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An Official Website of the Commonwealth of Kentucky
Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources
Adult Muskellunge Photo by John MacGregor
Immature Muskellunge Photo by Brooks M. Burr
The Muskellunge has a general body shape and appearance that is similar to the
, but grows to a much larger size. It is further distinguished from the Grass Pickerel by lacking a vertical black stripe below the eye. Color is dark green or brown on the back and silvery on the sides with dark broken vertical bars (faded in adults). Fins are olive to reddish-brown, often with large dark spots. Adults from northern populations are reported to reach 6 ft. (72 in.) and 70 lbs. In Kentucky, individuals exceeding 50 in. (40 lbs.) are uncommon.
Distribution and Habitat:
Native to the Green, Kentucky, Licking, and Little Sandy river drainages, and Kinniconick and Tygarts creeks. Muskellunge inhabit pools of medium to large rivers, often near fallen logs with accumulated debris. They are stocked annually in Green River Lake, Cave Run Lake, Dewey Lake and Buckhorn Lake, where they are usually found in shoreline habitat associated with structure. Several stream populations are also maintained through supplemental stockings due to poor reproductive success in the wild.
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