I was fishing on a northern Wisconsin lake, and had just casted my Mepps spinner too far onto the bank. As I thrashed my lure back out through the sedges in water less than a foot deep, the glassy surface erupted. There was no “hook set” on my first musky, just holding on for dear life as it tail-walked across the shallows, forty-four and one half inches out of the water. I will never forget the power of that musky on a warm July night, and I will also never forget my first introduction to one of the most formidable predators around. In the following years I researched muskies and met folks from all walks of life who cared about them. At boat ramps, gas stations, bars, and grocery stores I was regaled in stories of “the big one” by diehard musky anglers and lucky bobber fishermen alike. These are the memories of a lifetime, and it is our responsibility to ensure that our children’s children have the same opportunity. The future of fishing relies on such memories, as do the livelihoods of those gas station and grocery store employees whose businesses boom all summer long.
The future of muskellunge and northern pike faces many challenges. Our recent paper in Fisheries highlights some of the most pressing research and management issues for these two species. One of the most critical aspects of ensuring a future for these fishes Continue reading