The DWR’s tiger musky program started in the 90’s when they introduced tigers into Pineview Reservoir. Biologists put them in Pineview to help thin out some of the stunted perch and crappie. Since then, musky have been used as a management tool and as an incentive to attract anglers to a unique type of fishing.
(Drew Cushing, DWR Warm Water Sport Fish Coordinator) They really do a good job of removing those rough fish, in Joe’s Valley the rough fish is Utah Chub and we tried Splake in there and Splake they grew quite well, but they didn’t do what we wanted for the Utah Chub. They just were not able to get on top of them and reduce their numbers and so these tiger musky that we put in there, this is their third year believe it or not.
(Drew Cushing) And when you think about a three year old fish that is 40 inches, 44 inches and 15 pounds, it’s amazing and they are really doing a number. The Southeast region guys our managers and biologists down there have actually seen a decline in the number of chubs. They’ve also seen in increase in the size, so it means they are having an impact down there. Which is really exciting.
Tiger musky are a cross between muskellunge and a northern pike. Until a few years ago, DWR biologists were importing tiger muskies from hatcheries in states near the Great Lakes. But the fish were expensive and we were just one of several western states trying to buy them. Three years ago, Utah biologists were on the cusp of creating their own tiger musky hatchery program when they lost their brood stock to a angler who didn’t realize he was fishing in one of the Lee Kay Center’s warm water holding ponds. Drew says, they once again have musky in their ponds and next year the male musky will be sexually mature and their DWR’s musky program will be back on track.
(Drew) We actually did some improvements out there, we have a de-gasser out there, we are going to have a new hatchery building by next spring, we re-constructed two of the ponds, through this winter we are re-constructing the other two ponds, so we should be up and running for next years spawn.
(Adam) Keep your rod bent a little bit. That’s a good fish. (steve) yeah that’s a good one. Look at this, even Jared is getting them, what’s my deal. Oh yeah look at that, that’s a good fish. (steve laughs) That’s a good one. (adam) What a tank.
Anglers can target tiger musky at Pineview, Joe’s Valley, Johnson, Newton, Cottonwood and Bullock reservoirs. Some have even migrated down from Johnson Reservoir to Fish Lake. Know that each of these reservoirs have different regulations on possession of tiger musky.
(Drew) Where ever you create a fish that’s novel, it’s interesting, it’s exciting, which these are. When you see these fish come out of the water and even see them follow, it really gets your adrenaline rush. so these fish have really developed a fanatic following of anglers that pursue them with fly rods, want to catch them through the ice. It’s actually turned a place like Joe’s Valley. if you went up there before the tiger musky were put in there, you would see a boat or two. Now you go up, you’ll see ten to fifteen boats on the water and when you ask them what they are doing, they are pursuing tiger musky. It creates a real trophy opportunity in a place that didn’t have one previously.
well you better get down and you’d better buy some XRM from Reaction Strike, because that has caught three of the fish today and we’ve had a few follows with it to. what a neat fish and again our DWR has done a great job providing this fishery for us, make sure you take care of these fish as best you can. keep them in the water when you can. Use the boga grip or a nice big long net. You’ll help save this fish, and give someone else a chance to catch him. We are going to get this guy back into the depths and while we do, let’s head back to Fish Tech now for tonights fishing report.