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50" Musky susquehanna river

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  • 1 month later...

Final Flight you (and the many other anglers who come to similar conclusions regarding muskellunge/northern pike) are severely mislead and uninformed/ignorant. Muskiedreams provided you with some informative reading material and in addition I figured I'd offer my .02 in response to your previous postings.


"...the river has never been cleaner than what it is now, so it's not "pollution" that is to blame . Cleaner/ clearer water allows these eating machines to grow to there large size in a short time"


Zebra mussel colonies were first found in the Upper Susqi beginning in the early 2000s and have since been documented throughout the river system down to as far as the Chesapeake Bay. Most fisherman are well-aware of zebra mussels as I'm sure you are too. They are incredibly efficient filter-feeders that can remove substantial amounts of suspended nutrients from the water column. I can't remember exact volumes but a single (1) mussel is capable of filtering over one liter of water/day. Their introduction is in large-part to blame for the clear waters you notice. In regards to clearer water being the factor that allows these "eating machines" to large sizes in a short time that is incorrect. Temperature is one of the primary factors influencing metabolic and growth rates in esocids; clarity as very little, if anything at all, to do with it.


"If I'm not in the boat trolling the lakes I'm on the river, 50-60 days a year(?) and I have really noticed the sufferance in the forage base..."


In addition to increasing water clarity, their ability to filter out large amounts of suspended nutrients in the water column deprives other species of food (especially those towards the bottom of the food chain i.e. zooplankton and forage fish). Very simply put: more nutrients removed my zebra mussels -> less food for zooplankton (less zooplankton) -> less food for forage species (less forage species) -> less food for gamefish herego less gamefish. Is this the sole reason you see a decrease in forage species or any other species? Absolutely not, it could be attributed to numerous other factors or combinations of multiple factors.


"You can't put 689,000 eating machines in a water way and not have an effect!"


You were able to read the articles above discussing impacts on other species so I won't bring that up again. There are several articles discussing survival rates of stocked tiger muskies. To think that even 10% of what is stocked survives (especially in a smaller river system like the susqi) is a severe over-estimate. Mortality of stocked tiger muskellunge is very high. Many of these stocklings end up as food for largemouth bass, walleye, birds, and other muskies. So there is an effect right there: more food for your bass and walleye!


Kidding aside, will some of them survive and grow and occasionally eat a walleye or smallmouth bass? Absolutely. Will largemouth bass -also a voracious predator- consume plenty of yellow perch and panfish? Definitely. Perch, rudd, alewife, etc. also feed heavily on walleye fry in the spring...if a the walleye population declines over the years is it still the muskie's fault? Questions like that can't be answered without substantial amounts of data collected over extended time periods by qualified biologists.


The point I'm trying to make is that ALL fisheries are dynamic and experience changes. Some faster than others and the susqi is no different. The reasons for these changes are numerous and likely a combination of multiple factors. For any angler to assume they know the cause of a declining sport fishery simply because they've fished it for a while and not try to educate themselves on can be irresponsible and furthermore hurt a fishery that people pay for the priviledge to fish with their hard-earned money (insert lake st. claire muskie bashing video here).


Think, Think, Think....don't assume, assume, assume

Much love Ronix  ;)


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