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Catch-and-release season is planned for muskellunge
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
BY FRED J. AUN
For the Star-Ledger
Gordon Campbell, vice president of Muskie's Inc. Chapter 22 in North Jersey, once came close to eating muskellunge. It was a pike Campbell tasted, a fish that -- for most intents and purposes -- equals the musky's edibility. Or lack thereof.

"I wouldn't eat one," said Campbell, referring to muskellunge. He explained the pike he tried long ago while fishing in Canada was far from enjoyable. The muskellunge shares that reputation. "They're just bony," Campbell said. "Not a gourmet fish at all. ... If you want something to eat, catch a flounder or something like that."

One angler, posting in an online forum, contended a good muskie recipe would entail mixing the fillets "with potatoes, carrots, onions, lemon, a few chunks of steak and some beef gravy."



The writer -- sounding suspiciously as if he were discussing black bear meat -- went on to suggest slow cooking the mixture in a crock pot for eight hours.

"Once cooked, pour contents in a serving dish, throw muskie fillets in the garbage and enjoy," said the jokester.

Others on the forum reworked the old shad-cooking one-liner, wherein the hungry fisherman discards the shad and munches the wood plank used to cook the fish.

Still, you never know when somebody will toss a big, bony muskie on a frying pan. So the state Fish and Game Council -- at the request of the state Division of Fish and Wildlife -- wants to place a catch-and-release season on muskellunge.

The council plans to bar anglers from keeping any muskies and tiger muskellunge caught in Echo Lake Reservoir, Mercer Lake, Mountain Lake and Monksville Reservoir between March 20 and May 20.

It's from those places that the state gathers big muskies each year to use as "broodstock" for its muskellunge-raising efforts at the Hackettstown State Fish Hatchery. During the process, the biologists use tricaine methanesulfonate (MS222) to sedate the fish, thereby reducing injuries.

The substance stays in the fish for three weeks and, to prevent human consumption of the chemical, the hatchery keeps the muskies 21 days before returning them to the water. Under the proposed Fish Code change, the fish could be returned immediately after being stripped of eggs, since anglers wouldn't be allowed to keep them until after the non-consumption period passed.

This would be good for the muskies. The less time in the hatchery, the better
 

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If it were up to me all freshwater fishing( except bow fishing for carp) would be catch & release.
What fine with me. You do not have to keep any . That way there are more for me to keep & eat..:D
 

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My Dad and I caught 3 muskies a few years ago on Greenwood Lake using a local guide. We were told up front that it was CPR (Catch, Photo, Release) and we had no problem with the concept. My dad ended up catching a 50 incher on his 1st cast and then caught a 48 incher about an hour later. I caught a 30 inch dinker but we had a good time.

Good for the State to make these slow growing and exciting fish catch and release.
 
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