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Muskie Fishing -> General Discussion -> Which subspecies of muskellunge grows to the largest size?
 
Message Subject: Which subspecies of muskellunge grows to the largest size?
Muthsky
Posted 3/25/2023 9:23 AM (#1019244)
Subject: Which subspecies of muskellunge grows to the largest size?




Posts: 46


Hi fellows,

Several subspecies of muskellunge exist, which one grows to the largest size?

Thank you in advance
mikie
Posted 3/26/2023 8:51 AM (#1019258 - in reply to #1019244)
Subject: Re: Which subspecies of muskellunge grows to the largest size?





Location: Athens, Ohio
That New York strain from a lake I can't spell seems to do well, as does the Leech. m
Solitario Lupo
Posted 3/26/2023 10:15 AM (#1019260 - in reply to #1019244)
Subject: Re: Which subspecies of muskellunge grows to the largest size?





Location: PA Angler
Any 3 of the pures can get big. IMO it’s on how well the the food is in the waterways. How good are they eating and what.
BillM
Posted 3/26/2023 11:35 AM (#1019262 - in reply to #1019244)
Subject: Re: Which subspecies of muskellunge grows to the largest size?





Posts: 171


All depends on forage.
ToddM
Posted 3/28/2023 8:14 AM (#1019303 - in reply to #1019244)
Subject: Re: Which subspecies of muskellunge grows to the largest size?





Posts: 20188


Location: oswego, il
The great lakes st Lawrence strain. The data study is already there.
RJ_692
Posted 3/28/2023 2:04 PM (#1019310 - in reply to #1019244)
Subject: Re: Which subspecies of muskellunge grows to the largest size?




Posts: 357


other than shoepaks, all the strains i have seen (GL, WIS (version in Mille Lacs), Leech) seem to all be able to get big, and to about the same size.

biggest one i have seen was on LOTW and that's maybe its own or mixed strain, but generally they kind of top out before some of the others do.
CincySkeez
Posted 3/28/2023 3:51 PM (#1019312 - in reply to #1019310)
Subject: Re: Which subspecies of muskellunge grows to the largest size?





Posts: 606


Location: Duluth
GL Strain and Mississippi (Leech Lake) Strain. So evidence to show that the GL fish get a bit heavier. Larry Ramsell has a great break down between Sympatric and Allopatric strains in a thread here.

The St. Lawrence is interesting because is GL and Chautauqua mixed, believe the Chaut strain were used to bolster population post VHS
Slamr
Posted 3/28/2023 4:10 PM (#1019316 - in reply to #1019312)
Subject: Re: Which subspecies of muskellunge grows to the largest size?





Posts: 7012


Location: Northwest Chicago Burbs
I THOUGHT we had all decided that:

a. it's all about forage ultimately (plus water temps, ph, ya know environmental factors)
b. LL strains grow fast, but do not reach ultimate size that other strains see.
c. shoepack - put it to bed
d. WI strain gets the biggest in terms of overall weight.

Could be wrong...where's Dad (Sworrall) when we need him?
bloatlord
Posted 3/28/2023 4:28 PM (#1019317 - in reply to #1019316)
Subject: Re: Which subspecies of muskellunge grows to the largest size?




Posts: 95



a. it's all about forage ultimately (plus water temps, ph, ya know environmental factors)


Peer reviewed studies I am seeing seem to support a version of this. It is true that genetics play a role, but forage and lake limitations play a huge role here. I am a South Dakota angler, and not too long ago the Game Fish and Parks (our ridiculously named DNR) conducted a tagging program with musky in select bodies of water. We don't have a lot of the calorically dense forage like cisco here, and our musky predate chiefly on bullhead and perch when available. The results were telling: even though our musky are stocked through Iowa, which has lakes like Spirit and Okoboji producing very big fish, ours struggle. Over a 1 year period, most had only grown 3 or so inches. This can also be attributed to other stressors: our lakes tend to be shallow (15-30 feet) and our distance further south also increases heat stress. The answer, much like when I ask my wife how she is feeling, is incredibly complicated.
sworrall
Posted 3/28/2023 4:40 PM (#1019318 - in reply to #1019316)
Subject: Re: Which subspecies of muskellunge grows to the largest size?





