Approximately 20,000 muskie released into Ohio lakes

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trophy-size muskellunge
Fisheries biologist Chris Aman holds a 48-inch muskie caught during netting operations at Leesville Lake, in Carroll County. ODNR Division of Wildlife staff harvest eggs and sperm from Leesville muskie to use in the state’s stocking program. Nine lakes in Ohio are stocked yearly and often produce trophy-size muskellunge like the one in the photo. (Barbara Mudrak photo)

COLUMBUS — The muskellunge, or muskie, is a popular game fish that can grow to immense sizes in Ohio’s inland lakes, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife. Muskies are native to Ohio and top aquatic predators, and the fisheries are maintained through fish hatchery efforts. 

Staff from Ohio’s London and Kincaid state fish hatcheries stock approximately 20,000 muskies measuring 8-12 inches every fall. Adult muskies are long and slender with a large, duck-bill shaped mouth and needle-sharp teeth. They can reach up to 50 inches long and weigh as much as 40 pounds. 

The Ohio state record muskie weighed 55.13 pounds and measured 50 1/4 inches when it was caught at Piedmont Lake in 1972. 

Ohio lakes where muskies are stocked include Alum Creek Lake, in Delaware County; Caesar Creek Lake, in Clinton, Greene and Warren counties; Clear Fork Reservoir, in Morrow and Richland counties; East Fork Lake, in Clermont County; Lake Milton, in Mahoning County; Leesville Lake, in Carroll County; Piedmont Lake, in Belmont and Harrison counties; Pymatuning Lake, in Ashtabula County and Pennsylvania; Salt Fork Reservoir, in Guernsey County; and West Branch Reservoir, in Portage County.

Sometimes confused with northern pike, muskies have dark spots or wavy lines on their sides on a light background. Northern pike are the opposite with lighter colored spots on a dark background. Successful anglers are encouraged to report their catches through the Division of Wildlife Muskie Angler Log, found at wildohio.gov. Access stocking records at data.ohio.gov. 

All anglers 16 and older are required to have a 2021-22 Ohio fishing license to fish public waters. Funds generated from the sale of fishing licenses go toward conserving and restoring habitat, enforcement of fishing regulations, hatchery operations, fish stocking in public fishing areas and enhancement of research and educational outreach. 

Purchase a fishing license at wildohio.gov or via the HuntFish OH mobile app. For more information on fishing in Ohio, call 800-945-3543 or visit wildohio.gov.

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