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Muskellunge

Esox masquinongy

Pike Family

Freshwater Fish Identification

Muskellunge


Common Name(s):
Musky, lunge
Description:
The musky has a long, flat, brownish back and a broad head. The sides are gray or silvery with dark vertical bars or spots, depending on the regional variations, and the belly is cream white. One distinguishing feature is that scales only cover the top half of the gill covers and cheeks. The muskellunge also has six or more sensory pores on each side along the margin of the lower jaw, where a northern pike has five or less. The musky’s tail is also much more pointed than the rounded tail fins of the northern pike.
Similar Fish:
Tiger muskellunge, northern pike
Feeding Habits:
It is mainly a fish-eater, but will feed on frogs, ducklings, mice, large aquatic insects, shore birds, and crayfish. They’re very opportunistic feeders that will attempt to eat almost anything that will fit in its mouth.
Range:
The musky is natural to the northeastern United States and the Great Lakes region south into Georgia and north into Quebec. It also stretches west into Manitoba. Because of the wide range that this species covers, there are many subspecies that reside in different regions.
Habitat:
The muskellunge prefers shallow lakes and slow-moving rivers that contain heavy amounts of vegetation and weed beds. Cooler waters are preferred, but it can also stand warmer waters for limited amounts of time.
Typical Size:
The largest of the pike family, the musky can grow up to 45-50 inches long and weigh 35-45 pounds, and they have been known to grow even bigger, up the 55-60 lbs!
World Record:
67 pounds, 8 ounces (Source - IGFA)