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Created by Scott McKee Oct 31, 2018 at 1:09pm. Last updated by Scott McKee Oct 31, 2018.

Thank you, Jay!

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Another Forum With a Nice Pic of Spawning Pair of Niagara Muskies

I ran across this when I googled Muskies Inc and Buffalo, NY. There is a great pic of a spawning pair of muskies. Notice the rocky bottom. Also, a couple posts later is a guy who says he is the son of a guy who was the president of the Niagara Muskies Inc. chapter.

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Interesting to see these fish appear to be spawning over moss covered rock

Steve...Thanks. That is interesting. I wonder how viable the spawning process is though. The muskies could lay & fertilize their eggs but then they don't take into hatching because of a lack of cover.

Do you think Dr. John Farrell has any info on that?

Chris Legard might have some input on that. But if I m remembering correctly, the type of areas they can spawn in can vary. I am not sure what environmental conditions are the most important, such as depth, water temp, sun penetration, current, substrate, etc. Maybe that even varies, depending on the body of water and the individual fish. Humans have different preferences so why not fish. I think the rocks can be good so some of the eggs fall into the cracks where gobies, perch and other egg eaters can't get to them. Then when they hatch they need suitable nursery habitat nearby.

I'll be talking with Chris this week & will email the pic to him first, to see what he has to say. It's an interesting take from their traditional spawning habitat.

He did mention one thing to me last week though and that is that in studying fish biology & behavior, "it's a mess."  They do what you don't expect them to and don't do what they're supposed to. That's why trying to predict what fish will do is never easy.

It's just like fishing.

Maybe it would be helpful to find out the location of the photo for further investigation of spawning locations. I also wonder if they could find more locations to investigate from early season anglers that are out fishing for bass, walleye, etc. who may spot spawning activities.

I would be interested to know where the picture was taken as well. I suspect the spawning pair was keying in on the filamentous algae.  Kevin Kapuscinski, John Farrell and myself spent from 2011-2015 studying spawning, egg incubation, and YOY habitat and spawning, eggs, and YOY were most frequently observed in areas with muddy-sand substrates.  Sometimes a little bit of gravel was mixed in, but if there is too much coarse substrate it prohibits growth of aquatic vegetation, which we found to be the most important predictor of YOY musky occurrence.  Spawning was most frequently observed and eggs were most frequently collected in areas with the greatest and most widespread growth of filamentous algae.  We suspect that this is because at the time of year when muskies are spawning in the upper Niagara River (late May-early June) there is little growth of aquatic vegetation.  Filamentous algae may hold the eggs in place and prevent them from being washed downstream or protect them from egg predators.  Attached are a few papers we have written on spawning and egg incubation habitat.  Kevin and I have a paper on nursery habitat that will be published in the proceeding of the Hugh C. Becker Muskie Symposium.  -Derek


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