a large pike that occurs only in the Great Lakes region. The muskellunge (Esox masquinongy), also known as muskelunge, muscallonge, milliganong, or maskinonge (and often abbreviated "muskie" or "musky"), is a species of large, relatively uncommon freshwater fish of North America.
Also called maskinonge or lunge3. The muskellunge is known by a wide variety of trivial names including Ohio muskellunge, Great Lakes muskellunge, barred muskellunge, Ohio River pike, Allegheny River pike, jack pike, unspotted muskellunge and the Wisconsin muskellunge.
The muskellunge is the largest member of the pike family, Esocidae. The common name comes from the Ojibwa word maashkinoozhe, meaning "ugly pike", by way of French masque allongé (modified from the Ojibwa word by folk etymology), "elongated face." The French common name is masquinongé or maskinongé.
Most of their diets consist of fish, but can also include crayfish, frogs, ducklings, snakes, muskrats, mice, other small mammals, and small birds. The mouth is large with many long, needle-like teeth. Muskies will attempt to take their prey head-first, sometimes in a single gulp. They will take prey items up to 30% of their total length. In the spring, they tend to prefer smaller bait since their metabolism is slower, while large bait are preferred in fall as preparation for winter.
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 stunning acrobatic displays. A challenging fish to catch, the muskie has been called "the fish of ten thousand casts".
Anglers tend to use smaller lures in spring or during cold-front conditions and larger lures in fall or the heat of summer. The average lure is 7.9–12 in (20–30 cm) long, but longer lures of 14–26 in (36–66 cm) are not uncommon. Many times, live bait is used in the form of "muskie minnows" or 8- to 12-in-long fish strung on treble hooks. Anglers in many areas are strongly encouraged to practice catch and release when fishing for muskellunge due to their low population. In places where muskie are not native, such as in Maine, anglers are encouraged not to release the fish back into the water because of their negative impact on the populations of trout and other smaller fish species. One strategy for securing the fish is called the figure eight.
As muskellunge grow longer they increase in weight, but the relationship between length and weight is not linear. The relationship between them can be expressed by a power-law equation:
W = cL^b\!\,
The exponent b is close to 3.0 for all species, and c is a constant that varies among species. For muskellunge, b = 3.325, higher than for many common species, and c = 0.000089 pounds/inch.
This equation implies that a 30-in (76-cm) muskellunge will weigh about 8 lb (3.6 kg), while a 40-in muskellunge will weigh about 18 lb.