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 Post subject: muskie size limits
PostPosted: April 12th, 2012, 10:00 am 
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Joined: June 11th, 2010, 7:43 am
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Location: kaukauna, wi
i just posted a response w/pics to ALT's post. it got me thinking about size restrictions. muskies are being stocked in a lot of places now, so i'd be interested if all you folks deal with stupid regs as well. don't get me wrong, i do release all i catch, but that 48 was undersize. fifty is the min for that stretch of river. it was caught on a six inch minnowbait. the fish inhaled it. luckily the fish survived. what if it didn't??? tear a gill out or something like that. that fish would be respectable on a wall. the only way i'd keep one is if it died. to be legal, a dying fish goes back into the river. that seems like such a waste to me. anyhow, just a little rant. i think most who fish for muskie release what they catch. i think extremely high size limits are a bit silly. us die-hards respect and take care of our muskie fisheries. no need for regs like that.

-ben


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 Post subject: Re: muskie size limits
PostPosted: April 13th, 2012, 10:14 pm 
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I think their needs to be a regulatory distinction between catch and release and take fisheries. I know their is in some places...in exchange for requirements of certain kind of tackle to increase post-release survival they reap certain benefits(often being able to fish an otherwise off limits area).

What is the bag limit for muskie? That might help. If they really are as rarely caught as they are-perhaps they should be managed more like, say, deer. You know, you get a muskie tag...allows you one muskie. Then drop the legal size a bit.


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 Post subject: Re: muskie size limits
PostPosted: April 13th, 2012, 10:55 pm 

Joined: July 2nd, 2010, 5:48 pm
Posts: 607
Location: AZ.
Size limits are often controversial, but suggesting they are wasteful is sort of simplistic... Releasing fish healthy enough to survive and spawn is a desirable goal, and sometimes it means not using bait, or using single barbless hooks instead of multiple trebles...who should take the responsibility for a safe release? I too get frustrated with some regulations, i.e we often catch deep water rockfish that suffer barotrauma (the fill up with nitrogen/gas) when pulled from the depths, and likely will die if released, but we have to release the formerly abundant yelloweye rockfish. We usually move away from reefs with yelloweyes on them to avoid this, but others just keep fishing and mortalities mount...and some anglers can't even identify what they catch. Do you know at what size muskies successfully spawn and how many times before they are harvestable size? You say no need for such regulations...usually they are made on the premise the fish will replace themselves before being harvested. Yes, I know you catch and release, but there are still mortalities and a lot of people do not release fish.

I can assure you some anglers are not good sports, and they will kill anything they catch, and Yes, I have actually seen them take a "short" fish and stretch it to make it appear long enough to meet the regulation. In some fisheries, they use slot limits, where you can keep small fish, must release the average, and you may keep a large trophy fish. It works pretty well I think, and assures a large group of spawners. Sometimes when you just have a single size limit, the majority of fish are too small, and as soon as legal size, someone harvests them. Managing fisheries is a real challenge, and some anglers and commercial fishermen make a science of getting around the well intended regulations. I challenge anyone to improve regulations, it is tough...with both politics and fisheries management issues taking a place, often politics trumping the science.


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 Post subject: Re: muskie size limits
PostPosted: April 14th, 2012, 9:27 am 
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Joined: June 11th, 2010, 7:43 am
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Location: kaukauna, wi
the legal limit in wisconsin is one per day. and twice that in your possession(ie. freezer). muskie fisheries are managed for trophy fish. they are not managed for food. small percentages of folks may take and eat what they catch, but this is generally not the case. people who target muskies are die-hards. i've fished them in thirty mile-an-hour blizzards in late november. most folks are getting their ice fishing gear ready. we are breaking ice to get to open water.