Posts: 32827


Location: Rhinelander, Wisconsin
Slamr - 3/28/2023 4:10 PM

I THOUGHT we had all decided that:

a. it's all about forage ultimately (plus water temps, ph, ya know environmental factors)
b. LL strains grow fast, but do not reach ultimate size that other strains see.
c. shoepack - put it to bed
d. WI strain gets the biggest in terms of overall weight.

Could be wrong...where's Dad (Sworrall) when we need him?
Sorry, a bit out of pocket lately, death in the family.

All of the strains that reach true trophy potential do so in waters that support same. How big do they get? Seems like a true apex muskie will go mid-50# class. More and better muskie fishing now than ever, and that's where we seem to be. Maybe Bay of Green Bay will surprise us all eventually.
esoxaddict
Posted 3/28/2023 5:38 PM (#1019320 - in reply to #1019318)
Subject: Re: Which subspecies of muskellunge grows to the largest size?





Posts: 8743


Steve, if that's true (and I'm not saying it isn't)

Why are we still farting around stocking various strains of fish in different ecosystems when the bottom line is they are going to get a big as their habitat allows, and that's that?

And not to beat it to death, but the mutt stain - shoepac - WI fish... Those just don't get big no matter where you put them? They were stocked way back when Jesus lost his sandals and are now reproducing naturally, so will just have to deal with a skinny funny looking green fish that takes 20 years to reach 38" and never gets much bigger?

Or is there some hope that some other strain, if stocked, will out compete them or cross breed with them or something?

Is it kind of like ugly/stupid people where they just seem to breed more and now we're stuck with them into perpetuity?
CincySkeez
Posted 3/28/2023 5:42 PM (#1019322 - in reply to #1019316)
Subject: Re: Which subspecies of muskellunge grows to the largest size?





Posts: 606


Location: Duluth
Slamr - 3/28/2023 4:10 PM

d. WI strain gets the biggest in terms of overall weight.

Could be wrong...where's Dad (Sworrall) when we need him?


I don't know a single musky angler that doesn't have Hayward ties that believes this. I'm equally annoyed by the people that think Mississippi Strain are the end all be all.

I think the data supports the theory that you need big water, and the records (anecdotal data) suggest the GL strain get the biggest. There are bodies of water connected to the great lakes where both strains of spotted musky have been stocked, just generating valid and conclusive data is the hard part.

Ultimately, fish have to live long enough to get that large.....
Ronix
Posted 3/29/2023 8:49 AM (#1019329 - in reply to #1019312)
Subject: Re: Which subspecies of muskellunge grows to the largest size?




Posts: 977


CincySkeez - 3/28/2023 4:51 PM

GL Strain and Mississippi (Leech Lake) Strain. So evidence to show that the GL fish get a bit heavier. Larry Ramsell has a great break down between Sympatric and Allopatric strains in a thread here.

The St. Lawrence is interesting because is GL and Chautauqua mixed, believe the Chaut strain were used to bolster population post VHS


Chautauqua fish were used by Ontario/Quebec MNR before the big VHS outbreak that impacted the upper st lawrence in the early 2000s. Genetic studies found little to no trace of remnant Ohio river (Chautauqua) genetics suggesting that those stockings did little to bolster natural populations.
RJ_692
Posted 3/29/2023 10:21 AM (#1019330 - in reply to #1019322)
Subject: Re: Which subspecies of muskellunge grows to the largest size?




Posts: 357


CincySkeez - 3/28/2023 5:42 PM

Slamr - 3/28/2023 4:10 PM

d. WI strain gets the biggest in terms of overall weight.


