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Ronix 51

Weird Pike/Muskie Behavior

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Went to conesus this past tuesday with not a rip all damn day...too hot and it looked like an algae bloom as you could barely see more than 3 feet through the water im about to give up until the water cools down a bit! But we did see a pretty good sized northern swimming around about 50 ft from the boat with its head out of water. He was just calmly swimming just under the surface with his entire head up to the gills out of water for a few minutes and this isnt the first time ive seen this ive seen numerous other pike and even a muskie when i was up north doing this. Anybody know why they do this? Ive heard its a stressed fish or ive also heard theyve just finished a big meal and are using the warmer surface temps to boost their metabolism but i thought id see if anyone knew why they do this?

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Mike,

I have no clue what they are doing, but I saw this exact thing when we were in Chautauqua. We were trolling over the deep holes on the east side of the lake and came a few feet away from a musky that had his head out of the water with his mouth wide open. He ended up going back under before we could get the boat turned around.

Chad also mentioned that he just saw a northern doing the same thing up in Ontario. I would love to hear the reasoning behind this!

--Joe

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I saw the same thing on Cross Lake, I think he was looking for a nice duck to eat. :lol:

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Some fish like Tarpon have a primitive lung/swim bladder thingy and will gulp air on occasion to regulate themselves. Maybe Muskies and Pike do it aswell????? Maybe distress from swallowing a perch or blugill the wrong way and the barbs are sticking???

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Mike –

As Joe mentioned, I have seen this exact same strange behavior in both pike (Lake Ontario) and muskies (pure bread – Chautauqua Lake). I have read reports that this is even more common with Tiger muskies. The strangest part to me was that fish had it’s ENTIRE head out of the water (gills included). It wasn’t like the fish was simply swimming on the surface.

I have also read some theories as to why the behavior exists.

  1. 1.) Fish is trying to clean gills of parasites

  • 2.) Fish is trying to use gravity to get down a large meal / dislodge stuck meal.

  • 3.) Fish is trying to get a better view of surroundings in murky water

  • 4.) Fish is sick.

  • 5.) Venting of the air bladder

While no one has been able to definitively prove any of the above hypothesis, it remains a mystery to the ESOX world. In my experience, I have been able to get really close to the fish doing this before they go under and swim away. I have even read of some people being able to net the fish. Here was one video I found on YouTube demonstrating a similar behavior. In the two cases I have witnessed, the fish had its head (right up to the back of the gill plates) out of the water.

http://muskie.outdoorsfirst.com/watch.asp?id=1181

Next time I see this…… I am going to try and get a picture/video. Would love to learn more about this phenomenon… Lastly, I should mention that I have never heard of anyone being able to get the fish to bite while they are doing this. While the instinct of us is to pick up a rod and toss a lure their way, no one has ever been able to hook up with one while they were performing this strange behavior.

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Most likely, the pike is trying to locate a small duck through hunting by sight. So I will go with #3 per Blue Eyes and WWIV. ;)

Heres one of my many fishing tales, I was on a jet ski with my nieice (prime witness) while we were entering the lake from the IBAY and we saw a huge pike swimming with its head outside the water. Twice, we circled the huge monster before it disappeared. This beast measured over 55" easily. The size of a huge girth makes me sick to the stomach. I never saw this fish again in my life. I spoke with locals and they told me this beast was actually hunting for ducks. :o

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thats a massive pike pike hunter...after seeing that id be out there all season throwing my biggest muskie baits! A better view of the surroundings could make sense considering the water clarity at conesus was absolute s**t

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I just now got back from Conesus. I read this thread yesterday and I had never seen that happen before. Until about two hours ago. (Went zippo today).

I was in the south end, right in the southwest corner in 6 fow just outside the weeds. Sitting there tying a knot and saw something out of the corner of my eye. It was about 25 feet away and at first I thought muskrat? beaver? What is that??? It's a fish! I scrambled to get the camera out of the bag but it went down before I could get to it. about a mid thirty inch fish I'd say. It went maybe twenty yards like that and had quite a bit of itself out of the water.

