Sterile Tiger Muskies for Perch Control

Kurt Hoehne Fishing

Oregonlive/Oregonian writer Bill Monroe is once again on top of the fishing scene in that great state. Let’s hope the tiger muskies do their job well, and the trophy trouts come back. –KH

By Bill Monroe, Special to The Oregonian

The first tiger muskies have arrived in Oregon, all 25,000 of them.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife released the Wyoming-grown five-inchers into Phillips Reservoir in Baker County on Tuesday in the hopes they’ll eat their way into a huge over-population of illegally introduced yellow perch. The perch have effectively stifled a once-strong trophy trout fishery.

Photo courtesy of Oregon Dept of Fish and Wildlife

Photo courtesy of Oregon Dept of Fish and Wildlife

Tiger muskies are a sterile cross between muskellunge and northern pike. While they cannot reproduce, they do retain their genetically voracious appetite for just about anything that moves and fits in their mouths.

Washington uses them in several reservoirs to control unwanted fish, including Mayfield Lake (Cowlitz system) and Merwin Reservoir (North Fork Lewis). The tigers, while voracious predators, tend to use different water zones than deeper-swimming trout and kokanee.

They’ll also become a popular gamefish once they get to size (Washington’s minimum retention is 50 inches, about a 40-pounder) and have tasty, flaky white flesh when cooked.

For now, however, Oregon won’t allow any kind of retention. Nor are there plans to plant them anywhere else. State law had to be altered to specifically allow this introduction.

 

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Kurt Hoehne

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