as far as size at sexual maturity goes, i'm not exactly sure, but i've seen spawners in the low forties. i'm guessing it's lower than that considering the DNR has imposed a statewide 34inch minimum. this is a blanket rule, but varies from one body of water to the next. many lakes have a 40inch min. this, i believe is pretty acceptable. in my opinion, this is a small fish. don't get me wrong, it's a respectable fish, but nowhere near being a wall hanger. wisconsin and minnesota have come a long way from the muskie massacres of the fifties. in the 80's, a 40 incher was a trophy. not the case any more. much of this owed to catch and release. most muskie fishermen manage themselves in order to manage the resource. those who do not, should start now. what i mean by this is that once a fish is hooked, it is brought to the net ASAP. this is done so you do not tire the fish to exhaustion. the fish stays in the net in the water almost the entire time. for deeply-hooked fish, hooks are cut off. no need to drag it on by trying to surgically remove them. cut them. keep a supply in your tackle, and replace them. out of the water for a few quick photos, and back in for the release. we grab the tail and push-pull the fish to get oxygen over the gills. we only release our grip when the fish shows sign of good hard tail movement. sometimes this procedure can take 30 minutes, especially in warmer water temps, but we do it. i've never seen a fish die yet, but it does happen. that's why i think a 50 inch min is a bit too big. a fall-fattened 48 incher can be as heavy as 35 pounds. that's a wall hanger, but illegal because of it's size.

oh, and one more thing. yes, muskies can be difficult to catch, but as mentioned in the other post, they follow your bait. so many times have i seen a hot fish come in only to stare at us before sinking back to the depths. this is what muskie fishing is all about. they are not that difficult to catch if you do some research and put some time in on the water.

-ben


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 Post subject: Re: muskie size limits
PostPosted: April 14th, 2012, 5:06 pm 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 7:05 am
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Location: Albuquerque
Here in New Mexico, we have tiger muskies stocked, which are a muskie/pike hybrid. They are supposed to be sterile. They were introduced to take care of the goldfish problem in a few of our lakes. For the first few years, they were catch and release only, but now they have a limit of one and it has to be over 40 inches. I'm guessing they want the fish there to take care of the goldfish, but they don't want them too big that they will eat the trout that are stocked in hose lakes.

Josh


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 Post subject: Re: muskie size limits
PostPosted: April 14th, 2012, 9:33 pm 

Joined: July 2nd, 2010, 5:48 pm
Posts: 607
Location: AZ.
Any pike or muskie or hybrid of same will have no trouble with any but the largest trout in those lakes. I can only speculate, but they are probably limited in numbers, they chose to stock hybrids, and perhaps the fishery managers want a few of them around to provide a trophy fishery, but not so many they will devastate the trout fishery. We had an unlawful introduction of Northern Pike in California's Davis Lake, which has/had a premier trout fishery. Within a few years, the smaller trout were virtually nonexistent, and we caught many relatively large trout, 12-20" specimens with pike scars/lacerations on the trout bellies and sides. We also caught a lot of smallish pike, of several year classes, so they were breeding. A few large ones taken by others in the 15 lb. class. These pike and I would assume muskies are indeed fierce predators.
BTW, after several fiascos and scandals, the pike were eliminated from Davis Lake, at staggering costs...and the trout fishery is rebounding. I really want to catch a big Northern or muskie or tiger muskie someday, on my list of things to do when I retire. Maybe I will go to New Mexico, that is an attraction in addition to mountain rattlesnakes and trout in the Rockies! Vic


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 Post subject: Re: muskie size limits
PostPosted: April 15th, 2012, 8:42 am 
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Location: kaukauna, wi
i'm surprised that they would stock tigers to ward off the goldfish. if the goldfish are at problem numbers, a few muskies are not going to solve the problem. a bunch of muskies could, but the cost would be your trout. what's the problem with the goldfish? are they destroying vegetation? eating trout eggs? at least they stocked hybrids. yes they will not reproduce. here in wisconsin, tigers were stocked in many lakes, but now that is not happening. i'm guessing the DNR was experimenting with apex predators. if something bad happened, they could stop, and let the fish disappear. now they have learned a great deal, and have begun stocking muskies.

if you are searching for trophy pike, canada is the place to go. go somewhere in early june when the fish are up shallow. big pike tend to go deep during the summer, and are harder to catch.

if it's muskies, minnesota or wisconsin are good bets. there are also good places to go in michigan and east along the st. lawrence. most fish in relation to big water such as the great lakes are caught trolling. BORING, but the chance of a really big fish is there. there are a handful of waters in and around the upper midwest that truly have the potential of putting out a new world record. you'd be amazed at the numbers of out-of-staters who come to green bay each fall. the shad run up the river, and the muskies follow them. we've had days with ten+ fish between two or three people. green bay is one of those record potential waters. good forage, and good genetics.

