MMTT STOCKING

Metro Muskie Tournament Sponsored by

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MMTT Muskie Stocking Program

PICTURES

In November 2009, 25 participants from the Metro Muskie Tournament, members of the Minnesota Muskie Guides Association and the Twin Cities Chapter of Muskies, Inc. joined forces to net the muskies in our 10-acre North Branch rearing pond operated in cooperation with the Minnesota Muskie Guides Association, Frankie's Live Bait & Marine, and the Minnesota DNR. The pond was aerated over the 2008-2009 winter with two pumps (donated by the Hugh C. Becker Foundation) allowing the fish to survive the winter's cold. In all there were 24 muskies gathered by the 10' tall 1100' long seine net. These fish included ten yearlings averaging 18" and fourteen adults that ranged from 30 - 36" in length. The larger fish were responsible for consuming nearly all of the 5,000 fry stocked into the pond in June 2008. A big thank you to all of the volunteers who have donated hundreds of hours at the pond over the past 11 years. Your dedication has helped stock $50,000 worth of muskies.

The spread of Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia, or VHS, has caused trouble across the muskie range in the East and has now been found in Minnesota's St. Louis River, among other areas. Because of VHS, there is now a rule requiring 60 fish be killed and tested for this lethal disease prior to any fish being stocked in any waters in the state. Rather than kill all 24 muskies harvested, the MN DNR allowed us to donate the fish to Cabela's of Owatonna and Rogers, the Great Lakes Aquarium in Duluth, and Underwater World at the Mall of America. While it's unfortunate that none of these fish will wind up tugging on an angler's line, it is exciting to know that for more than a decade they will expose millions of people to the beautiful muskie and aid in educating the public on how to "know the difference". It was gratifying, on a recent visit to Cabela's, to hear child after child shout out, "Hey Mom, Dad! Check out these huge muskies!" These kids are our future.

The harsh 2009-10 winter has been a blessing for the rearing pond. The heavy snows in December, January's cold temps, and the continued low water levels created a winter kill in the pond. This gives us a clean slate with which to work. A good percentage (15 - 20%) of the fry stocked into the pond this spring should survive through the summer. For the past six years we've experienced year-class suppression where the larger fish cannibalize the newly added fry. With a "clean" winter-killed pond, it will not be an issue for 2010. The fry stock this June will be saved until the fall of 2011 when they will be stocked out as 18" yearlings.

Frankie Dusenka has been our partner and advisor at these ponds since day one. Please support Frankie's Live Bait & Marine as none of this would be possible without him.

Photos courtesy of Juris Ozols
Group

Volunteers at the muskie rearing pond

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Unfolding the net

Volunteers line up to unfold the net

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Jeff Riedemann

Jeff Riedemann offers his harvesting expertise and guidance

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Chris Jensen & Paul Hartman

Chris Jensen & Paul Hartman

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Transporting netted muskies

A volunteer carries a net full of yearlings from the seine net to the truck for transport

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Kevin Zollinger & Chris Jensen

Netting muskie yearlings that have been collected in the seine net

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Release at WBL

DNR Conservation Officer delivers the fish to their destination

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