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More Muskie Fishing -> Muskie Biology -> Where do they go?
 
Message Subject: Where do they go?
esoxaddict
Posted 6/30/2017 12:38 PM (#867222)
Subject: Where do they go?





Posts: 6830


Thinking about some of the lakes I've fished over the years... 28" is about the smallest muskie I have ever seen or caught, even when fishing for other species with lighter tackle. Seems there should be a lot more fish that are a year or two or three years old out there. I never see them, never catch them, never find them in the bellies of other fish. Seems like they don't start showing up until they're around 30". Where are they until that point?
tcbetka
Posted 6/30/2017 1:02 PM (#867231 - in reply to #867222)
Subject: Re: Where do they go?




Posts: 2057


Location: Green Bay, WI
It's likely that 1) they aren't where you are fishing, 2) they aren't eating what you're offering, and/or 3) they aren't in the lake in the density required to see many of them.

I used to fish Shell Lake a lot, back in 2001-2003, and would see/catch small muskies quite often. They'd even follow something like a suick, back in the shallow bay on the south side of the lake. We'd even catch small ones on nightcrawlers, fishing for panfish and such. But they were right in the weeds (lily pads, bullrushes) with the panfish. But we used to see them quite frequently.

TB
Larry Ramsell
Posted 6/30/2017 1:37 PM (#867246 - in reply to #867222)
Subject: Re: Where do they go?




Posts: 1031


Location: Hayward, Wisconsin
When I worked on the tracking study on Eagle Lake in 1986, I believe the answer to that question was answered by walleye fishermen.

I kept track of the muskie we caught from Eagle, starting in 1967, and of the first 54 muskies we caught, only two were under 40 inches; one at 38 inches and one at 15 inches. During 1986, walleye anglers started reporting catching several low 20 inch muskies fishing for walleyes in 20 plus feet of water. I hypothesized from that and my experience, that the small fish stay away from "traditional" muskie spots until they get big enough to fend for them selves in waters occupied by the larger muskies.

They don't hatch out at 40 inches, so they have to be somewhere! In Wisconsin, where I started out muskie fishing, it was not unusual to catch the little guys, the smallest I've caught there were2 that were 8 inches long and hit "normal" size muskie lures! It was a lake absent of pike...
Kirby Budrow
Posted 6/30/2017 3:21 PM (#867278 - in reply to #867222)
Subject: Re: Where do they go?





Posts: 1191


Location: Chisholm, MN
I caught one about 12" long on a phantom glider a few years back. It was sitting in a shallow cabbage filled bay. I often wonder the same thing myself. I also caught one on the Mississippi many years ago on a night crawler. That fish was maybe 20" long.
River2Stream
Posted 6/30/2017 6:56 PM (#867325 - in reply to #867278)
Subject: Re: Where do they go?




Posts: 109


Down in my neck of the woods, most of the small fish stay in the feeder creeks that empty into bigger water whether it be the lake or larger creeks/rivers. I've never caught a sub 25" in our larger bodies of water. But they are as thick as thieves in the skinny water. Id say it would have to do with predation for and AGAINST them. Big fish in a small pond theory. Once they are able to mature enough to not get crushed by a bigger musky and wean themselves off of the creek chubs and rock bass they move out and start on the smallmouth, crappie, suckers, and bullheads in the bigger water.
25homes
Posted 7/12/2017 3:47 PM (#869902 - in reply to #867222)
Subject: Re: Where do they go?





Posts: 788


My brother just caught about a 14 inch muskie fishing for crappie...I couldnt believe it he caught in April Most likely a Fingerling Stocked that fall...very cool looking try and post pic..
25homes
Posted 7/12/2017 3:50 PM (#869903 - in reply to #869902)
Subject: Re: Where do they go?





Posts: 788


Lip looks like caught b4 too


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(20170409_172608-2656x1494-1062x597.jpg)



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North of 8
Posted 7/12/2017 6:31 PM (#869930 - in reply to #867222)
Subject: Re: Where do they go?




Posts: 1764


I don't see many small muskies on the chain where I live while fishing, but have seem some quite small ones by the dock on occasion. Today I was fishing and made a second pass through an area where I had marked fish and got a light hit. I thought it was a northern until it was right by the boat and realized it was a tiger about 20" or so long. Surprised me in that the only tigers in the chain are naturally occurring, in that there is no stocking of muskies in the chain and hasn't been for over 20 years. The pure muskies have no markings, just green and silver, probably because the water is very dark. However this little tiger had very distinct stripes. Unfortunately, it came unpinned before I could get a better look. It was in an area where I and others have caught some nice muskies in the past.
RiverEsoxPA
Posted 7/12/2017 8:57 PM (#869956 - in reply to #869930)
Subject: Re: Where do they go?




Posts: 2


I caught a 17" tiger today. Fishing from shore in a spot that I normally catch pike at(I'm sure this fish was stocked though, they have been putting 1,000 to 2,000 in every year since 2012). First cast, then I didnt catch anything for 3 hours, not even a sauger. Changed spots and caught a couple sauger and smallmouth. Wish I took more pictures, I was by myself and wanted to get it back because it was 93 degrees, fish was out of water less than 90 seconds. Something attacked that fish, it had fresh sores on it's back. Thought it was a walleye when I hooked it.

08 Rapala jointed jerkbait

Edited by RiverEsoxPA 7/12/2017 9:26 PM



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Larry Ramsell
Posted 7/13/2017 8:52 AM (#869994 - in reply to #867222)
Subject: Re: Where do they go?




Posts: 1031


Location: Hayward, Wisconsin
River Esox, that is a northern pike, not a tiger muskie.
25homes
Posted 7/13/2017 10:27 AM (#870004 - in reply to #869956)
Subject: Re: Where do they go?





Posts: 788


RiverEsoxPA - 7/12/2017 8:57 PM

I caught a 17" tiger today. Fishing from shore in a spot that I normally catch pike at(I'm sure this fish was stocked though, they have been putting 1,000 to 2,000 in every year since 2012). First cast, then I didnt catch anything for 3 hours, not even a sauger. Changed spots and caught a couple sauger and smallmouth. Wish I took more pictures, I was by myself and wanted to get it back because it was 93 degrees, fish was out of water less than 90 seconds. Something attacked that fish, it had fresh sores on it's back. Thought it was a walleye when I hooked it.

08 Rapala jointed jerkbait


I agree think that is a pike my man...vertical lines throw you off but dark background light spots I go Pike....amazing how much bigger that fish is at 17 inches compared to the 12-14 inch one on other pic
Musky_Mo16
Posted 10/13/2017 12:05 PM (#881204 - in reply to #867222)
Subject: Re: Where do they go?




Posts: 684


Location: Apparently where the Muskie aren't
I've only ever caught 2 muskies and the second one was only about 24". I think the reason we don't see them often is because of the lures we throw. Sure a 20" Muskie will attack a double 10 but for the most part I it really is too big. But once the fish gets around 30"+ a double 10 size lure is probaly close to a average meal for them.
sworrall
Posted 10/13/2017 1:43 PM (#881220 - in reply to #867222)
Subject: Re: Where do they go?





Location: Rhinelander, Wisconsin
A fairly conclusive study a while back showed the average sized meal for muskies is about 6" to 7".
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