Studying Time: 7 minutes
Northern Pike and Muskellunge are two of North America’s favourite freshwater recreation fish. These giant, predatory species are each bit as quick and imply as their smooth torpedo-shaped our bodies suggest. Often known as “water wolves” and “the fish of a thousand casts” respectively, Pike and Muskie are two fish that completely don’t come quietly.
On this article, you may delve into the world of “Muskie vs. Pike.” Learn to inform the 2 fish aside and the place it is best to go to search out them. Decide up some tips about how they behave and what to make use of to catch a trophy. Whether or not you’re a die-hard Muskie fan, a proud Pike lover, or an entire newbie, you may at all times be taught extra about these majestic creatures.
It’s at all times finest to start out originally. Earlier than we delve into the small print of each fish, listed below are some widespread questions individuals have about Pike and Muskie.
Are Pike and Muskie the Similar?
Northern Pike and Muskellunge are shut relations. They’re each from the genus “Esox” together with different Pikes and Pickerels. Nevertheless, they’re not the identical or forms of the identical fish. They’re two totally different species with totally different behaviors, markings, and distributions.
Is it Musky or Muskie?
Muskellunge have probably the most different spellings of any species. Relying on the place you catch them, they might be known as Muskellunge, Muskelunge, Muscallonge, Maskinonge, or Milliganong. “Muskie” and “Musky” are each accepted spellings and most of the people use them interchangeably.
What’s Greater, Pike or Muskie?
Muskie and Pike are sometimes across the identical dimension. That is a part of the rationale that individuals have bother telling them aside. Nevertheless, Muskie do develop to be a lot greater than Pike. The typical Pike is lower than two toes, whereas Muskie repeatedly hit twice that dimension. The IGFA document for Pike stands at simply over 55 kilos, 12 kilos wanting the document for Muskie.
Tiger Muskie vs. Muskie
Are Tiger Muskie a subspecies of Muskie? Are they a regional selection? Truly, neither. Tiger Muskie are a hybrid of a feminine Muskellunge and a male Northern Pike. They’re very uncommon within the wild, however they’re stocked in some waters. Their outlandish seems to be, giant dimension, and rarity put them excessive on many anglers’ bucket lists.
Muskie vs. Pike Identification
Muskie and Pike are each lengthy, pointy, freshwater fish. So how are you aware which one you’ve caught? Colour and dimension aren’t at all times dependable, as Muskie differ rather a lot in each. Nevertheless, there are three straightforward methods to establish the fish on the tip of your line.
1. Test the tail. The best option to distinguish Muskie and Pike is by trying on the tail. Each species have forked tails, however Muskie have rather more pointed forks, whereas Pike tails are extra rounded. Tiger Musky even have rounded tails, serving to you inform them aside from common Musky.
2. Have a look at their markings. Muskie can differ rather a lot in shade and sample. They might have sturdy, thick bars, faint spots, or no sample in any respect. Nevertheless, their markings will at all times be darker than the remainder of their physique. Pike are the other. Their our bodies are darkish green-blue with lighter, creamy, bean-shaped spots.
3. Depend the pores. If all else fails, there’s one surefire option to know what fish you’re holding: Flip it over and take a look at the underside of the jaw. Pike and Muskie have particular pores to detect motion within the water. Pike have 4–5 pores on both sides, Muskie have 6–9. Be certain to deal with the fish gently and preserve your fingers properly away from its mouth as you flip it over!
Nonetheless can’t inform whether or not you’ve caught a Muskie or a Pike? Check out the scales on their face. Pike have scales throughout their cheeks, whereas Muskie solely have them on the higher half. You need to be capable of establish your fish with out feeling its face, although.
The place to Discover Pike and Muskie
So you understand how to establish Muskie vs. Pike, however the place do you have to go to catch them? That actually is dependent upon the species. Listed below are the fundamentals on the place to search out Pike and Muskie.
Pike and Muskie Distribution
Pike and Muskie each thrive in and across the Nice Lakes. You could find each fish in all 5 lakes and the encompassing rivers. Nevertheless, that’s about so far as the similarities go.
