Tennessee Muskie

Once plentiful in our state, the mighty muskie almost disappeared. Today, thanks to the hard work of the TWRA and others, Tennessee muskie are making a comeback...and attracting anglers from around the world.

The muskellunge or muskie is known as the fish of ten thousand casts—and for good reason. While it might be highly selective about hitting a hook, there’s nothing shy about this aggressive predator. Although they are native to our state, muskie are generally considered a northern fish, due in part to their decline in Tennessee because of overfishing, dam construction, and polluted water. But today, that perception is changing, as muskie have made a comeback, thanks to the hard work of the TWRA and others. Wild Side Guide Chris Nischan takes us to the Collins River, where a muskie resurgence is attracting anglers from around the world.

James McBeath of Ontario, Canada, fishing from a kayak, won the innaugural Muskie Fly Fishing World Championship with a 38-inch fish from the Collins River. The tournament raised over two thousand dollars for the TWRA Muskie program. Supporters predict even more anglers will travel to our state when the tournament comes back in 2014. Visit the tournament website to learn more.

For the record, this also seems to be a fish of ten thousand names! Commonly know as “muskie” or “musky” (the preferred spelling seems to depend on what part of the country you grew up in…we went old school and chose the version used by Webster’s Dictionary), the muskellunge (Esox masquinongy), is also known as (this from wikipedia) muskelunge, muscallonge, milliganong, or maskinonge. It is a species of large, relatively uncommon freshwater fish of North America. The muskellunge is the largest member of the pike family, Esocidae. The common name comes from the Ojibwa word maashkinoozhe, meaning “ugly pike”, by way of French masque allongé (modified from the Ojibwa word by folk etymology), “elongated face.”  The French common name is masquinongé or maskinongé.

The muskellunge is also known by a wide variety of trivial names including Ohio muskellunge, Great Lakes muskellunge, barred muskellunge, Ohio River pike, Allegheny River pike, jack pike, unspotted muskellunge and the Wisconsin muskellunge.

From show 2508.


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