Muskellunge, or “muskies” are the largest members of the Pike Family and New York’s largest freshwater sportfish, capable of reaching sizes over four feet! So as you could imagine, these toothy predators are at the top of the food chain.
Muskellunge season begins on June 1st in inland waters and June 15th in Great Lakes waters (Lake Erie, Upper Niagara River, Lower Niagara River, Lake Ontario, and the St. Lawrence River). The statewide minimum size limit is 40 inches, and it is 54 inches for Great Lakes waters. Being lucky enough to catch a muskie requires a fair amount of skill and a whole lot of patience – earning them the moniker “the fish of 10,000 casts.”
Muskies can be found in 13 lakes and 19 rivers in New York, with the most renowned fisheries in the St. Lawrence River, Upper Niagara River and Chautauqua Lake. Other quality muskie waters include: Waneta, Greenwood, Bear, and Cassadaga lakes and the Susquehanna, Chenango, and Great Chazy rivers.
Check out the article “Muskie 101” for helpful tips on getting started in muskie fishing, as well as how to catch and properly handle them.