Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Esociformes
Family: Esocidae
Genus: Esox
Species: Esox masquinongy (Mitchell, 1824) - muskellunge

Intro:
Amazement. Breathtaking. Heart-pounding. If you have ever fished for this majestic species, then you probably have used at least one of those descriptors when talking about your experiences.

These lie-and-wait predators will normally be lurking near the benthic, waiting for a vulnerable fish to swim nearby their strike-zone. They have been known to eat ducks, muskrats, crustaceans, other pike and musky, and pretty much anything that will fit in their mouths.

Tips for Identifying: First the BAM then the FAD.

ALSO - Check out this video made specifically to tell muskellunge from pike and pickerel -->

or check out the webpage Koaw's Guide to Telling Musky, N. Pike and Pickerel Apart <- Really great reference!

Body:
Long, streamlined body with powerful, muscular body.
Weighs up to 31.8 kg (70 lb) (Tomelleri, 1990).
Length up to 183 cm (~6 ft) (Page, 2011).
Appearance:
Can be barred, spotted, and relatively free of markings. Usually lightly spotted fins. Juveniles have more pronounced patterns.
Mouth:
Jaw is slightly upturned with a flattened mouth full of sharp teeth.
Fins:
The pectoral and pelvic fins are very ventral (towards the belly) on the body. The pelvic fin is abdominal in location. The anal fin and the only dorsal fin are very posterior (near the tailfin).
Area (Habitat):
Freshwater systems that are not eutrophic (overly productive). Native to the United States and Canada: St. Lawrence River, Great Lakes, Hudson Bay, and Mississippi River basins.
Demeanor:
Muskie are non-migratory predatory fish. More often then not, they are solitary creatures, but will be found in schools, especially during spawning seasons. Depending on the available oxygen, temperature, and other factors in the water, musky could be sitting at a .3 m, 2 m, 6 m or deeper.

Table of Contents - The Fishes