The muskellunge is Canada’s largest freshwater fish next to sturgeons. It is a member of the pike family of fishes and has the following characteristics:
The muskellunge is found in the fresh waters of eastern North America. In Canada, the muskellunge occurs in rivers and lakes from the Saint John River system in New Brunswick, through southern Quebec, the St. Lawrence and its north and south tributaries, throughout the lower Great Lakes and in Manitoba.
The preferred habitat of the muskellunge is warm, heavily vegetated lakes, stumpy, weedy bays, and slow, heavily vegetated rivers. Other than at spawning time, muskellunge are solitary, sedentary animals lurking in the vegetation or near stumps. It is rarely found far from the protection of growths of emergent and sub-emergent plants such as waterlilies, pickerel weed, arrow leaf, coontail, cattail, and pondweed, or areas of downed timber and stumps. The muskellunge spawns in the spring immediately after the ice melts. Spawning takes place in water 38 - 50 cm (15 - 20 inches) deep in heavily vegetated, flooded areas. During spawning, eggs are scattered at random and attach to the vegetation. The eggs hatch in approximately 8 - 14 days and the young remain dormant in the vegetation for about 10 days, at which time they become active and begin feeding. The growth rate is rapid in the first few years and varies depending on the availability of food. Typically, adult muskellunge move little, other than to dart swiftly after prey, and very large individuals are often found in less vegetated water to a depth of 15 metres (50 feet).
Young muskellunge feed on larger zooplankton until they reach about 38 mm (1.5 inches) in length, when fish becomes their main diet. Fishes, such as perches, suckers, larger minnow species, mooneyes, catfishes and sunfishes, form the largest part of their diet.
The muskellunge and the northern pike often hybridize in nature producing a shorter, more robust fish with pronounced markings, which is referred to as the “tiger muskellunge”
For further information, please contact your local DFO office: http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/oceans-habitat/habitat/aboutus-apropos/regions/arctic-arctique_e.asp?#1