Muskellunge Management: Fifty Years of Cooperation Among Anglers, Scientists, and Fisheries Biologists

Going Wild: Canada’s Path to Sustainable Muskellunge Populations [Abstract]

Peter Levick

doi: https://doi.org/10.47886/9781934874462.ch3

Muskies Canada Sport Fishing and Research Inc. (or Muskies Canada) strives to ensure sustainable wild Muskellunge Esox masquinongy populations in Canada. To date, this has involved promotion of catch-and-release practices and mitigating angling mortality through support of restrictive regulations. Muskies Canada proposes that we now begin to focus on natural reproduction as the key to sustainability. This means we must recognize and address concerns about fragmentation, disruption, and loss of essential spawning and nursery habitat. Embracing research with university and government partners, we can better understand Muskellunge breeding migration, ideal spawning site characteristics, site fidelity, and age-0 nursery habitat requirements. This will facilitate better identification, protection, and, in some cases, restoration of significant local wetland and shoreline habitat that supports natural reproduction. In addition, we must use analysis of Muskellunge age and population dynamics to determine the optimum number of breeding cycles that will sustain populations. Any age-based approach may require some adjustment of minimum size limits. This new focus on natural reproduction will lead to a comprehensive review and update of Muskellunge management strategies, working extensively through partnership and collaboration to chart the path to future sustainability for Canada’s wild Muskellunge populations.