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Are Minnesota's Muskies Growing Too Big?

Minnesota's muskies are getting more challenging to catch; Here's why.

Anglers from all over the world flock to Minnesota's lakes during the spring and summer to catch muskie, a.k.a "The Fish of a 10,000 Casts."

That title couldn't be more appropriate than it is now. The Twin Cities Pioneer Press reports that state fisheries biologists who surveyed roughly 100 muskie lakes are starting to see a decline in their numbers as the mature fish grow older and bigger.

That trend is readily apparent in Lake Bemidji - one of the state's densest muskie fisheries. A two-year state DNR study estimated the lake has only 500 to 600 muskies, a low number for the 6,581-acre fishery.

While there are fewer muskie overall, the ones that are swimming are absolute monsters.

"There are a lot of 'em, a lot of really big muskies," said Gary Barnard of the state DNR. "A lot of fish over 50 inches."

Biologists have a theory that these monster muskies are now eating more of their smaller kin to satisfy their a voracious appetites.

RELATED: Watch a tiger muskie eat a trout half its size.

Another theory points to the mating dominance of larger females.  Muskies that are 45-inches and under could be prolonging their sexual maturity until they get bigger.

Either way, Barnard said the trend of larger muskie at the cost of fewer overall fish isn't necessarily a threat to the species - it just means that one of the most challenging fish to catch just got even more difficult to find.

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Are Minnesota's Muskies Growing Too Big?