Muskellunge (Esox masquinongy)
The muskellunge, often shortened to muskie, musky or lunge, is the largest member of the pike family. Muskie are freshwater fish, native to North America.
The origin of the name is from the Ojibwe words maashkinoozhe meaning great fish, maskinoše or mashkinonge meaning big pike and the Algonquin word maskinunga.
Muskellunge closely resemble northern pike in both appearance and behaviour. Like the northern pike and other aggressive pikes, the body plan is typical of ambush predators with an elongated body, flat head, and dorsal, pelvic, and anal fins set far back on the body. Muskie are typically 28–48 in (71–122 cm) long and weigh 15–36 lb (6.8–16.3 kg), though some have reached up to 6 ft (1.8 m) and almost 70 lb (32 kg).
Muskie are typically light silver, brown, or green, with dark vertical stripes on their sides, which may tend to break up into spots.
Muskie prefer clear waters where they lurk along weed edges, rock outcrops, or other structures to rest. A fish forms two distinct home ranges in summer: a shallow range and a deeper one. The shallow range is generally much smaller than the deeper range due to shallow water heating up. A muskie continually patrols the ranges in search of available food in the appropriate conditions of water temperature.
Muskies are ambush predators who will swiftly bite their prey and then swallow it head first. Muskellunge are the top predator in any body of water where they occur and they will eat larger prey than most other freshwater fish. They eat all varieties of fish present in their ecosystem (including other muskellunge), along with the occasional insect, muskrat, rat, mouse, frog, or duck. They are capable of taking prey up to two-thirds of their body length due to their large stomachs. There have even been reports of large muskellunge attacking small dogs and even humans.
Yoke Lake is an oligotrophic lake which provides an ideal habitat for muskie with its clear water, abundant structure and low production of algae.
Muskie on Yoke Lake typically range from mid 30-inches to mid-to-high 40-inches, with muskie right up to the mid-50-inch range being caught and released by Slippery Winds’ guests.