Pike Eating Musky – Science Reminder – More Light Ideas

Pike Eating Musky – Science Reminder – More Light Ideas

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Pike Revenge!

There's no denying it, we live in a musky-eat-pike world.

Studies have shown that muskies love lunchin' on small pike, and lakes with muskies in them generally have larger pike on average.

All in all, if you dislike hammer-handle pike, you should be an advocate for musky stocking in your favorite lake!

Muskies are firmly at the top of the food chain, but THIS particular pike had some different ideas:

Pike Eat Musky

That shot was sent in by Mike Ruff ☝️

He told us he found this pair of Esox cousins floating in a Minnesota lake.

This wouldn't be the first time a pike bit off more than it could chew! 😬

Diet Study Reminder

While we're on the topic of fish diet, this seems like a good time to re-review a really cool DNR study that came out this past year from Kamden Glade in MN.

Diet Patterns and Niche Overlap of Muskellunge and Co-Occurring Piscivores in Minnesota Lakes (link)

I think it's always good to remind folks that muskies are NOT a problem "problematic" fish species, especially at the densities they are stocked in many states. We need to keep preachin' it so the general public doesn't forget!

Okay, back to the study. The researchers went to 10 different lakes, collecting stomach contents from muskies, walleyes, pike and largies – heres the results:

First of all, here's the sample group:

  • 368 muskies
  • 1,043 pike
  • 1,178 walleye
  • 1,105 largemouth

Now let's get into the juicy details:

Here's a look at the diets of each species based on the different prey categories:

musky diets

For those who aren't up on your abbreviations:

YEP = Yellow Perch
UNK = Unidentified fish
SUN = Sunfish
OTS = Catostomidae (usually suckers)
NOP = Northern Pike
MIC = Black Bass
INV = Invertebrates
CRAY = Crayfish
BLH = Bullheads
BLC = Black Crappies


Here's the overview for 'skies:

Yellow perch (27.1%), catostomids (10.5%), invertebrates (10.1%), bullheads (8.3%), northern pike (6.2%), black bass (6.1%), sunfish (5.0%), and unidentifiable fish (23.2%). Interestingly, ciscoes weren't highly prevalent, despite 4 of the 6 musky lakes having ciscos.

(Although, they admitted their sampling occurred primarily in the shallow littoral areas of lakes, which may have lead to the lack of ciscos.)

Here's another interesting graphic showing dietary overlap amongst species:


"Muskellunge diets were not significantly different across seasons, but were significantly different among length categories. In general, the dietary importance of invertebrates and catostomids increased with Muskellunge size, whereas Yellow Perch, black bass, and sunfish were more important for smaller Muskellunge."

Also notable: Larger northern pike relied more heavily on sunfish as a food source, while smaller northern pike ate more yellow perch (which are walleye's #1 food source). And....

"Diets of Northern Pike and Walleye were not significantly different within or among seasons, as Yellow Perch and Sunfish were important for both species across seasons .... Yellow Perch served as the dominant prey for both species, accounting for over 50% of the diets."

Seems like the "muskies are eating all of my walleyes" crew should be pointing their frustrations at the growing populations of small pike across the state. 🤷‍♂️

Just saying

And we HAD to sneak this little nugget into the newsletter:

"Only three Walleye were observed in Muskellunge diets during this study, accounting for less than 0.07% of the total diet in terms of IRI. For comparison, six Muskellunge were observed in the diets of other Muskellunge (IRI = 0.62%)."

With all that said, here's the final verdict from the study:

"In this study, we documented Muskellunge populations with diverse diet patterns that were less specialized than and significantly different from the diets of other predators and we provided evidence that the diets of Northern Pike, Walleye, and Largemouth Bass were not significantly different between lakes with Muskellunge and those without Muskellunge."



Props to Kamden Glade for collecting and organizing all this data. It was a TON of work and the entire fisheries community is better off because of it! #respect

More Night Trollin' Lights

Following up on the planer board lightin' segment in last week's newsletter....

We had a few people reply to the email asking questions, and also sharing their favorite lighting strategies. Here's a couple:

This one was sent in by a reader. It's a simple, no frills attachment for lighting up a board:

Cool Lights for Trolling

This next one was sent in by Nick Kuefler, said he found them on Etsy. Lights + the reflector tape is a good one-two punch for nighttime visibility:

Etsy Planer Board Lights

Many of you have figured this out already, but the red/green colors are for boards that go on the left and right side of the boat, respectively.

Cool little "DIY" setups 🔥

This Week's Mashup:

Mashup time!

#1 – We're really, REALLY enjoying this artwork from Dave Vollenweider. He calls it "Queen of the Edge". Great job, man!

Musky Eat Crankbait Painting

#2 – Props to @topline_baits on the spicy paint on these hard baits:

Spicy Paint Job

#3 – Diggin' the full-commit water release from Taylor Wright 🔥

Water Release

#4 – How's this for a serious dose of double trouble from the motley crew of Brody JayJason Klassen and Andrew Klassen. Great job guys!

Double Trouble


– Milwaukee Expo happening right now (link)

– LSC musky fishing w/ Mayhem's 10k casts (video)

– "Downpour Muskies" w/ Steve Heiting (video)

– Fall muskies in northern Wisconsin w/ MHTV (video)

– Rise of the Quad Dawg, part 2 w/ Keyes Outdoors (video)

– St. Clair musky fishing w/ Smith's Fishing (video)

https://ezokofishing.com/Muskies Inc


Check out the belly on this low-light leviathan sent in by Nathan Tretsven. He caught her trollin' a 12-inch Slammer along a breakline near whitefish spawning grounds. #porker

Low Light muskie

Gotta love the markings on these big Green Bay bruisers. Congrats to Scott Scarpelli on landing this big 52.5-inch Great Lakes chunk!

Green Bay Musky

Tip of the hat to Joe Kasel on poppin' this nice Minnesota 'skie this past fall 💪

Joe Kasel 47.25 musky 11.12.23

Wanna be featured in Musky Insider? Send in your recent trophy musky photos by replying to this email. You might just see your pic in next week's newsletter. 🤙

https://www.muskymetrics.com/Muskies Canada

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