Thursday, April 28, 2011

Muskies and Northern Pike Provide Mayhem In Many Diverse Situtations

Photo By: Landon Hoffman

For those fisherman looking for the ultimate rush and a solid fight, look no further than the muskellunge.  Muskie’s are known as the fish of 1000 casts.  Muskellunge will eat fish, ducklings and even small muskrats. It waits in weed beds looking to ambush is prey. With a keen sense of sight the muskie then attacks and gulps down the stunned or dead victim head first.  Muskie’s are light silver, light green or light brown colored and usually have dark bars running up and down their long bodies. 
            In addition to their sight, muskie’s use their lateral lines to find food. This is a series of small holes with hairs inside that are scattered around their body surface. When something moves in the water it wiggles the hairs, and the fish can tell a meal is nearby.  Muskellunge are found primarily in clear lakes, slow-moving rivers, and backwaters.  Muskies tend to stay in a home territory rather than range widely.
            They prefer clear water with a temperature of 68 to 72 degrees.  Since muskies prefer larger prey to satisfy their diets, I would recommend any type of bait that had a lot of vibration and colors.  Popular colors commonly used are orange and green colorations.  Along with spots and stripes this will entice and trigger bites.
            Closely related to the muskellunge is the species called Northern Pike.  With similar physical characteristics the Northern Pike is more commonly known and caught by anglers.  The quickest way to tell a northern pike from a muskie is to note that the northern has light markings on a dark body background, while muskie’s generally have dark markings on a light background.  Built for quick acceleration, they ambush prey from cover, seizing fish with needlelike teeth. Northern pike can't afford to expend that amount of energy in pursuit of prey; therefore they concentrate their efforts on larger forage. 
           Common foods are yellow perch, tullibee, suckers, minnows and other northern pike. Though northern pike eat sunfish and bass, they prefer more cylindrical fish. Northern pike also eat leeches, frogs and crayfish. Small northern pike remain in shallow weedy water through much of the year. Large northern pike move deeper as summer progresses, seeking oxygenated water of 65 degrees or cooler.
          Typical colors include perch color variations and fire tiger colors.  These are vibrant in the water and can be seen in murky or clear conditions.  One thing to consider when fishing these species of toothy fish is your children or if there are going to be children present.  These big fish can cause a lot of commotion once hooked.  Therefore, it is always a good idea to be mindful of children, especially around the giant sized hooks used to catch these big fish of prey. 

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