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

Assessment of Leech Lake Strain Muskellunge Stocking in Lake Wissota, Wisconsin [Extended Abstract]

Joseph Gerbyshak, Wes Larson, and Keith N. Turnquist

doi: https://doi.org/10.47886/9781934874462.ch39

Lake Wissota is a 6,148-acre (2,488 ha) impoundment of the Chippewa River located in west central Wisconsin that has a Muskellunge Esox masquinongy fishery designated as a “trophy” fishery by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) that is maintained largely through stocking native upper Chippewa River strain (UCRS) Muskellunge. In the early 2000s, a few private angler organizations lobbied the WDNR to begin stocking Leech Lake strain (LLS) Muskellunge into Wisconsin waters with the thought that these fish, which attain large sizes in their native Minnesota waters, may help to improve the size structure and reproductive potential of Wisconsin’s Muskellunge fisheries. A study was developed to evaluate the potential effects of stocking LLS Muskellunge in Wisconsin; Lake Wissota was selected as one of the study lakes for this project. Lake Wissota received 7,717 fall fingerlings (mean, 10.3 in [1 in = 2.54 cm]) and 1,050 yearlings (mean, 16.7 in) LLS Muskellunge from eight stocking events between 2005 and 2015. The majority of Muskellunge stocked during this timeframe were UCRS, but these stockings events comprised 25.5% Muskellunge stocked. Prior to stocking, a fin was removed from each LLS Muskellunge to identify future recaptures of this strain.