Thursday, February 2nd, 2023
Thursday, February 2nd, 2023

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Leesville again tops Ohio muskie lakes

By Greg Keefer

Contributing Writer

Columbus—There were 213 “Huskie Muskies” caught in 2006 as
designated by the Ohio Huskie Muskie Club.

Leesville Lake was again the top producer for the total number
of muskies caught in one body of water with a total of 635. One of
these fish measured over 50 inches.

According to OHMC records, muskie anglers in Ohio caught 1,264
fish measuring at least 30 inches and 418 that were less than 30
inches. All total, 1,895 fish were recorded by the club, showing an
overall increase of 311 muskies over the previous year. Of these
boated fish, eight measured at least 50 inches.

Next in line behind Leesville for total numbers of muskies
caught were Alum Creek Lake with 314, Lake Milton with 239 fish and
Piedmont Lake with 199 fish. Clear Fork Reservoir followed with 187

Patrick Andino, a muskie angler from Minerva in northeast Ohio,
picked up his biggest fish of the year at Pymatuning. But, even
though that 37-incher gobbled up his offering last May, there’s
another lake where Andino had better luck.

“For me, the best muskie fishing was at (Lake) Milton,” he said.
“On one occasion, my friend and I caught four fish by 11:30

Lakes with good concentrations of Huskie Muskies included
Leesville, Clear Fork, and Salt Fork. These three lakes accounted
for more than 75 percent of the 30-inch- plus fish and for half of
the 50-inch fish.

Other lakes in Ohio where muskies are stocked by the DNR
Division of Wildlife are Cowan Lake and Pleasant Hill, Caesar
Creek, Salt Fork, and West Branch reservoirs.

Of the 50-inch muskies caught in 2006, Lake Milton, Pymatuning
Reservoir, and Leesville each yielded one, Piedmont Lake anglers
caught two, and Salt Fork Lake produced three.

Muskies grow fast in Ohio. Shad is the primary forage base,
which allows muskies to exceed the 50-inch mark, according to DNR
Division of Wildlife fisheries biologist Elmer Heyob Jr.
Occasionally, these fish will top 40 pounds. According to a DNR
study at Alum Creek, 5-year-old muskies ranged from 41 to 48
inches, reflecting good growth rates and a lot of smiles on the
faces of the muskie fishermen.

Don Weaver, past president of the OHMC, finished off 2006 with a
Huskie Muskie himself. Leesville is his favorite muskie lake and
he’s caught the majority of his 723 muskies there.

“I hope to top 750 muskies in 2007,” said Weaver, who last year
retired from his post.

The success of the DNR muskie program is the result of two
factors, according to Heyob. The first is the DNR’s commitment to
creating excellent muskie fisheries. Since 1994, more than 350,000
muskies have been stocked around Ohio.

The second reason is the overriding catch-and-release ethic that
anglers have adopted. According to the OHMC statistics, 98 percent
of the muskies caught are released back into the water.

The Ohio Huskie Muskie Club was formed by the DNR Division of
Wildlife in 1961 to better assess the state’s fledgling muskie
fishery. Scale samples are submitted by anglers who catch muskies,
which helps biologists determine growth rates and stocking success.
Awards are given out to anglers who catch muskies in various

Catching a muskie of any size in Ohio waters qualifies an angler
for membership in the OHMC. An “honorable mention” fish has to be
30 inches long. A “Huskie Muskie” needs to be 42 inches or longer.
Anglers catching and releasing at least 10 muskies will receive an
honorable mention release plaque.

The state record set by Joe Lykins in 1972 still stands. Lykins
caught a muskie measuring 50 1/2 inches and topping 55 pounds in
Piedmont Lake.

The DNR is interested in scale samples collected from muskies of
any size. Application forms can be obtained from most bait shops
and marinas on muskie lakes, or by contacting the DNR Division of
Wildlife, 1500 Dublin Road, Columbus, OH 43215.

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