Musky America Magazine December Edition

Use the pliers to take 4-6 scale samples and send them to your states Division of Wildlife where they can monitor the growth rates and population of Muskies on that particular body of water. I’m not sure on what states practice this but they do here in Ohio where I do most of my Muskie fishing. You'll also want to note any tag on the fish and record the number of the tag to be reported with your scale samples for additional information. Many states use this information to determine stocking programs in various bodies of water. 4. Limit the time the fish is out of the water. You want to get the fish measured, remove scale samples, take a quick photo, and release the fish in a matter of a few minutes. Too much time out of the water will surely kill the fish, less than 4 minutes is recommended and easily achievable. 5. Handling of the fish: When you get the fish in the boat try not to handle it too much. Muskies have a protective film on their skin that is easily removed if handled too much or out in the hot air too long. This film protects the fish against disease and without it they are susceptible. Try not to lay the fish down in the boat for too long, especially if your floor is carpeted. The carpet soaks off the film off the fish. When taking the photo do not hold the fish vertically without supporting the lower body with your other hand. This is hard on their spine and can cause permanent damage. I hold the fish with one hand under the gill plate and the other toward the lower bottom fin. Carefully slide your hand in the gill plate. They have gill rakers that can cut your hand, but if you slide your fingers in on the very inner portion of the gill plate you'll be fine.