No closed season for muskies - The HuntingPA.com Outdoor Community
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post #1 of 33 (permalink) Old 03-09-2011, 12:30 AM Thread Starter
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No closed season for muskies

I'll start by stating that I think the PFBC is already moving in the right direction and doing a great job with musky management statewide. However, I'm curious why the season is left open to harvest on waters with natural reproduction during the spawn. Seems to me that these waters should recieve some special consideration to protect spawning fish that may be congregated in areas and vulneable to overharvest, especially the waters that do not recieve any fingerlings. I know there are already closures during the spawn on the brood stock waters, and these waters usually do recieve fingerlings to supplement the fishery. I'm guessing most people who fish for muskies would be fine with a closed season during the spawn on all waters with natural reproduction. Anyone else have any thoughts? I know they are in the process of studying natural reproduction on the free-flowing portions of the Allegheny, but I'm not sure what they plan to do once it's documented. I would think documentation of natural reproduction would be relatively easy on waters that haven't recieved fingerlings for many years.

There is always a season!
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post #2 of 33 (permalink) Old 03-09-2011, 04:25 AM
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Re: No closed season for muskies

I have often wondered the same thing. It seems like a fish that takes so long to get to a legal lenght would be more protected. Part of the reason for the open season could be because the size limit is 40". I am curious to know who many musky are kept each year. All of the musky guys I know release everything.

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post #3 of 33 (permalink) Old 03-09-2011, 12:16 PM Thread Starter
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Re: No closed season for muskies

I think most musky guys release everything regardless of size. However, many people this time of year targeting other species at dams, spillways, creek mouths and other migration stops are more likely to contact muskies at these spots than at other times of the year. I suspect the catch and release mentality is much lower among those who do not fish for muskies regularly. Some of these people may even "hate" muskies and relish the chance to take one out of the system for fear the muskies are responsible for taking too many of their preffered species. Personally, I would recommend they consider what affect they and their fellow anglers are having targeting thier favorite species for harvest when they are congregated for spawning. Ever see some of the big fat breeder walleyes taken this time of year. Just sayin (lol).

The 40 inch musky minimum probably is the reason they allow harvest all year. Consider it a trade=off I guess? However, IMO the 40 inch min is not even close to equal compensation for the removal of 40+ inch breeding females during the spawn. These are fish that are much less suseptible to harvest at other times of the year to the average person. While I'm sure there are some non-musky guys who appreciate catching a big musky and release them, even those people are probably going to be tempted to keep a big mature female, since it may be the biggest fish they have ever caught and they figure they may not catch another.

There is always a season!
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post #4 of 33 (permalink) Old 03-09-2011, 05:26 PM
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Re: No closed season for muskies

I always thought there should be a closed season/C&R through the ice. Have watched way to many Muskys flopped out on the ice and killed.
For one example the Fishing Tournament they have on Canadohta Lake every year.
It's only a 80-90 acre lake and they were killing 8-15 Muskys depending on the year. A lake that size can't support that many legal musky per acre. We always figured they were killing 10-20 % of the legal fish in the lake in their 2 day tourny.

This year they had no Musky entered, wonder why that is ?

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post #5 of 33 (permalink) Old 03-13-2011, 09:50 PM Thread Starter
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Re: No closed season for muskies

Just saw a picture in the paper of a 50 inch fish harvested by a walleye fisherman. Paper says dimensions were 50 X 27 and weighed 37 pounds. Definitely a big fish in the picture, and about a 99% change it was an egg laden female. I don't hate on the guy for keeping it, says he's released 20 to 30 muskies between 12 and 46 inches. Of course it also says this one is destined for the wall with "several other large muskies."

There is always a season!
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post #6 of 33 (permalink) Old 03-14-2011, 12:18 AM
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Re: No closed season for muskies

I also saw the article in the paper. Not sure why Musky dont have a closed season for the spawn..Is there any other game fish that does not in PA? I cant think of any...Imagine if season was open for small mouth through the spawn!!!

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post #7 of 33 (permalink) Old 03-14-2011, 12:39 AM
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Re: No closed season for muskies

I firmly believe that the main reason that bass fishing is going downhill the last several years is because the season is open(no kill)during the spawn. While guys have that trophy bass in the boat for 10min to take pictures every bluegill + chub is attacking the nest. The thing that will help musky is 9 out of 10 times Joe average is going to get bit off.

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post #8 of 33 (permalink) Old 03-14-2011, 01:36 AM Thread Starter
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Re: No closed season for muskies

Yeah, except joe average is also probably pinning musky jaws shut with his lost lure when he gets bit off (unless its a jig), which could also lead to death, but obviously the guy not targeting muskies can't be faulted for that. I don't particularly like that this fella indicated in the article that even when he fishes specifically for muskies he doesn't "upgrade" his tackle much. I think some people consider it a great accomplishment to land big fish like that on lighter and lighter tackle. And I guess why not, since there are "line class" records that glorify such activity. Most musky guys use heavy tackle/leaders becuase it is better for the fish, not because they feel they couldn't land a big fish on lighter tackle.

My whole point to this post is that it would have been good for the fishery if that fish could have spawned again before it's death, especially since it was taken from an un-stocked musky fishery. With that said, the guys decision to keep it was perfectly legal, and I don't hold a grudge against him for doing it. As long as harvest is permitted this time of year, people can and are going to exercise their right to do so, and probably do so more than makes the papers. Just wish certain waters worthy of spawning protection would get it.

There is always a season!
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post #9 of 33 (permalink) Old 03-14-2011, 12:59 PM
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Re: No closed season for muskies

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Originally Posted by fishdoctor
Yeah, except joe average is also probably pinning musky jaws shut with his lost lure when he gets bit off (unless its a jig), which could also lead to death, but obviously the guy not targeting muskies can't be faulted for that. I don't particularly like that this fella indicated in the article that even when he fishes specifically for muskies he doesn't "upgrade" his tackle much. I think some people consider it a great accomplishment to land big fish like that on lighter and lighter tackle. And I guess why not, since there are "line class" records that glorify such activity. Most musky guys use heavy tackle/leaders becuase it is better for the fish, not because they feel they couldn't land a big fish on lighter tackle.

My whole point to this post is that it would have been good for the fishery if that fish could have spawned again before it's death, especially since it was taken from an un-stocked musky fishery. With that said, the guys decision to keep it was perfectly legal, and I don't hold a grudge against him for doing it. As long as harvest is permitted this time of year, people can and are going to exercise their right to do so, and probably do so more than makes the papers. Just wish certain waters worthy of spawning protection would get it.
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post #10 of 33 (permalink) Old 03-14-2011, 09:14 PM
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Re: No closed season for muskies

I couldn't agree more. I am constantly on a few guys that I fish with on occasion about using heavier line when fishing for musky. A few of them still do not use a leader either. I too would hate to see a big musky or any size musky for that matter break someones line off, especially if they're throwing a big plug with multiple treble hooks. I know they don't go deer hunting with a .22.
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