This muskie was happy to eat a full-grown pike!
Here in the United States, one of the more prized sport fish species is the muskellunge, or Esox masquinongy as it is known in scientific circles. This fish has been given the colorful nickname of "The Fish of 10,000 casts" by many anglers.
That's because despite being found in many smaller fisheries and larger ones like the Great Lakes, and despite being one of the most aggressive freshwater fish there is, they're notoriously hard to catch. Some anglers have a hard time just seeing one of these game fish in the wild. They can be a bit spooky around humans. The largest member of the fish family Esocidae, doesn't grow to large sizes by being dumb.
Instead, it pulls it off by being one of the greatest ambush predators you can find in a lake or stream. To demonstrate just how aggressive they really are, this viral video of large muskie with a full-grown northern pike in its jaws should drive the point home!
This wild video was taken in Minnesota's Itasca State Park back in 2017 and the uploader, Cody Wolters, estimates the length of the muskie at 45 inches and the length of the pike at 35 inches. Even if those estimates aren't accurate, this muskie has just killed a fish that's only slightly shorter than it is. Just how is this muskie expecting to swallow this? That prey item was so large, the pike was having a hard time keeping it underwater. Did you see his dorsal fin clearing the surface?
We previously though northerns that large were apex predators, but it seems we were proven wrong! This just seems like the largest member of the pike family asserting their dominance. We knew that muskie would cannibalize the extended members of their family in pike and tike muskies, but we never knew they would kill other fish of this size.
The normal diet for the muskie includes the usual suspects, minnows, yellow perch, bluegills, even young crappies and walleyes. Sometimes they also eat crayfish, frogs, toads, muskrats, mice and other small mammals and even ducklings. The muskie is anything but a picky eater!
We're just glad that there was clear water on this lake and that these kayakers were in the right place at the right time to capture what must be a rare event. Had they not captured the footage, we would have had a hard time believing it!