Muskies are expanding across the state, but DNR biologists are wary of the movement into northern Indiana.
Per an Indiana DNR release, biologists have begun to notice the location of muskie in northern Indiana’s waters. While “muskie fingerlings are stocked each year into eight lakes in the region to provide muskie fishing, muskies are now showing up in waters where no DNR stockings or legally permitted private stockings have occurred.”
Why is this such a problem? Well, it’s not yet, but it could be. Muskies are large predatory sport fish and they are stocked in specific lakes where there is enough of a food supply in forage fish to nourish the population. Muskies, where stocked inappropriately, could eventually takeover the environment of the native fish and drive them out of the lake through competition alone.
As Jeremy Price, the northern Indiana fisheries supervisor said, “Our biggest concern is that some fish may find suitable spawning habitat, reproduce, and eventually compete with other fish.” This competition could be devastating to other fish populations.
DNR biologists have narrowed down two central possibilities for where the exceptionally large muskies are coming from. The first idea is that some are naturally moving from their stocking place and finding their way to places like Simonton Lake in Elkhart County or Lake Wawasee in Kosciusko County.
The second idea is that someone is illegally transferring the fish to the lakes. The number of muskies present now leave biologists to assume the first option is far more likely, but officials are still keeping an ear to the ground of illegal stocking incidents.