-ben


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 Post subject: Re: muskie size limits
PostPosted: April 15th, 2012, 9:14 am 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 7:05 am
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Location: Albuquerque


Josh


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 Post subject: Re: muskie size limits
PostPosted: April 15th, 2012, 9:40 am 
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Location: kaukauna, wi
are there a lot of trout in that lake? they mentioned it was impounded. were there native trout in the river prior to the dam? how deep is it? i'm guessing fairly deep if trout are thriving.

i hope they help with the goldfish, and don't become a problem with the trout. the state may not see true results for another ten-twenty years. it may take that long for the system to balance itself properly. once those fish get big, they tend to get smarter. instead of staying shallow, they will move to deep water in the summer. they'll set up at the thermocline and feed at optimum times. slow digestion in the cold water helps them get bigger. once they start doing this, the deeper waster trout will be more vulnerable to predation. big muskies/pike tend to lean toward these habits. it will take a while for it all to play out. like i said earlier, if it doesn't work, they can make the tigers go away.

-ben


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 Post subject: Re: muskie size limits
PostPosted: April 15th, 2012, 9:50 am 
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Location: Albuquerque
Yeah, that's why they chose a hybrid. I'm not sure about native trout in the lake, but they regularly stock it with rainbows.

Josh


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 Post subject: Re: muskie size limits
PostPosted: April 15th, 2012, 3:18 pm 
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Victort: It is really saddening/frustrating to see barotrauma and rockfish. Studies have suggested though that so long as you get them back down to depth ASAP they survive quite well and prospects for long term survival are pretty good (a weighted milk crate dropped ontop of the said rockfish does the trick-their is no need to use a needle or whatever to deflate them). One grad student at my school did research on affects of barotrauma induced injury on vision, she found the fish recovered within several days to be able to see well enough to catch small prey-even those who's eyes stretched the optic nerve during barotrauma.

I do wonder what percentage of catch-release fish survive long term(sure their are lots of studies on that). Just cause a muskie exhibits a righting response and swims away from the boat doesn't mean it isn't going to keel over a few days later.


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 Post subject: Re: muskie size limits
PostPosted: April 16th, 2012, 9:16 am 
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Location: kaukauna, wi
Joseph S. wrote:
I do wonder what percentage of catch-release fish survive long term(sure their are lots of studies on that). Just cause a muskie exhibits a righting response and swims away from the boat doesn't mean it isn't going to keel over a few days later.



i know there are studies regarding this. i haven't read any lately. i believe you are right, some will die. i think as long as one does what they can to keep the experience minimal for the fish, most fish will be fine. i've read plenty of accounts where fishermen catch the same fish on a fairly regular basis on smaller bodies of water. i suppose one could argue that they are not the same fish, but individual patterns are pretty unique, and comparing photos, i'm convinced.

-ben


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 Post subject: Re: muskie size limits
PostPosted: April 18th, 2012, 12:31 pm 

Joined: June 7th, 2010, 8:57 am
Posts: 140
Location: Central NY
In NY both muskies and tiger muskies have a one a day 30 inch minimum. Tiger muskies are reproducing and aren't uncommon in the lakes they inhabit, but muskies aren't nearly as common as they used to be and you don't really hear about the 50 lb fish you used to. I personally think the minimum should be in the 44-48 inch range for regular muskie's here. A 30 inch muskie isn't a big fish and it's likely to be wasted after caught.


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 Post subject: Re: muskie size limits
PostPosted: April 19th, 2012, 11:12 pm 

Joined: July 2nd, 2010, 5:48 pm
Posts: 607
Location: AZ.
TJP wrote:
In NY both muskies and tiger muskies have a one a day 30 inch minimum.
Quote:
Tiger muskies are reproducing
and aren't uncommon in the lakes they inhabit, but muskies aren't nearly as common as they used to be and you don't really hear about the 50 lb fish you used to. I personally think the minimum should be in the 44-48 inch range for regular muskie's here. A 30 inch muskie isn't a big fish and it's likely to be wasted after caught.


Tiger muskies are reproducing? They are hybrids and the literature says they are sterile...is that not accurate?

Joseph, I will shoot you a PM lest we hijack this muskie thread...

