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

Managing Muskellunge on the Fringe: An Examination of Nebraska’s Efforts to Provide Quality Fishing Outside the Native Range [Extended Abstract]

Matthew A. Perrion and Keith D. Koupal

doi: https://doi.org/10.47886/9781934874462.ch56

A unique set of management challenges accompanies the introduction of Muskellunge Esox masquinongy outside of its native range. Muskellunge popularity among anglers is increasing, which is prompting management agencies to introduce this species into new waters and habitats to provide greater angler access to this sport fish. A manager desiring to introduce an apex predator like Muskellunge must develop a consistent supply of fish for stocking, identify appropriate waters to stock that maximizes angler participation while minimizing impacts on existing native and sport fish populations, and establish harvest regulations without knowing basic population dynamics. To guide their decisions, managers rely on published population dynamic values while realizing that latitudinal differences have been associated with variability in growth and mortality in other esocids (Rypel 2012). We highlight the challenges faced by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission (NGPC) in establishing a Muskellunge management program and provide information obtained on growth, recruitment, and angler success.