It was once believed that there were at least four species of muskellunge, but these varieties are now considered to be one species.
HOW TO IDENTIFY A MUSKELLUNGE
The pelvic (ventral) fins are located relatively far back on the belly, about half way between the pectoral fins and the tail, instead of directly under the pectoral fins. The mouth is large with the maxillae reaching back at least to the middle of the eyes, and broad, like a ducks bill, but full of teeth.It can be distinguished from the pike and the pickerels by several factors. It may be barred, spotted, or have no markings at all, but any markings that do occur will be darker then the background of the body. The northern pike, by comparison, has light-colored, oblong spots against a darker body, and the chain pickerel has a unique chain-like pattern on the sides. The redfin and grass pickerels look much more like the musky in their markings, but they only grow to about 15 in. (38 cm) long. Another distinction occurs in the number of pores under the lower jaw. In the musky there are 6-9 along each side (rarely 5 or 10 on the side only).
WHERE TO CATCH MUSKELLUNGE
It is endemic to the northeastern United States, throughout the area of the Great Lakes south to Georgia, and north to Quebec (St. Lawrence Seaway) and Ontario in Canada. It has been introduced into Manitoba west of Lake Winnipeg. It rarely ventures far from cover, and prefers shallow, heavily vegetated waters less than 40 ft. (12 m) deep, usually along rocky shorelines in slow moving streams and larger rivers. The following list includes additional details on where to catch this fish:
CLIFFS AND STEEP SHORE BANKS GRADUAL SHORES
POINTS AND BREAK LINES RIVERS AND STREAMS
FRESHWATER LAKES AND PONDS SUNKEN OBJECTS
HOLES RIPARIAN ZONES
ROCKS FRESHWATER WEED BEDS
HOW TO CATCH MUSKELLUNGE
This is a very popular game fish, and many anglers dedicate themselves almost exclusively to its pursuit. The musky is very elusive, and is not a common catch, even for those who continually seek it out. The flesh is white and flaky and of excellent quality, but many caught by anglers are released. The following are fishing methods used to catch this fish:
DRIFT FISHING STILL FISHING
TROLLING SPIN CASTING
MUSKELLUNGE LURES, TACKLE & BAIT
The following are lures, tackle or bait that can be used to catch this fish: