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

Movements of Muskellunge in the Saint John River Based on a Volunteer Tagging Project, 2006-2015

Steven J. Kerr and Brandon Jones

doi: https://doi.org/10.47886/9781934874462.ch4

Abstract.—We report on results of a Muskellunge Esox masquinongy tagging project, which was conducted on the Saint John River, New Brunswick, from 2006 to 2015 (inclusive). During that period of time, 691 Muskellunge were angled, tagged, and released by members of the Saint John River Chapter of Muskies Canada Inc. By the end of the 2015 angling season, a total of 64 (9.3%) tagged Muskellunge had been recaptured by angling. An additional four tagged fish were captured at the Mactaquac Dam fishway. Most Muskellunge were observed to establish discrete summer home ranges from which there was little, if any, movement. Transitional movements were believed to occur during the spring and fall, associated with spawning as well as the establishment of summer and winter ranges. Muskellunge movements that were documented in this study occurred in both upstream and downstream directions in equal proportion. Muskellunge also demonstrated the ability to move long distances both upstream and downstream, including passage over/through the Mactaquac Dam. Observations of Muskellunge behavior and movements from this study are generally consistent with observations (small home ranges, males more sedentary than females, movements seasonal in nature, capable of long distance movements, etc.) reported from similar tagging studies in other North American jurisdictions. Future efforts will be directed to obtaining additional information on recaptured fish. With additional recapture information, a more detailed analysis of Muskellunge in the Saint John watershed can be completed.