The DNR communications team works with agency experts to develop the weekly questions and provide the answers. This feature addresses current DNR issues, interesting topics, or the most frequently asked questions from around Minnesota.
Q: I heard about a 57-inch muskie recently caught on Lake Vermilion. What makes the lake produce trophy fish like that?
A: Lake Vermilion, along with a number of other Minnesota lakes, was first stocked with Leech Lake-strain muskies in the late 1980s. We’ve seen some very large fish caught in recent years as a result. Lake Vermilion has abundant tullibee (also known as cisco), which provide a high-energy food source for big muskies, northern pike and walleye.
In addition to good forage and good genetics, Minnesota muskies have benefited from a strong catch-and-release ethic among anglers. Plus, progressively larger minimum size regulations (now 54 inches) have resulted in more trophy muskies statewide. On Lake Vermilion, most big muskies are caught by anglers who specifically target them. They have the right equipment to safely land and release these fish, leaving the muskies to grow larger and be caught again.
Edie Evarts, Tower area fisheries supervisor