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     Muskellunges have very specific spawning schedules. They must begin when the temperature is somewhere between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit, so this usually happens around mid-April or into the beginning of May and only spawn for 5 to 10 days. The females will lay eggs (as many as 200,000) along mucky bottoms of lakes or in weed beds. The depths can have a drastic range (up to 6 feet), however they are most commonly found in shallow waters. Ironically, the males will arrive early at the spawning beds raring to go, however they must wait on the females to deliver the eggs. Fertilization occurs out side of the body, so very little physical contact Monitoring Muskellunge population in Michiganactually goes on. However, some males like it rough. After releasing their milt (sperm) the males will violently thrash their tails over where the eggs lie. This is done to spread out the milt in attempts to fertilize as many eggs as possible. Some males get so rough that they can cause lacerations to their tails. These cuts in their skin can lead to an infection and eventually death by lymphosarcoma. However, no wham-bam-thank you ma'am for the males. They tend to stick around in the weed bed for a few days afterword. It is unsure whether they do this to protect the eggs, or wait for another female to arrive with her eggs. Another unique aspect to Muskellunge mating is that males and females have been documented to spawn in the same weed bed every year. After around 4 years Muskellunge FryMuskellunge fry (youths) can begin to sexually mature. Muskellunges can live as long as 20 years.
    However because of the demand and popularity of Muskellunge they are now mostly stocked into lakes. This is to increase the overall population in lakes, and to increase the average size. Another artificial interference to Muskellunge reproduction are the presence of Tiger Muskellunges (Esox Masquinongy X Esox lucius ). This is a sterile hybrid of Muskellunge and Northern Pike (Esox lucius). Tiger Muskellunges are usually smaller than true Muskellunges, however not by much. These animals are bred in fish hatcheries and released into lakes all across the Midwest. These organisms are also used to scout out potential new habitats for true Muskellunges. Because they are similar to a Muskellunge, they should be able to handle the same environments. States like California have attempted to get a Muskellunge population, however most recent stocking attempts failed. Also, because Hatching Muskellunge FryMuskellunge natural reproduction is so hit or miss, some states group lakes into categories or zones due to the Muskellunge reproduced to stocked ratio. A Category 1 lake is one where no stocking is needed. These lakes are very rate. Category 2 lakes are also relatively rare, because in these lakes the Muskellunge population can support itself, however they are still stocked to help the population. The Category 3 lakes are ones where no reproduction of Muskellunges is seen to occur. The Muskellunge population in these lakes is strictly from stocking. Category 4 is similar, except these lakes are not stocked with Muskellunges, but Tiger Muskellunges. http://dnr.wi.gov/fish/musky/muskywaters_lifehistory.html 
    The meager fossil evidence for Muskellunge shows that they arose in the Miocene epoch, of the Neogene period. It was long believed that Muskellunges were just evolved Northern Pike, however we now know they evolved independently of Northern Pike. Find out how Muskellunges have evolved to dominate their ecosystem.