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Monday, October 3, 2016

Muskellunge

Photo Credit: Engbretson, Eric / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service  
Muskellunges are located in the Northern to Northeast part of the United States and up into Canada. They are one of the more uncommon freshwater fish in the United States. Muskies live in lakes and large rivers. They prefer shallow water with a rocky bottom and heavy cover. They like thick weeds to hide in when they hunt for other fish.

Muskellunges have an elongated body and a flat head, with light colored with dark bars running down the sides of their body. Their underside is plain white in color. The biggest difference between male and female muskie is size. Both genders continually grow with age. The male fish tend to measure between 22-39 inches long, while females are slightly larger, measuring 22-50 inches long. Males weigh normally 3-20 pounds, while females normally weigh 3-40 pounds.

Muskellunges spawn in late spring when the water temperature is in the mid-50s. It usually happens in late April to early May. The male first claims territory and then the female arrives. The spawn lasts 5-10 days and the eggs are laid on a rock or sand bottom. The male and female then leave the eggs, which will hatch within two weeks. The majority of the juveniles do not make it, but those that do feed on zooplankton. Within 6 months of age, the juveniles will measure close to a foot long.

Did you know?
Muskellunges have needle-like teeth.

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