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Natural Reproduction of Muskies in Ohio.

Discussion in 'Muskie & Pike Discussions' started by Worm Drowner, May 7, 2004.

  1. Worm Drowner

    Worm Drowner Banned

    The question was raised in the "Mosquito Muskie Rumor" thread is to why Ohio has so little natural reproduction as compared to places such as Canada. I forwarded the question to Elmer Heyob of the ODNR. I also asked him about muskies returning to Lake Erie. He was kind enough to give a very good response:

    "Hello Mr. Quigley,

    I will be glad to answer your question. What we lack are "nursery
    areas" for the fry that do hatch. The muskies spawn just fine but it's an
    extreme environment in most of our Ohio lakes in the spring for fish that
    our broadcast spawners like walleye and muskie. Having raised muskies at
    one of our hatcheries, I know first hand how difficult it is to keep fungus
    from forming on eggs and fry due to poor water quality. Think about how
    often our lakes make it through April without having muddy water
    conditions? Once these eggs hatch, the fry need an almost immediate supply
    of quality food to keep from starving to death. Without abundant forage
    they will quickly turn to cannibalism and their numbers dwindle rapidly.
    Now, add in the fact that without proper habitat, ie., protection from
    predators by using thick cover, they quickly vanish. The one rare situation
    in Ohio when we have seen significant natural reproduction by our muskies is
    when flood control lakes hold back high water for at least a three week
    stretch that just happens to coincide with muskie spawning. The water
    within the flooded grass fields quickly clears, unlike the main lake, and is
    ideal habitat for young muskie fry. Unfortunately for us fishermen, we
    aren't allowed control our lakes for best fish management. Flood control
    and water supply are the type priorities and even Parks might frown if we
    wanted to keep the water levels high because it would interfere with other
    recreational pursuits.

    There are muskies scattered all up and down the southwest coast of Lake
    Erie in small numbers. I have a feeling though that we may not see any
    significant rise in these numbers for several reasons but I hope to be
    proven wrong. One is the fact that the Canadian border of Lake Erie is
    almost a continuous line of gill nets, which are deadly to muskies. The
    other is, we have allowed almost all of our bays to be developed and
    wetlands drained, leaving very little natural spawning habitat left.

    Elmer "
  2. catking

    catking Banned

    Very interesting reading. I never gave thought to why they don't reproduce well, but now I know why ........CATKING :)

  3. Well, if I catch a pike in Mosquito, I'll let'em go out of concern for maintaining a fragile population....same with muskie although not considered an eater. I'll get my fill of pike in June when I travel up to Lac Remigny in Quebec.
  4. great stuff worm...always wanted a legit analogy of the big question. thanks.
  5. i've read that this is the same reason there is low walleye production on inland lakes. good article.