The Department of Natural Resources plans to raise Great Lakes (spotted) muskellunge at its Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery this year, a change of direction from the northern muskies the department has raised in the past.
“This is a key turning point in our muskellunge production program,” said DNR Fish Production Manager Gary Whelan. “This strain of muskellunge is native to most of Michigan; the northern muskellunge is native to only a small portion of the far western Upper Peninsula in the Wisconsin River drainage.
“The spotted muskellunge will be more at home in more waters than northern muskies.”
The DNR has been studying the idea of raising spotted muskies for more than a decade, but did not want to bring the Great Lake strain into the hatchery system while raising northern muskies because of potential disease concerns. DNR Fisheries Division personnel plan to take 1.5 million eggs from spotted muskies in Lake St. Clair and the Detroit River this spring with a goal of producing 40,000 10- to 12-inch fall fingerlings.
In order to minimize the risk of spreading disease, the DNR will not take eggs from northern muskellunge this year, but will evaluate the need to produce northern strain muskies in the future. Ideally, the department will address the disease concerns and be able to raise both strains in the future, Whelan said.
To learn more about fishing in Michigan, go to www.michigan.gov/dnrfishing.