Comparative Population Characteristics of Muskellunge (Esox masquinongy), Northern Pike (E. lucius), and Their Hybrid (E. masquinongy x E. lucius)
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Citation:Wahl, David H.; Stein, Roy A. "Comparative Population Characteristics of Muskellunge (Esox masquinongy), Northern Pike (E. lucius), and Their Hybrid (E. masquinongy x E. lucius)," Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, v. 50, no. 9, 1993, pp. 1961-1968.
We compared growth, survival, diet, and angler catch of muskellunge (Esox masquinongy), northern pike (E. lucius), and tiger muskellunge (E. masquinongy x E. lucius) through 5 yr after their introduction into three Ohio reservoirs. Muskellunge grew slower than northern pike and tiger muskellunge through the first year but faster than northern pike in subsequent years. Large stocked esocids (180-205 mm) survived better than small ones (145 mm). Survival patterns established through the first fall were maintained through age 5; northern pike survived best, followed by muskellunge and tiger muskellunge. Angler catch reflected differences in survival as well as catchability among taxa. Northern pike were caught at smaller sizes and younger ages than other taxa. Gizzard shad (Dorosoma cepedianum) dominated esocid diets for all taxa and age classes, followed by centrarchids and cyprinids. Prey length consumed increased linearly with esocid length; northern pike selected larger gizzard shad than either muskellunge or tiger muskellunge. These differences in population characteristics among esocids should influence management and stocking programs. Whereas northern pike maximize angling opportunities, muskellunge probably will provide trophy fisheries. Although tiger muskellunge can be reared inexpensively, they appear to provide little recreational fishing in return.
Funding for this project was provided by the Federal Aid in Fish Restoration Act under project F-57-R administered by the Ohio Division of Wildlife.
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