Michigan Department of Natural Resources
Fisheries Research Report No. 1799, 1973

Comparative Growth, Survival, and Vulnerability to Angling of Northern Pike, Muskellunge, and the Hybrid Tiger Muskellunge Stocked in a Small Lake

George B. Beyerle

      Abstract.-Northern pike, muskellunge, and tiger muskellunge fingerlings were stocked in equal numbers for 3 consecutive years in Daggett Lake (14 acres). After 3 years, mean lengths of age-II esocids were as follows: pike, 21.0 inches; tiger muskellunge, 22.9 inches; muskellunge, 28.0 inches. Survival of the three year classes of pike was unusually high (45 to 79%), tiger muskellunge survival was intermediate (9 to 28%), and muskellunge survival was extremely low (0 to 0.4%). It is suggested that the poor survival of muskellunge fingerlings was more likely the result of an inherited intolerance for some environmental factor, rather than the result of differential predation by larger esocids. The total standing crop of esocids in this study was 64.0 pounds per acre; it was 57.8 pounds per acre in a previous study when only pike were stocked in Daggett Lake. From this similarity, it is judged that, in the present study, high survival of pike compensated for low survival of muskellunge, to produce a standing crop of esocids that closely approached carrying capacity for Daggett Lake. In 131.5 man hours of fishing in Daggett Lake, anglers caught 25.1% of the stocked pike and 9.4% of the tiger muskellunge. If it is assumed that all esocids were equally available, it follows that the pike were 2.7 times more vulnerable to angling than were the tiger muskellunge.