Making a case for the muskie
By STU MERRY
When it comes to fish in North Dakota waters, one of the largest is the muskellunge.
Muskies, as they are more commonly called, have been reintroduced to Lake Audubon in recent years. The fish is the largest member of the pike family. The common name comes from the Ojibwa word maashkinoozhe, meaning "ugly pike."
The reason to introduce muskies is to provide diversity to the fishery in Lake Audubon, said Jason Lee with the N.D. Game and Fish Department in Riverdale.
Any muskie caught has to be at least 48 inches to keep. It is illegal to take or possess any muskie less than 48 inches.
A majority of the feedback is positive regarding muskies, Lee said.
There have been preliminary surprises. A few anglers report catches of the reclusive muskie.
"Not a lot, but a few are reported," Lee said.
Muskies typically don’t impact walleye fisheries. Anglers seek large muskies as trophies or for sport. The fish attain impressive swimming speeds, but are not particularly maneuverable. The highest-speed runs are usually fairly short, but they can be quite intense.
The muskie can also do headshaking in an attempt to rid itself of a hook. Muskies are known for their strength and for their tendency to leap from the water in acrobatic displays. A challenging fish to catch, the muskie has been called "the fish of ten thousand casts."