Vic


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 Post subject: Re: muskie size limits
PostPosted: April 20th, 2012, 3:49 pm 
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Location: kaukauna, wi
yes, they do not reproduce. there is a possibility however that a unique situation occurs where muskies and pike breed. it does not happen often, but it does happen. some locals may present a situation where it happens more often. do not worry about hijacking this thread. i like the discussion.

-ben


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 Post subject: Re: muskie size limits
PostPosted: April 25th, 2012, 11:12 am 

Joined: June 7th, 2010, 8:57 am
Posts: 140
Location: Central NY
VICtort wrote:
TJP wrote:
In NY both muskies and tiger muskies have a one a day 30 inch minimum.
Quote:
Tiger muskies are reproducing
and aren't uncommon in the lakes they inhabit, but muskies aren't nearly as common as they used to be and you don't really hear about the 50 lb fish you used to. I personally think the minimum should be in the 44-48 inch range for regular muskie's here. A 30 inch muskie isn't a big fish and it's likely to be wasted after caught.


Tiger muskies are reproducing? They are hybrids and the literature says they are sterile...is that not accurate?

Joseph, I will shoot you a PM lest we hijack this muskie thread...

Vic


I always thought that they couldn't reproduce either, until talking with someone from the DEC and seeing fish caught without the trademark fin clips. A few of the small lakes here that have tiger muskies are landlocked and don't have normal muskellunge, so it's not possible for them to breed with the pike. I can't figure it out. It doesn't seem to happen with some of the other hybrid's we have here.....splake, tiger trout, char trout. Although, they aren't nearly as common as tiger muskie's, either. Sorry for getting off topic on the thread.


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 Post subject: Re: muskie size limits
PostPosted: April 25th, 2012, 6:13 pm 
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Location: kaukauna, wi
no need to worry about off-topic. this will go where it will go. it's not like a herp related thread that can go crazy real quick-like.

from what i have always heard, tigers are sterile. i will point out that nature always finds a way.

who knows, maybe "us" messing with it for long enough helped set up "plan B". God has his ways.

-ben


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 Post subject: Re: muskie size limits
PostPosted: May 3rd, 2012, 6:18 am 
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Joined: January 1st, 2012, 7:14 am
Posts: 342
Location: Pike County KY
muskiemagnet wrote:
no need to worry about off-topic. this will go where it will go. it's not like a herp related thread that can go crazy real quick-like.

from what i have always heard, tigers are sterile. i will point out that nature always finds a way.

who knows, maybe "us" messing with it for long enough helped set up "plan B". God has his ways.

-ben


That is correct. Nature finds a way. There is a small 60 acre lake not far from my house. They stocked musky there thirty years ago and then quit. They werent supposed to be able to spawn either but guess what, you can go catch one there today! Mules are hybrids too, but I know of instances where they have still reproduced. In regard to the origional post, where I fish at Cave Run Lake, they have a 2 fish limit with a 37 inch minimum size.

As far as survival after release, the rates are pretty high. A friend on mine and guide on cave Run also guides for tigers up north and he photographs them all so he has photo IDs. He has caught many Tigers multiple times. Their patterning is so unique from fish to fish that it is hard to mistake one for another. He has even reached the point of naming various fish that he has caught over the years.


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 Post subject: Re: muskie size limits
PostPosted: May 3rd, 2012, 8:36 am 
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I certainly don't doubt the survival rates, even long term for catch and release of species such as muskie are high. I know of a few fish in private ponds/lakes that have been caught probably a dozen+ times in the course of a few years(interestingly their are also fish in those same said ponds one only sees upon draining them-being fooled by lures I suspect is somewhat hereditary).

If a catch release fishery is implemented it is useful to have an estimate of mortality.

So far as I can tell no one has determined if rockfish are surviving just fine long term-them being caught and released if definetly more stressful. Also, considering they live longer than many of us do and wait almost as long before reproducing even low mortality could be a factor affecting recovering fisheries.


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 Post subject: Re: muskie size limits
PostPosted: May 8th, 2012, 6:02 pm 
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Joined: June 19th, 2010, 6:42 pm
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Location: New Yawk
My undergrad university is pretty big on muskie research, here are some relevant links:

http://www.esf.edu/tibs/MuskiePrograms.htm

http://www.esf.edu/tibs/Publications.htm


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