You’ll be able to catch Pike in most of North America, From the northwest of Alaska all the way in which over to Labrador in jap Canada. Additionally they present up as far south as Oklahoma and Arkansas, and in remoted lakes even farther south than that. Past North America, you could find them throughout the identical northerly vary all the way in which world wide.
Muskie have a way more restricted distribution. They dwell in and across the Nice Lakes, and down alongside the Appalachian Mountains as far south as Georgia. They had been additionally launched into Lake Manitoba and Lake Winnipeg, however catches in these lakes are very uncommon. If you would like one of the best likelihood of touchdown a Muskie, stick with the Nice Lakes and the rivers round them.
Pike and Muskie Habitat
Northern Pike and Muskellunge could have very totally different distributions, however they’ve related tastes in habitat. They’re each ambush hunters that cover amongst thick vegetation, ready for a meal to swim their means. Each fish desire clear water, in all probability as a result of they’re sight-based hunters.
Muskie usually dwell in giant rivers and medium-size or giant lakes. Pike are much less fussy about the place they dwell. They will present up in smaller rivers and ponds, in addition to all of the locations Muskie are inclined to inhabit. One of the best place to search for both fish is in thick weedy sections of rivers or lakes.
Pike and Muskie will usually stick with shallow, sluggish water and infrequently go beneath 40 toes deep. That’s, until the shallows get too heat or there’s extra meals farther down. Though they like the shallows, Musky additionally wish to preserve their choices open, so shallow vegetation with quick access to deeper water is at all times a great place to strive.
How one can Catch Pike and Muskie
These are each extremely predatory fish, constructed for pace and energy. Due to this, they’re prized recreation fish all through their vary. Muskie are additionally famously onerous to hook, therefore the nickname “fish of a thousand casts.” They’re troublesome to trick and inconceivable to foretell. Even so, there are a number of go-to ways for each species.
Pike Fishing Ideas
Most anglers use giant spoons, shallow-running plugs, or spinnerbaits to catch Pike. Reside bait additionally works, so long as it’s the proper dimension to draw their consideration. Pike will go for a lot bigger prey in autumn once they’re stocking up for the winter. In spring, the waters are chilly and the fish are sluggish, in order that they’re proud of a lot smaller baits.
Pike are a basic fly fishing goal. They’ll take a wide range of giant streamers and sliders. Simply be sure you’re utilizing weedless flies in the event you don’t need to take half the lake away with you. Nevertheless you’re fishing, Pike have a imply chunk, so be certain that to make use of a heavy chief.
Muskie Fishing Ideas
One of the best tip you may have for Muskie fishing is “be affected person.” Even skilled anglers gained’t declare to reliably catch massive Musky. Purpose for a “observe” (the sight of a fish chasing your lure) and also you could be rewarded with a hookup. Even then, these guys are well-known for his or her acrobatic shows and their ability at throwing the hook.
You’ll be able to observe many of the ideas for Pike fishing when going after Musky: Fish the weeds. Use bigger baits later within the yr. Use a wire chief if you wish to preserve your lure. One of the best lures for catching Musky are giant jigs, jerkbaits, diving plugs, and bucktail spinners. Bucktails and jerkbaits are finest for casting, whereas diving plugs are a typical lure for trolling.
Muskie Vs. Pike: Conclusions
Pike and Muskie are each wonderful fish to catch. They struggle onerous, develop enormous, and look superior. Musky are rather more restricted of their vary, though each fish like the identical type of habitat and hunt in an identical means.
Musky are a extra prestigious catch as a result of they’re so unpredictable, however Pike positively deserve legendary standing, too. Each these fish are apex predators who use each little bit of their energy and agility within the struggle. It’s more durable to get Musky to chunk, however it is best to at all times be blissful to see both fish on the tip of your line.
Have you ever ever managed to catch a Musky? What’s your go-to setup for touchdown enormous Pike? Do you’ve gotten any ideas of your individual on telling the 2 fish aside? Tell us within the feedback beneath!