By Louie Stout
Indiana’s muskie program continues to grow and show improvement.
DNR fish managers netted adults from Lake Webster in early April as part of the state’s annual egg-gathering program.
And once again, it went extremely well.
Biologists were able to meet their eggs goal from 136 muskies they collected in 2½ days. They shipped 356,000 eggs to the East Fork Fish Hatchery where they will be nurtured into stockable sizes.
That’s not the only good news. District Biologist Tyler Delauder said the fish in Webster are growing and the population looks good.
In 2016 through 2019, all muskies stocked at Webster had a tiny “pit” tag inserted into their backs near the fin. Biologists also are tagging those adult fish lacking tags they catch during the spring egg-taking project. All of those adults are released back into the lake.
“We do it to follow the genetics of the fish to see how many times we are using the same fish for egg taking,” said Delauder.
Although the tags aren’t visible with the human eye, tag info is revealed with a hand-held scanner. It shows details of when the fish was stocked and other pertinent info.
Those tag readers are now being used by some of the clubs and muskie guides on the lake. The scanners are sold on Amazon for $40.
“When they catch a fish and scan its back and find a tag, they call me with the number and I can tell them the history of the fish,” said the biologist.
Delauder said a big part of the current population comprises of fish stocked in 2016 and they are growing well. Females add about 2 inches a year while males are typically slower, especially after they hit 30 inches.