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Muskies on the move: Researchers find that St. Louis River fish like to travel

Mar 18, 2018 08:47AM ● By Editor
Jeramy Pinkerton (left), fisheries specialist with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, helps Erin Schaeffer, with the University of Minnesota, as she makes an incision in the underbelly of a muskie to insert a hydro-acoustic transmitter in April 2017. Also on board were Mark Paulson (left), fisheries technician, and Keith Okeson, past president of Muskies Inc. News Tribune file photo

By Sam Cook of the Duluth News Tribune - March 18, 2018

St. Louis River muskie anglers learned something fascinating this past week about the fish they chase all summer: Not all of them stay in the river.

Of 60 muskies that have been fitted with hydro-acoustic "tags" by researchers, nearly 40 percent have ventured into Lake Superior, and 25 percent have remained there for more than a month. One of them swam all the way to Chequamegon Bay near Washburn and another to Bark Bay of Lake Superior near Cornucopia.

"We were extremely surprised that so many fish went out to the lake and spent so much time there," said Curt Ellestad, president of the Lake Superior chapter of Muskies Inc.

It opens new possibilities to local muskie anglers, he said.

"You can go out in Lake Superior and fish them," Ellestad said. "It makes sense to me."

Researchers, too, were somewhat surprised.

"I expected them to use Lake Superior, but the rate they're going out there is higher than I expected," said Jeramy Pinkerton, a fisheries specialist at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. "The fact that we had one that went to Chequamegon Bay — I don't think a whole lot of people expected that."

"It's certainly an eye-opener," said Paul Piszczek, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources fisheries biologist in Superior.

Read more about this story including maps of muskie movements by following this link to the News Tribune.

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