Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks has released 400 tiger muskellunge that range from 12 – 14 inches 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.”
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 has been posted around the reservoir, which illustrates the differences between the two species. Fishing 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. Fisherman cannot keep a Tiger Muskellunge unless it is 40 inches or longer. Anglers that are unsure of which species they have caught should release the fish back into the reservoir.