Weird.

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I have seen this with the tiger Muskies at otisco a lot. We can never tell if they have something in their mouth or not but we always get excited. They also love to "sunbathe" there as well.

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last year i saw pike in I bay doing this around our dock at night, at least 3 times. they seemed oblivious to me standing a few feet away at most

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saw a pike in I-Bay near shore today swimming with half its body out of the water. it was swimming very slow and did this for about 30 feet...looked like a big snake.

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i've seen the biggest tiger musky i have ever seen doing the same thing on Hyde lake up north. This fish looked like an aligator swimming in the water . i tried throwing a bunch of differnt things at it as it swam around the boat for about 10 mins!!!!!Holy [email protected]#t we said, i didnt think this was a common thing.. I was told when i told people that the fish does that after a big meal, helping them get a big meal down.Dont know how true it is but thats what i am riding on..

Matt

-JAKEY BABY-

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So earlier tonight, just before it got dark I'm at the state launch on Silver Lake. Had just pulled up my little 12 footer onto the grass where there was another guy there with a boat actually smaller than mine (!) with his son and grandson so I had to wait a bit for him to load up before I could get my truck. He sees a rod in my boat with a jointed red & white vamp rigged and says "you fishing pike"? Yes. The next thing he says I wasn't expecting.

"We were out here the other day fishing and a big pike swam by us with it's head out of the water! Must have went 50 yards like that!"

What is up with these crazy pike???

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I saw this happen on Conesus Lake back in the 70's. I was by myself in front of a wall near McPherson Point when I saw this big pike swimming with it's head out of the water. It did it for about five minutes. I told the guys at work and they are all laughing at me wanting to know what I was smoking. No one would believe me. A week later I'm with two of my buddies from work fishing in the same area and we see a pike swimming with it's head out of the water. We didn't know what to think but I was so happy to see that fish. They went back and told everyone at work what they had seen and that I wasn't making up some wild fish story. I thought that it may have been a sick fish but after reading all of these other reports, I'm not sure but I'm glad to see a lot of other people have seen this type of behaviour.

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yes we have seen them too. Even in sodus bay and portbay. It is obvesly normal because it is happening inall different lakes.

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I noticed pike doing this before in the alabama swamps, in some of the water pools (ringneck marsh) and blackriver bay backwashes, I thought it was to look for baby geese ,ducks, baby muskrats but it seems only to be late summer when I seen this. I wonder if it is a water temp thing. I have only seen it on warm summers. This summer some of those ponds have to be in there 80s. Has anyone seen this when the water is cold? Seems like they would do this more in the spring when there are babys everywhere, unless once the babys are gone then they need to look?. Wish i could get them to do this thur my ice fishing holes! :D

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Braddock Bay last night, standing at the boat launch pulling out, a pike swam up from nowhere and swam around me under the dock, slow swim with its head out of the water, never went down once until I lost it in the dark. I made a small attempt to stick my snagproof frog in its mouth and snag it, didn't try too hard, didn't seem fair lol :devil::devil:

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Last November, slowly motoring across Irondequoit Bay to go perch fishing, I caught a glimpse of something swimming paralell to me and it turned out to be a very big pike, head out of water and I swear that thing made eye contact with me as the fish was less than 30 feet away...

I turned the boat to get closer and he dove under and I never saw him again...This was at first light over about 50 feet of water...I just kinda thought this fish was wondering what I was and just checking things out...Never saw that before and this thread interested me as I wondered what that fish was up to...

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I was on Conesus a couple years ago and saw the same behavior. I don't have a good explanation but it is interesting to observe and obviously not that unusual.

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I was talking to a guy over the weekend who owns a small tackle shop (Avid fisherman) And he told me that there are certain times of year when the pike, and muskies teeth become soft and thats when they do this??

Tom

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Just thinking- do they mostly do this during high water temps? Could it be an oxygen thing?

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