I don't know a single musky angler that doesn't have Hayward ties that believes this. I'm equally annoyed by the people that think Mississippi Strain are the end all be all.



based on the wis fish in mille lacs, id say they carry as much weight as any other or more. you dont see fish from leech that looked like that. and im not from hayward at all, far from it. for real some of the absolute biggest fish from that peak were wis fish
sworrall
Posted 3/29/2023 10:50 AM (#1019331 - in reply to #1019320)
Subject: Re: Which subspecies of muskellunge grows to the largest size?





Posts: 32827


Location: Rhinelander, Wisconsin
esoxaddict - 3/28/2023 5:38 PM

Steve, if that's true (and I'm not saying it isn't)

Why are we still farting around stocking various strains of fish in different ecosystems when the bottom line is they are going to get a big as their habitat allows, and that's that?

And not to beat it to death, but the mutt stain - shoepac - WI fish... Those just don't get big no matter where you put them? They were stocked way back when Jesus lost his sandals and are now reproducing naturally, so will just have to deal with a skinny funny looking green fish that takes 20 years to reach 38" and never gets much bigger?

Or is there some hope that some other strain, if stocked, will out compete them or cross breed with them or something?

Is it kind of like ugly/stupid people where they just seem to breed more and now we're stuck with them into perpetuity?


Each state manages Muskies differently, but some do try to provide action lakes, number lakes, diverse opportunities, and trophy waters, too. I'm sure the WIDNR knows that any stocked muskie planted in Spider Lake in Oneida for example, will not be likely to grow much bigger than mid 40" ever. Keith got a 46 there, a true unicorn for sure. The same strain in Pelican can and does n break 50 now and again. I think most fisheries managers will freely admit they are not managing with an exclusive focus on trophy fish....unless the lake will support same. If we want to catch 50s, we need to go fishing where they grow to that length. That fact in itself breeds trouble for lakes that are small enough or have population dynamics to get pounded by trophy seekers.
CincySkeez
Posted 3/29/2023 3:15 PM (#1019333 - in reply to #1019329)
Subject: Re: Which subspecies of muskellunge grows to the largest size?





Posts: 606


Location: Duluth
Thank you, I knew there was something to that effect.
chuckski
Posted 3/30/2023 9:41 AM (#1019339 - in reply to #1019244)
Subject: Re: Which subspecies of muskellunge grows to the largest size?




Posts: 1242


You can catch a giant on big water where 1 in 3 is a monster but it would take you all summer to catch three.
There are places that had no muskies and got stocked and there was a window for giant.
And yes there are places guides take people to catch a Muskie. (these lakes are full of small muskies).
I know one Vilas County Lake that was known for big Muskies and they were thick, Gene pool has been watered down, over stocked and is an action Lake now.
Muskies are fun to catch and can be both hard and at the same time easy to catch. (at one we had times when we hit it just right weather wise on really caught the fish) Other times it can turn into the Dead Sea.
Buy good tackle, fish hard watch for daily and seasonal windows. And enjoy your time on the water with friends and family.
Ogandrews
Posted 3/30/2023 10:54 AM (#1019341 - in reply to #1019316)
Subject: Re: Which subspecies of muskellunge grows to the largest size?




Posts: 209


Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Slamr - 3/28/2023 4:10 PM

I THOUGHT we had all decided that:

a. it's all about forage ultimately (plus water temps, ph, ya know environmental factors)
b. LL strains grow fast, but do not reach ultimate size that other strains see.
c. shoepack - put it to bed
d. WI strain gets the biggest in terms of overall weight.

Could be wrong...where's Dad (Sworrall) when we need him?


