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

Birth of a Muskellunge Lake: A Strategy for Assessing Survival, Age, and Growth [Abstract]

Jordan G. Weeks

doi: https://doi.org/10.47886/9781934874462.ch50

I measured age, growth, and emigration for an introduced Muskellunge Esox masquinongy population in Lake Neshonoc, a 743-acre (300.7 ha) reservoir in La Crosse County, Wisconsin. I developed a strategy for marking and recapturing fish in order to assess development of an introduced Muskellunge population. A total of 4,738 Muskellunge fingerling and 116 adults were stocked from 2006 through 2015 in order to create a fishery. All fish were either batch-marked with fin clips or individually marked. From 2007 to 2015, I marked 388 Muskellunge with passive integrated transponder tags. While 90.2 % of marked fish were subsequently recaptured in the lake proper, 9.8 % were recaptured downstream of the impoundment. Individual growth varied greatly for fish recaptured in the lake and for those that escaped; recaptured fish ranged from age 0 to age 9. Findings of this work will be used to determine if differences in size at stocking and fish stock origin influence growth and/or survival in stocked Muskellunge populations. In addition, it may lead to advancements in marking methods and stocking strategies.