What happened to Minnesota muskies???

What happened to Minnesota muskies???

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Taps & Tackle

Minnesota Musky Plan

The "Golden Days" of musky fishing in Minnesota are behind us.

There are still strong fisheries in the state and some good opportunities, but the resource hasn't gotten the same love and attention it received around 20 years ago.... and we're feeling the repercussions of that now.

The DNR has asked for angler input for a new long-range musky plan:

  [Click here to take the survey and share you opinions]  

To help give a little context on what's happened the past couple decades in Minnesota, Josh Borovsky put together this video:

He doesn't *tell* you how you should answer the survey, but shares some information to give you a little backstory on the state's most important fisheries.

What happened to MN 'skies??

Okay.... This topic is too important to jot down a few points, then move on.

Let's keep going!

When it comes to muskies (and many other sport fish), having a strong fishery is a fairly simple proposition:

More fish stocked = Better fishing

There are other factors involved in successfully stocking muskies. The DNR has done a good job identifying those factors.

But once you've determined that those conditions have been met, a lot of it comes down to how many muskies you put into the lake.

Josh has done videos on Mille Lacs Lake and Lake Vermilion, demonstrating how the "rise & fall" of both fisheries have coincided with ramped up stocking numbers and a significant drop-off in stocking.

Here's a few graphs from Lake Vermilion that demonstrates this concept perfectly.

The first one is the number of fingerlings stocked into the lake:

And this graph shows how many muskies should be in Vermilion each year based on the number of fish stocked and the estimated mortality rates:

And here are the reported catches via the Muskies Inc. Lunge Log.

There's a delay between when muskies are stocked and when they become catchable fish, but the data explicitly shows the correlation.

(2013 was actually a special case, as Muskies Inc. held a big tournament on Vermilion that year, which lead to a spike in muskies registered on the lake that week)

These graphs were from Josh's Vermilion video, but you can see the exact same correlations in his Mille Lacs videoSpecial thanks to our buddy Nolen Ryba for compiling this data for the videos.

This is a trend we are seeing in a lot of fisheries across MN. But these two stocked fisheries are very important to the state, because not only have they provided great angling opportunities, but they've also pulled a lot of fishing pressure away from other musky lakes across the state.

These fisheries failing = more boats on the smaller musky lakes.

But wait! There's more....

Metro + Duluth

Minnetonka is another important musky lake that's been cut down.

Here's a look at the stocking numbers:

These numbers are broken down into neat 6 year sections, but the biggest stocking run on Tonka was from 98-03 when the lake got 22,372 fingerlings (an average of 7,457 every-other-year).

Surprise, surprise.... Musky catch-rates peaked, then fell-off just like we saw on Vermilion and Mille Lacs.

Another rough one is the St. Louis River near Duluth....

There were a few extenuating circumstances with this fishery, but at the end of the day, we were stuck holding the bag on a 10 year stretch (2oo5-2014) where there were ZERO muskies stocked in the river.

The DNR has done some extra work on this river, restoring habitat and also stocking Great Lakes strain fish, but regardless, it's still another example of an important musky fishery that's gone downhill thanks to a severe stocking drop-off.

Mashup: Tiger Takeover

Okay.... this isn't your standard Mashup. We're going to use this section of the newsletter to talk about another Minnesota musky management mishap.

Mashup time!

#1 – At one point, the Metro was home to 29 stocked tiger musky lakes. That number eventually got whittled down a bit, but ultimately, we had 23 tiger fisheries in the Metro area for quite a while.

There were LOTS of good lakes in that group, including Lake Elmo where Josh Stevenson caught the state record in 1999. Here's a look at the mount in the Blue Ribbon bait shop:

#2 – Today, the list of lakes being stocked regularly with tigers is significantly smaller. Elmo is still on the list, but we lost a lot of good tiger fisheries. And the vast majority of the remaining tiger lakes are in the east Metro.

Here's a big 47.5 incher caught by Chris Richison, guided by Josh Stevenson:

#3 – Tiger muskies are a hybrid of a female Muskellunge and a male Northern Pike. They grow very quickly and have a shorter lifespan, and they also don’t reproduce, so once they are gone, they are gone.

#4 – Now that you have a little context on the Minnesota musky situation, pull up the survey from the DNR and share your two cents. Help shape the next long-range musky plan in our home state of MN:


Btw, you don't need to be a Minnesota resident to fill out the survey. If you have a vested interest in MN 'skies, share your thoughts 👍


– Pete Maina will be at Ezoko shop in Montreal, April 4th (link)

– Late fall musky trolling in MN w/ Mayhems 10k casts (video)

– Catching from that back of the boat w/ Steve Heiting (video)

– Last chance winter muskies w/ AA (video)

– Cisco eating muskies w/ Keyes Outdoors (video)

– Planning a Canadian fishing adventure w/ 54 or bust (video)

– Traveling in low light or at night w/ Jim Saric (video)

https://ezokofishing.com/Muskies Inc


They build 'em different on Georgian bay! Feast your eyes on this absolute bruiser sent in by Ty Wright. 🔥

Sweet green sheen on this spring beauty outta Chase Gibson's boat. His clients have been smacking 'skies on 4" Rattlin' Shads this season.

We gotta wrap this newsletter up with a big Minnesota 'skie. A+ fish and photo from MN stick Jace Loge last year. (click here to fill out the MN musky survey)

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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