I don’t know if I agree with LL fish not reaching the ultimate sizes of other strains. If you look at the fish in the last 10 years or so over 50lbs that have been caught, a giant portion of them are LL fish out of Mille lacs. A lot of mid to upper 50’s with upper 20” girths, with one this year having a legit 30” girth. Obviously Great Lakes fish get giant also, but saying leach fish don’t reach the same top end isn’t necessarily true with how many giants have come out of Minnesota in the last 10-20 years. I’m sure if you took GL strain fish and put them in Mille lacs/vermilion they would get just as big, same with LL fish in Green Bay or st clair. I’ve always viewed them as super similar strains, just different bodies of water.

Edited by Ogandrews 3/30/2023 10:55 AM
North of 8
Posted 3/30/2023 11:43 AM (#1019343 - in reply to #1019341)
Subject: Re: Which subspecies of muskellunge grows to the largest size?




Really interesting read. If I understand right, for the most part size is determined by forage base, competition, environment, more than strain? Makes sense to me but I don't know much about fish biology.
There was a mention of a cisco base be diminished. Are the cisco losing out because of environmental change?
Shroomskie
Posted 3/30/2023 11:56 AM (#1019344 - in reply to #1019244)
Subject: Re: Which subspecies of muskellunge grows to the largest size?




Posts: 35


I think the cisco are losing out due to electronics and word of mouth. Should have seen Big Carr a month or so ago...looked like a fishing tournament out there. That's all I really saw though - was driving by and stopped and watched loads come through the ice right into buckets. Was very strange
Ronix
Posted 3/30/2023 12:45 PM (#1019345 - in reply to #1019343)
Subject: Re: Which subspecies of muskellunge grows to the largest size?




Posts: 977


North of 8 - 3/30/2023 12:43 PM

Really interesting read. If I understand right, for the most part size is determined by forage base, competition, environment, more than strain? Makes sense to me but I don't know much about fish biology.
There was a mention of a cisco base be diminished. Are the cisco losing out because of environmental change?


Yes, environmental change is having an impact on cisco populations. They are very sensitive to thermal strain.
CincySkeez
Posted 3/30/2023 2:28 PM (#1019346 - in reply to #1019345)
Subject: Re: Which subspecies of muskellunge grows to the largest size?





Posts: 606


Location: Duluth
After a search on the lunge log from today to June of 2015 fish 55-60 inches, a few bodies of water dominate the list. GL strain appears far most often, then Mississippi Strain amd 1 Wisconsin River fish.

Sure the data is self selecting but.....
esoxaddict
Posted 3/30/2023 3:25 PM (#1019347 - in reply to #1019343)
Subject: Re: Which subspecies of muskellunge grows to the largest size?





Posts: 8743


North of 8 - 3/30/2023 11:43 AM

Really interesting read. If I understand right, for the most part size is determined by forage base, competition, environment, more than strain? Makes sense to me but I don't know much about fish biology.
There was a mention of a cisco base be diminished. Are the cisco losing out because of environmental change?


Yes, they don't fare well in temperatures over 73 F. Another factor seems to be shoreline development, which we all know it detrimental to pretty much everything.
North of 8
Posted 3/30/2023 3:52 PM (#1019348 - in reply to #1019347)
Subject: Re: Which subspecies of muskellunge grows to the largest size?




esoxaddict - 3/30/2023 3:25 PM

North of 8 - 3/30/2023 11:43 AM

Really interesting read. If I understand right, for the most part size is determined by forage base, competition, environment, more than strain? Makes sense to me but I don't know much about fish biology.
There was a mention of a cisco base be diminished. Are the cisco losing out because of environmental change?


Yes, they don't fare well in temperatures over 73 F. Another factor seems to be shoreline development, which we all know it detrimental to pretty much everything.


The lake association I belong to is not super active, but one thing they push is leaving a substantial riparian zone. Makes a huge difference in lake quality. Not everyone follows the suggestions and since our then state senator gutted the zoning laws that once had riparian zone enforcement, voluntary is all we have. Big Green Lake in WI should be a warning to all. It is home to many multi-million dollar "lake homes". And they love big, green lawns. Little over a year ago, the DNR announced that the lake had a heavy phosphorus load, leading to algae. Some comes from ag run off but a lot is from excess lawn fertilizer. They further stated that Big Green, the deepest inland lake in WI takes 100 years to completely replenish it's water. It will get worse before it gets better, if it gets better.
esoxaddict
Posted 3/30/2023 5:21 PM (#1019349 - in reply to #1019244)
Subject: Re: Which subspecies of muskellunge grows to the largest size?





