Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks have released tiger muskellunge in Gartside Reservoir. According to Mike Backes, Region 7 fisheries technician, “This release is an experimental stocking to reduce stunted panfish numbers, that may result in an increase in average panfish size. A second goal is to provide a trophy fish opportunity for local anglers. The average sized tiger muskellunge will be 8 inches in length when stocked. We expect to release 750 juvenile tiger muskellunge.”
Anglers need to recognize the difference between Northern Pike and Tiger Muskellunge. Both species are present in the reservoir and are similar in appearance, size and behavior. Harvest regulations are different for each species so anglers need to understand the identification differences in the fish and the harvest regulations.
Identification information will be posted around the reservoir, which illustrates the differences between the two species. The regulations allow for the harvest of 10 Northern Pike per day and 10 in possession. The statewide Tiger Muskellunge regulation allows for 1 per day and 1 in possession that must be over 40 inches in length. Anglers that are unsure of which species they have caught, should release the fish back into the reservoir. The release of tiger muskellunge is basically a catch and release angler opportunity given the 40 inch length regulation.