Muskellunge

The muskellunge (muskie) is one of the largest and most elusive fish that swims in Minnesota. A muskie will eat fish and sometimes ducklings and even small muskrats. It waits in weed beds and then lunges forward, clamping its large, tooth-lined jaws onto the prey. The muskie then gulps down the stunned or dead victim head first.

Muskies are light colored and usually have dark bars running up and down their long bodies. That's the opposite of northern pike, which have light markings on a dark body. Muskies are silver, light green, or light brown. The foolproof way to tell a muskie from a northern is to count the pores on the underside of the jaw: A muskie has six or more. A northern has five or fewer.

A sterile hybrid of the northern pike and the muskie--the tiger muskie--is stocked in several heavily fish lakes in the Twin Cities metro region. This species has dark markings on a light background, as on muskies, but has rounded tail fins, as on northern pike.

muskellunge