fishing. Muskies are an important ingredient in Minnesota’s reputation of having some of the best overall fishing in North America.
If you have questions or concerns call your local or State DNR office to discuss this information.
1-(888) 646-6367
Thank You and Good Fishing



Sources:
1Managing Muskie in Minnesota
2007, Sue Schroeder, David C. Fulton, Robert A. Dodd
Minnesota Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit
Department of Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology University of Minnesota, Department of Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology University of Minnesota.

2Long Range Plan for Muskellunge and Large Northern Pike Management through 2020, 2008 This plan was created by MN DNR and Stakeholders from the Esocide Workshops including public input over a 2 year period and will be used as a management plan through year 2020.

3Fish Community Response to Muskie Introduction in Minnesota Lakes, MN DNR M.Knapp., S.Mero, and D. Bohlander. 2007.

4Interactions between Walleyes and Four Fish Species with
Implications for Walleye Stocking, 2005 ANDREW H. FAYRAM, MICHAEL HANSEN, TIMOTHY EHLINGER
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Bureau of Fisheries Management and Habitat Protection

5Catch and Release Fishing Effectiveness and Mortality
2004, P. Reiss, BS. a, M. Reiss, PhD.b, J. Reiss, BS.c a CEO, Acute Angling, Inc.; b Dept. of Material Science, Univ. of Maryland; c Lab. Supvr., Dept. of
Neurobiology, RutgersUniv.

7Introduction and management of Northern Muskellunge in Iron Lake Michicgan 1984, D.H. Siler and G.B. Beyerle

8Esocide workshops, MN DNR, 2006-2008 {Groups involved, Sportsmen for Responsible Musky Management [A group comprised of Northerns Inc. and The MN Dark House Anglers Association], Minnesota Muskie Alliance, Muskies Inc., Outdoor writers, Concerned Northern Pike and Muskie stakeholders that are unaffiliated with any organization.}

Minnesota Muskie Alliance (MMA) is a not for profit organization comprised of all 11 Minnesota Muskies inc. Chapters.

If you have any questions or would like to view any of this research in its entirety send an e-mail to muskietruth@yahoo.com we will return your request as soon as possible.

Created and approved by: Chapter 54 Muskies Inc and Minnesota Muskie Alliance. © 2009



Muskies Inc Chapter 54
WebDude
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Daily Subscription Msg 2 Posted: 07:33 AM 02/17/09 (CST)
Excellent read, JCU!



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WebDude
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Daily Subscription Msg 3 Posted: 07:39 AM 02/17/09 (CST)
By the way. Your signature file was broke. Not sure why, but permission to link the pic from michapter54.com is denied. I hope you don't mind, but I got a copy and fixed it for you.



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JCU
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Joined 04/05/2008
Posts:70

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Daily Subscription Msg 4 Posted: 06:05 PM 02/17/09 (CST)
Thank You and Thank You WD
John



Muskies Inc Chapter 54
T-Bone
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Joined 07/26/2006
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Daily Subscription Msg 5 Posted: 10:30 PM 02/17/09 (CST)
I HATE IT WHEN PEOPLE SAY THAT MUSKIES HAVE RUINED THEIR FAVORITE WALLEYE LAKE! i think we already had that conversation? right?



JCU
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Joined 04/05/2008
Posts:70

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Daily Subscription Msg 6 Posted: 10:56 PM 02/17/09 (CST)
Hey T-bone I agree but its still a big question for those that own homes on and around lakes that may be considered for stocking, as well as spearers that assume the lake will be banned after Muskies are stocked.



Muskies Inc Chapter 54
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