The Division of Wildlife Resources released about 18,000 tiger muskie into the Jordanelle Reservoir on Thursday. Tiger Muskie are a popular trophy fish and they’re hoping that soon, the Jordanelle will attract that angler.
Tiger Muskee are a voracious fish and DWR Aquatics Manager, Chris Crockett calls them mini monsters. He says they’re planting the fish throughout all areas of the reservoir.
“Cause if we hold them too much longer in the hatchery, they’ll just start eating the guy to the left or right of them. But they will grow pretty fast. We did our first stock there of tiger muskie in 2016. And, an angler recently caught one that is about 32 inches. So, they do grow pretty fast."
Crockett says the three to four-inch fish they’re releasing will not be catchable until next year.
“But obviously what we’re really trying to do with those tiger muskie is eventually grow a 40-inch size of trophy fish at Jordanelle. That’s what we’re trying to do is get some of those individuals up to about 40 inches. That’s really where the tiger muskie fishermen will start to get really excited about those fish."
Crockett says the tiger musky is very selective and very smart.
“When they’re fishing for adults, they’re typically using like eight-inch long crank baits or you know, jigs or skirted spinner baits essentially. It’s a pretty impressive array that they’re throwing out there with about an eight-foot-rod because again, if you ‘re fishing for a 40 incher, you need quite a bit of tackle to handle it.”
Clark Bailey lives in Park City but comes from the mid-west where muskie are native. He spent a couple years competing in fishing tournaments in the PMTT (Pro Muskie Tournament Trail). Bailey won a handful of trophies during that time but says the musky is a tricky catch.
It’s known as the fish of 10,000 casts. So, when you’re in a tournament, the lake you’re fishing is kind of dictated so we kind of took it for more of a data approach. We would study lake maps, study historical blogs, you now. There are lots of forums where people are talking about this time of year, the fish are going to be in this depth of water, this temperature of water, or they’ll be in current because bit fish are swimming in the current. So, we did a lot of that research for these lakes we would never fish and that’s how we got on certain patterns for catching fish.”
The muskie introduced to Utah’s lakes and reservoirs are a hybrid which he says is good for the ecological balance of the fisheries and anglers love fishing for them.
“Use it as a management tool. If they have too much rough fish in a body of water or whatever it is they’re trying to manage, they can introduce tiger musky’s because they won’t reproduce and they can control whatever it is they’re trying to control. For me, it’s an awesome opportunity as a sportsman to have that apex predator in the body of water because that ‘s my favorite thing to fish for. Because they’re big and mean and toothy.”
Crockett says the tiger musky is a great fighter providing strong bursts of energy and speed. The local chapter of Muskie’s Inc. helped ferry a recent release in Pineview reservoir. He says they’re a pretty charismatic fish even when they’re only three inches long.