The Muskie


The Muskellunge is probably the most ferocious fish to be found in The Erie Canal. The NY record for this elusive fish was 69 lb. 15 oz. (9/22/57) , which makes the paltry 6 pound specimen I caught off my dock seem like a minnow. At least it proved to me that these monsters are in our canal.

Muskies are called by fishermen, “The fish of ten thousand casts!”, simply because they are wary, wily and difficult to catch. (Maybe my catch was just pure luck!)

Muskies will take ducks, musk-rats, and other small animals, so be careful if you have tiny dogs who enjoy a swim in the canal!


Photo by Gilbert Rowley — Imagine what this guy could do to a dangling toe in the water?


The Muskellunge makes the grade to one of my favorite fishing programs ‘River Monsters’! where Jeremy Wade shows you how he caught his!

A Muskie, being a close relative of The Northern Pike, will often interbreed, giving New York a hybrid fish. For the inexperienced, like me, this can sometimes cause a problem in recognising them. Here’s a chart which should help.




I’ve found the Muskie, and pike, like to lurk in the shallows in the spring. The pike are prolific around the Oxbow, and I’ve caught dozens, and eaten several. They taste much better than walleye too! If I ever caught another Muskie, I’d let it go, simply because of their rarity here.

The most obvious way of distinguishing a Muskie from a Pike is to look at their fins, especially the tail. If they are pointed, it’s a Pike, if they are rounded, its a Muskie!

My Pike Fishing

There’s a great article on Muskies in Wikipedia – click here

Mike Caswell


Author: Mike Caswell

I live in Fairport, and my home is at The Oxbow section of The Erie Canal. I fish, have a pontoon boat and like messing in boats. (see I'm retired and enjoy every day living here with my wife Carol and our two dogs.

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