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Potomac River Tiger Musky


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#1 rarecichlids

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Posted 09 November 2007 - 10:40 AM

Caught this nice little Tiger Musky fishing for smallies last week - he was about 28" and only started fighting when he saw the boat - fun fight on light tackle  :D/

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  • musky_edited.jpg

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#2 Drew

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Posted 09 November 2007 - 11:35 AM

Nice!  We don't fish the Potomac for smallies so I've never run into one of those.  The Shenandoah is supposed to have muskellunge but haven't seen those either.
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#3 rarecichlids

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Posted 09 November 2007 - 11:55 AM

View Postdrewish, on Nov 9 2007, 11:35 AM, said:

Nice!  We don't fish the Potomac for smallies so I've never run into one of those.  The Shenandoah is supposed to have muskellunge but haven't seen those either.

We fish the section from point of rocks up to shepherdstown - there are some very very big smallies and musky up there..about 2 weeks ago after the rain - I got 2 citation size smallies (21" & 21.5") along with a couple of 19"s and 17" and a whole mess of 12-15" fish along with this little guy...

The section between Harpers Ferry and Shepherdstown routinely produces some big Tiger Musky (a friend caught a 52" and I know of guys that have caught  36-48" fish too) -- and there are still some native musky there too...
This was my first Tiger though...
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#4 rarecichlids

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Posted 09 November 2007 - 11:55 AM

Oh- we are only catch and release - in fact we practice CPR -(Catch - Photo and Release)  =D>
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#5 Drew

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Posted 09 November 2007 - 12:16 PM

You on riversmallies.com?  I know there are some active members from the MD/VA area on there.  

Those are some nice smallies.  I have yet to land a 20"+ but I catch a good number of 17"+.
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#6 daveneely

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Posted 09 November 2007 - 12:33 PM

Nice fish.

View Postrarecichlids, on Nov 9 2007, 08:55 AM, said:

... and there are still some native musky there too...

There are no native muskies in the Potomac, though; they were first introduced into the system in the 1950s by WV DNR and never really established. Supposedly there's still some monster muskies in Patterson Creek, WV. Back in the mid-1980s I had a very large fish trail a spinnerbait but wouldn't hit it, but that was the only time I saw one there. The tiger muskie stocking program that MD DNR started in the 1970s has really taken off and there are a lot of big fish in the system. Having the old Westvaco paper mill in Luke, MD clean up their act has really helped. I grew up in Cumberland, MD and was in or around the river nearly every day. I get back to visit family on a semi-regular basis, and am always amazed to see how the river is recovering. The effect that tiger muskies have had on native forage fishes has not been studied; the justification in old DNR documents that I've seen was that there were too many redhorse that weren't being utilized, and muskies would convert redhorse to gamefish biomass... Good thing is that there's little chance of them establishing a population.

Here's an odd question though; walleye aren't native to the Potomac, but they are to the Susquehanna - the first museum specimen dates back to the 1840s. During low Pleistocene sea levels, the Potomac would have drained into an extended Old Susquehanna River, and other big-river components of their fauna are shared (quillback, logperch, troutperch, shorthead redhorse, etc.). Why not walleye?

cheers,
Dave

#7 ashtonmj

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Posted 09 November 2007 - 12:42 PM

Too many redhorse? Now that gave me a giggle.  

Okay I'll make a shot in the dark answer about walleye and the Potomac while I finish up lunch.  They never made it up past the Great Falls and did not maintain a population post sea level rise/bay formation...?  Too small of an area once saltwater encroached and isolated the population to maintain viability.  Year classes upon year classes of larval walleye would have washed down into the saltwater and the population was extirpated.
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#8 rarecichlids

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Posted 09 November 2007 - 01:20 PM

View Postdrewish, on Nov 9 2007, 12:16 PM, said:

You on riversmallies.com?  I know there are some active members from the MD/VA area on there.  

Those are some nice smallies.  I have yet to land a 20"+ but I catch a good number of 17"+.

Yes I am - you?  I am wadn2fish... My first fish in that size....Before 3 weeks ago the smallie I caught was 17" now I have 5 over that size...  bbooyah for riversmallies.com  many of the guys really know their stuff...
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#9 rarecichlids

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Posted 09 November 2007 - 01:23 PM

View Postashtonmj, on Nov 9 2007, 12:42 PM, said:

Too many redhorse? Now that gave me a giggle.  

