Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 98, Issue 3, pp 833–844 | Cite as

Movement patterns and spawning sites of muskellunge Esox masquinongy in the Antrim chain of lakes, Michigan

  • James S. Diana
  • Patrick Hanchin
  • Nicholas Popoff


The purpose of this study was to identify spawning habitat, determine home ranges, and examine movement patterns for a naturally reproducing population of Great Lakes muskellunge in the lower Antrim County chain of lakes, Michigan. Muskellunge spawning sites were identified by tracking of implanted muskellunge using a directional hydrophone and by nighttime spotlight surveys. All spawning fish tagged in Torch or Clam Lake spawned in Clam Lake, while most spawning fish tagged in Elk or Skegemog Lake spawned in the Torch River; one appeared to spawn in Lake Skegemog. Of the 32 potential spawning sites, 28 (87.5 %) contained submerged aquatic vegetation as the dominant habitat type, while the remaining 4 sites were divided equally between woody debris (6.25 %) and bare substrate. All but one implanted muskellunge returned from spawning sites to the same lake in which they were captured and implanted. Of the 24 tagged muskellunge, four were harvested via angling or spearing within 1 year after tagging, and two additional fish were assumed harvested when contact was lost. Implanted muskellunge tended to remain in the lakes during the winter, then move into spawning areas in spring, eventually returning to open lake sites where they resided over summer. Muskellunge movement behavior diverged after spawning each year, with 11 tagged fish (61.1 %) remaining in Skegemog or Clam Lake for the summer, and seven individuals traveling to Elk or Torch Lake. Muskellunge home ranges averaged 612 ha and ranged from 17 to 5,287 ha.


Spawning sites Home range Telemetry Habitat 



This project represents a cooperative study between the University of Michigan and Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Additional financial support was provided by the Michigan Muskie Alliance and the Hugh C. Becker Foundation of the Twin Cities Chapter of Muskies, Inc. We thank J. Molenhouse, W. Schultz, and A. Krieger for their assistance in field collections, lab evaluations, and spatial analysis. The animal use methods for this study were approved by the University of Michigan Unit for Lab Animal Medicine, protocol 10246–1.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • James S. Diana
    • 1
  • Patrick Hanchin
    • 2
  • Nicholas Popoff
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Natural Resources and EnvironmentUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  2. 2.Michigan Department of Natural ResourcesCharlevoix Fisheries Research StationCharlevoixUSA

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