To help solve the mystery of the muskellunge — an elusive fish that can reach more than 65 pounds — researchers are now listening for 18 Lake St. Clair muskies with surgically implanted transmitters.
More than 32 anglers with the Belle River Chapter of Muskies Canada Inc. fished all day recently to catch the 18. The muskies were held in tanks on the boats so the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forests on shore in Belle River could surgically implant a AA battery-size transmitter in each fish’s stomach and then release the muskies back in the lake.
Now researchers in Canada and the United States can track the movement of those muskies along with 39 others tagged last year using underwater receivers of the Great Lakes Acoustic Telemetry Observation System. The receivers across the Great Lakes pick up a ping from any fish with a transmitter.
Brian Denomme, who lives outside Grand Bend but travels to Belle River most weekends to fish for muskies, was eager to help protect what’s been called a world-class muskellunge fishery on Lake St. Clair.
“They’re a special fish,” said Denomme, a director with the Belle River Chapter of Muskies Canada Inc. “They are a freshwater shark. They’re the top of the food chain. We’re fortunate to have them.”