Muskie population well stocked in Lake AdgerPublished 4:26pm Friday, October 21, 2011
I had the privilege recently to help the NC Wildlife Resources Commission in their efforts to stock muskie in Lake Adger.
Lake Adger is and has been known as the “home of the muskie” for quite some time. The small 438-acre lake has been home of the state record several times in the past 30 years, and is home of the current state record at 41 pounds 8 ounces since 2001.
The NCWRC, along with the help of the Western North Carolina Muskie Club, stocked the lake wit 1,450 muskie ranging from 7”- 10”.
“That’s the most we ever stocked,” said David Yow, the warm water research fisheries coordinator.
Yow told me that was about five to six times the normal amount. The big stocking was due to a very good year at the Table Rock Fish Hatchery, the hatchery that supplies the fingerling muskie for the state.
The “cigar” size muskie are “stocked in October to give the fish the best chance at survival,” said Yow.
It gives the fish time to adjust to their new habitat before the cold of winter sets in. And, the water has cooled enough to reduce the stress of warm water temps.
The size of the fish reduces somewhat the number of fish that will be eaten by larger predators. Although I’m pretty sure I may have caught an Osprey catching a freshly stocked fish on film. The cost of feeding the fish to get bigger is hard to justify as well.
Yow also told me we should start seeing results in three to five years for catchable size fish. I took this as fish in the 30”- 40” range.
All of the fish released are tagged. The main purpose is for future studies done on the lake. There is also some minor concern that fish can get down the river into South Carolina, and if this does happen the fish can be identified as one put in by the wildlife commission.
The fish put in for this stocking were sterile and non-sterile fish. There has never been a fish taken during studies that was not a stocked fish. There is apparently no natural reproduction in the lake. This makes the stockings all the more important to sustain the fishery.
The WNC muskie club is a leader in conservation and promotion of the famed muskie. The club was established in 1981. The annual dues are $20, and the club meets the first Monday of each month.
“You don’t have to catch a muskie to be in the club, just be active in resource care,” I was told by the former club president.
That might be a good thing, due to the fact that the muskie is known as the “fish of 10,000 casts.” I personally feel this number is low, at least for me anyway. It feels more like 10,000,000 casts, but when you catch one it is well worth the wait and effort.
The size minimum to keep Muskie was changed last year from 30” to 42”. I would like to say, and I feel the Muskie club has my back on this that releasing all fish is the right thing to do. But to me, as long as it’s legal you don’t need to hang your head.
Rob McComas is a licensed North Carolina fishing guide on Lake Lure and Lake Jocassee in S.C. He has been a guide for 11 years and fishing for more than 30.
McComas lives with his wife, Amanda, in Sunny View and runs Robs Guide Service. He can be reached at email@example.com.