News release: Minnesota DNR seeks input on muskie plan update

March 25, 2024

Anglers, lake user groups, others invited to participate in online survey

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is asking people to share their thoughts on how the DNR manages muskellunge as part of an update to the state’s muskie long-range plan.

“We’re gathering input as we update our muskie plan for the future,” said Leslie George, northeast region fisheries manager. “As a first step in updating the plan, we’re asking about the experiences and interests of anglers and others related to muskie management.”

For the plan update, the Minnesota DNR hopes to hear from anglers who fish for muskies, other anglers, lake-user groups, partners in tribal nations, and anyone interested in muskies. People can share input in an online scoping survey on the Minnesota DNR muskie webpage. A webinar about the update process is planned for fall 2024, and in the winter of 2024-2025 the public will be able to review and provide input on a draft plan.

Muskies are a large, popular predator fish native to Minnesota. The Minnesota DNR manages muskies by stocking them into waters, setting harvest and season regulations, population monitoring and research, and outreach and education about muskies.

As part of the plan update, the Minnesota DNR is considering ways to enhance muskie stocking in lakes that already have muskies, how to ensure that hatcheries can produce enough quality-sized muskies to meet stocking needs in these lakes, and options for improving public education surrounding muskie biology, ecology, and management.

Muskie background
Minnesota has 102 waters managed for muskies, comprising 2% of the state’s fishable lakes and rivers and 21% of the total surface area that is fishable. Muskies have been introduced in 48 lakes and are maintained in these lakes through stocking. The state record muskie for catch-and-release length is 58 1/4 inches, caught on Mille Lacs Lake in 2022.

Recent Minnesota DNR research on muskie diets show that, on a population level, pike and bass consume much more food than muskies in the lakes where they are present. The research found that muskies consumed a wide range of prey, but the primary makeup of muskie diets are yellow perch, white sucker, bullheads, invertebrates and northern pike. Cisco can also be important in those lakes where their populations are abundant. Walleye are not an important component of muskie diets.

More information about the muskie long-range plan update is available on the Minnesota DNR muskie webpage.

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