Posts: 8743


The phosphorus in commercial (lawn) fertilizers binds to the soil particles, so all is well until you get a heavy rain or significant snow melt. You're right that riparian safety zones can help to mitigate that, and if you include the right vegetation within that zone that will help absorb and hold any excess nutrients that would otherwise find their way into the lake. All the zoning regulations that were previously in place were put into place for that reason and not just for aesthetic reasons. It's a shame that people think a green lawn is more important than the quality of the water they paid a fortune to live on. I thought WI outlawed phosphorus based fertilizers a few years back, which is good, but that stuff will still be leeching out of the soil long after you and I are gone.

Edited by esoxaddict 3/30/2023 5:52 PM
chuckski
Posted 3/30/2023 6:09 PM (#1019353 - in reply to #1019244)
Subject: Re: Which subspecies of muskellunge grows to the largest size?




Posts: 1242


Back in the day lawns up North looked like lawns not golf courses, they were watered by rain, cut by hand, and no Fertilizers.
Just another way the woods are turning into the city.
Muthsky
Posted 3/31/2023 6:56 AM (#1019361 - in reply to #1019244)
Subject: Re: Which subspecies of muskellunge grows to the largest size?




Posts: 46


Hi fellows,

I asked the AI bot GPT Chat https://chat.openai.com/chat a question and it provided it's response as follows:

QUESTION:
Which species of muskellunge grow the largest?

RESPONSE:
The muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) is the largest member of the pike family and is a popular sportfish in North America. While muskellunge can be found in various regions throughout North America, the subspecies that typically grows the largest is the Great Lakes muskellunge (Esox masquinongy masquinongy).

Great Lakes muskellunge can grow to be over 50 inches in length and weigh more than 50 pounds, although individuals of this size are rare. Muskellunge from other regions, such as the northern muskellunge (Esox masquinongy immaculatus) and the spotted muskellunge (Esox masquinongy vermiculatus), generally do not reach the same size as their Great Lakes counterparts.
Muthsky
Posted 3/31/2023 7:03 AM (#1019362 - in reply to #1019320)
Subject: Re: Which subspecies of muskellunge grows to the largest size?




Posts: 46


esoxaddict - 3/28/2023 5:38 PM

Is it kind of like ugly/stupid people where they just seem to breed more and now we're stuck with them into perpetuity?


Well Said!
Slamr
Posted 3/31/2023 8:59 AM (#1019370 - in reply to #1019347)
Subject: Re: Which subspecies of muskellunge grows to the largest size?





Posts: 7012


Location: Northwest Chicago Burbs
esoxaddict - 3/30/2023 3:25 PM

North of 8 - 3/30/2023 11:43 AM

Really interesting read. If I understand right, for the most part size is determined by forage base, competition, environment, more than strain? Makes sense to me but I don't know much about fish biology.
There was a mention of a cisco base be diminished. Are the cisco losing out because of environmental change?


Yes, they don't fare well in temperatures over 73 F. Another factor seems to be shoreline development, which we all know it detrimental to pretty much everything.


Am I wrong that this was found out in Project Green Gene that showed that IL was wasting tons of money putting LLs in southern waters?
Slamr
Posted 3/31/2023 9:06 AM (#1019371 - in reply to #1019244)
Subject: Re: Which subspecies of muskellunge grows to the largest size?





Posts: 7012


Location: Northwest Chicago Burbs
Uh oh, might have to put your science hat on for a fun read: http://www.illinimuskiesalliance.org/projectGreenGene.asp
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