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Muskie (Esox masquinongy)
Common name: Muskellunge, muskie Native. ID: Silvery with dark markings (strips, spots or blotches, or none). Belly white with spots. Fins green/red with darker blotches. Upper half of cheek has scales. Long cylindrical body. Fang like teeth; powerful jaw like duck's bill. See Images 3 and 4 for ID hints. Life cycle: Eggs laid early spring in vegetation in incredibly shallow water. Often return to same spawning grounds. Grow very rapidly because of intense appetite. Mature at 3-6 years. Live to 20 years, but average is 3-16 years. Feed on: Perch, catfish, minnows, any other small fish. Larger will eat rodents, waterfowl and muskrats. Predators: Northern pike, sunfish, bass, and yellow perch while young. When adult, only large birds, bears and people. Where to find them: Watersheds of Lake Michigan, Mississippi River, Lake Superior. Wisconsin rivers see a lot of Muskies. Found near shore in vegetation, under logs, etc. Always under drop-off or some underwater structure. Prefer cooler water, but can withstand up to 90 degrees F. Best fished during daytime.
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