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What makes them different?

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I would like to know what all of you think makes Muskies and Northerns different?

I say Northerns are cold water fish and Muskies are warm water fish.

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Different sub species completely, kind of like comparing anything.....things may look similiar in shape but totally different in coloration or patterns. Tiger Musky is the Leechlake Essox line paired with a Northern Pike. In this case there may be more similarities, but water temp has nothing to do with it, however it has been thought that Muskie preffer warmer water, both will live in either.

Northen pike is Esox lucius

Muskie is Esox Esox masquinongy

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As stated they are different species.

There are obvious visible differences in coloration. There are less obvious differences in body structure, though they are extremely similar in that regard.

There are other differences that take more than just a picture to observe.

People often say muskies are bigger. This is partially true, in that your average musky is bigger than your average pike. HOWEVER, this is mostly due to differences in GROWTH RATES, not adult size limit imposed by genetics.

adult size: Wikipedia reports a number of pike over 50lbs and some in excess of 55 inches. Very old (and unverifiable) claims of ~90lb pike netted in Ireland well over 100 years ago also exist. When left alone by people, many fish species will live to incredible ages and often grow throughout life, so I would not call a 90lb pike impossible. Very rarely do we see muskies caught that exceed the size of the enormous northern pike that have been caught around the world (though I believe the IGFA world record musky is bigger than the IGFA world record pike, I'd have to look it up for sure).

growth rate: I recall reading about farm-raising gamefish and growth rates a few months ago. One of the farms posted data gathered on growth rates of their various fish, and it looked like it takes a musky about 10 years to reach trophy size (48-50''). I also remember looking at pike growth rates and it seemed that muskies grew about twice as fast (weight-wise) as pike for the first five or so years of life.

They also differ greatly in behavior, but the subject of musky behavior is what this entire forum is about.

Here's my short take on differences of musky behavior and pike behavior:

1) pike are more opportunistic.. they're more willing to strike and ask questions later

2) muskies KNOW they're the top of the food chain and don't spook anywhere near as easily as any other game fish.. splashes and nearby boats scare away bass and pike regularly, but a musky is much more tolerant of such things

3) muskies inhabit warmer water in a lake through much of the year than pike, but are still a cold-water fish.

4) muskies are plain lazy

I hope that helps

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Thank you mainbutter.

First I would like to say; Northerns spawn at ice out. Muskies spawn In Late May early June. After Bass! So I would say Muskies are definitely a warm water fish and a Northern Pike is a cold water fish.

Being a warm water fish Muskies have a higher metabolism thus grow faster. As far a a fear factor, I catch a lot of northen Pike with only 15 feet of line out almost in the prop wash of the motor. Not much fear there. Plus with the way the eyes are located on Esox I am sure they have no idea how big they are or what they even look like. There is no way they can see thereself!

Behavior is what I'm looking for and what types of waters they prefer. With the paragraph above it would look as though Muskies would be better suited for states like Ohio or Kentucky for example. You don't even hear of Northens from that area.

So are there any differances that really set the two apart. Other then one grows faster then the other?

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Muskies are treated much differently both in regulation and in angler attitude. It was only a couple years ago you could hook or spear 3 pike of any size every day.

I think more anglers are looking for some quality pike angling lakes. Unfortunately pike are treated like a garbage fish buy many the reality is its a nuisance pest of our own making.

People think a 5# pike is huge while a 25# Muskie is average.

I would rather catch a 25# Pike than a 50+ inch Muskie, unfortunately the opportunity to make that a reality is Canadian or 2-3 lakes in MN.

Thats the differences I see.

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I would rather catch a 25# Pike than a 50+ inch Muskie, unfortunately the opportunity to make that a reality is Canadian or 2-3 lakes in MN.

You need to get out more.

You may not find Large Pike where everyone else fishes, but there is plenty of opportunity in Minnesota if you choose to fish better.

I really wish the MnDNR would net the lakes that winterkill (leaving many 15+ lb northern pike floating) and re-stock those larger northern pike in other lakes where they could do much more good than the current plan of liberalized fishing or leaving them to die would do.

There are many of us out there that are very interested in helping out in those cases but the MnDNR turns a blind eye to those who have suggested it.

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I agree with MuskieFool -

The only difference I care about is that I can go catch a 40"+ muskie any day after work here in the metro.

It's much easier to find and catch a 40"+ muskie than it is to catch a 40" plus pike in MN.

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I sit here before this can of worms debating on whether to open it or not. On one hand, the irony just begs a response. On the other, I'm not the bitter one, it's summertime and I actually have work to do today and fish to catch tonight.

Not today, I guess. Maybe next time. Thanks for keeping us all honest, Merk.

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