Muskellunge! A surprise visitor.
What a treat! While out leading a refresher dive for these two 14 year olds at our house reef (Kingswood Shoal), we were buzzed by a big Muskellunge or Muskie Esox masquinongy. This fish is the largest of the Pike family, and are typically 28–48 in (71–122 cm) long and weigh 15–36 lb (6.8–16.3 kg), though some have reached up to 6 ft (1.8 m) and almost 70 lb (32 kg). The fish are a light silver, brown, or green, with dark vertical stripes on the flank, which may tend to break up into spots. Muskies are ambush predators who will swiftly bite their prey and then swallow it head first. They eat all varieties of fish present in their ecosystem (including other muskellunge), along with the occasional muskrat, rat, frog, or duck. Found through out the Great lakes, they prefer clear waters where they lurk along weed edges, rock outcrops, or other structures to rest. A fish forms two distinct home ranges in summer: a shallow range and a deeper one. A muskie continually patrols the ranges in search of available food in the appropriate conditions of water temperature. Hopefully this guy will hang around for the rest of the summer and give our divers a nice show!