Okay I'll make a shot in the dark answer about walleye and the Potomac while I finish up lunch.  They never made it up past the Great Falls and did not maintain a population post sea level rise/bay formation...?  Too small of an area once saltwater encroached and isolated the population to maintain viability.  Year classes upon year classes of larval walleye would have washed down into the saltwater and the population was extirpated.


So based on this comment - the whole population from the great falls up is reults of stocking??  cause there is a very solid population there now....

this was caught the day before I got my musky...is was cold rainy and miserable - but a great fishing day - this was also the day I got my 21.5" smallie....BTW this is a big guy - that is a 4.5 lb walleye...

walleye_edited.jpg
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#10 rarecichlids

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Posted 09 November 2007 - 01:28 PM

View Postdaveneely, on Nov 9 2007, 12:33 PM, said:

There are no native muskies in the Potomac, though; they were first introduced into the system in the 1950s by WV DNR and never really established. Supposedly there's still some monster muskies in Patterson Creek, WV.
So i guess what people call the "native" musky is a breeding population of the introduced 1950's fish??  Then we have the (sterile) Tiger Musky?  From what I hear for the guys I fish with there are 2 distinct species (varieties) of Musky in the Upper Potomac?
Is this accurate...??
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#11 rarecichlids

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Posted 09 November 2007 - 01:30 PM

Excuse my ignorance, but what is a redhorse?
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#12 ashtonmj

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Posted 09 November 2007 - 01:48 PM

I was making a total guess by the way, hence saying that...I have no evidence to support that I was just throwing it out for discussion.

There is a big difference between native and wild fish...wild populations are naturally reproducing...like wild brown trout, which aren't even native to the continent, but brook trout are the only native trout to Maryland.

A redhorse is a common name for several species of suckers, like shorthead redhorse...
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#13 daveneely

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Posted 09 November 2007 - 02:06 PM

View Postrarecichlids, on Nov 9 2007, 10:28 AM, said:

So i guess what people call the "native" musky is a breeding population of the introduced 1950's fish??  Then we have the (sterile) Tiger Musky?  From what I hear for the guys I fish with there are 2 distinct species (varieties) of Musky in the Upper Potomac?
Is this accurate...??

Sort of. Tiger muskies are a sterile muskellunge x northern pike hybrid, so they aren't going to establish a population. I don't know if there's any evidence of musky reproduction; WV DNR introduced normal muskies for a long time, and may still be doing so. If people get fish they think are normal muskies, they should be sending a picture to MD DNR (I don't think they've picked any up during boat shocking, but it's been a while since I've talked to folks)...  And yes, all of the muskies there are the result of stocking.

Matt, I like your suggestion; lots of other things (i.e. shad, stripers) got stopped by Great Falls, but there's a lot of water below there that should provide good habitat...

cheers,
Dave

#14 rarecichlids

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Posted 09 November 2007 - 02:48 PM

View Postdaveneely, on Nov 9 2007, 02:06 PM, said:

If people get fish they think are normal muskies, they should be sending a picture to MD DNR (I don't think they've picked any up during boat shocking, but it's been a while since I've talked to folks)...

No problem Dave - I will put the word out to the guys I fish with...
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#15 daveneely

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Posted 09 November 2007 - 02:58 PM

View Postrarecichlids, on Nov 9 2007, 11:48 AM, said:

No problem Dave - I will put the word out to the guys I fish with...

Just did a quick web search, and it looks like DNR has documented musky reproduction in the Potomac, but that they seem to be restricted to Washington County (for now!). Guess they're here to stay...
I wouldn't bother with pics unless they're from other counties.

cheers,
Dave

#16 ashtonmj

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Posted 09 November 2007 - 03:02 PM

Quote

Matt, I like your suggestion; lots of other things (i.e. shad, stripers) got stopped by Great Falls, but there's a lot of water below there that should provide good habitat...

cheers,
Dave


I had just read a paper not too long ago about how much of the success of the western basin Lake Erie walleye population was determined by dishcarge in the Maumee River (where is Todd, I'm sure he will come running to the thread now...)during the larval period and it sort of clicked well with that.  So the larvae could have been blown out during spring floods on the Potamac and end up dying when they hit the saltwater of the bay.  A couple decades with that process of very limited, decreasing recruitment, and poof no more walleye population. The total area and distance of the saltwater of the bay to the Great Falls just might not have been great enough to allow sustainable recruitment over the long haul.

Matt
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#17 Gambusia

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Posted 22 December 2007 - 10:23 PM

Are you sure walleyes are native to the Susquehanna River?

I've always heard they were introduced many, many, many years ago



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