Esox lucius x E. masquinongy
Esox lucius x E. masquinongy
(tiger muskellunge)
Native Hybrid
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Esox lucius x E. masquinongy

Common name: tiger muskellunge

Synonyms and Other Names: tiger musky

Identification: See the account for Esox lucius in Page and Burr (1991); characteristics and photographs of this hybrid were given in Crossman and Buss (1965) and in Buss and Miller (1967).

Size: 16.1 kg

Native Range: A natural and artificial hybrid. Hybridization occurs in nature where the two species' ranges overlap, in the northeastern and western Great Lakes regions (Lee et al. 1980 et seq.).

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Interactive maps: Point Distribution Maps

Nonindigenous Occurrences: This hybrid has been bred artificially and stocked by state fish and game agencies for sport fishing in Spring River and Lake Ashaugh in Arkansas (A. Carter, personal communication); the Arkansas drainage and the North Platte River in the Denver, Colorado area (Walker 1993; Horak, personal communication); areas in the northern half of Delaware (Raasch and Altemus 1991; Martin, personal communication); several drainages in Idaho (Idaho Fish and Game 1990; American Fisheries Society, Idaho Chapter 2001; Anonymous 2004); Summerset, Argyle, Braidwood, Clinton, Forbes, Glenn Shoals, Heidecke, Springfield, and Wolf lakes, Illinois (International Game Fish Association 1994; Illinois Department of Natural Resources 1997a, 1997b, 1997c); Ohio River, Indiana (Indiana Department of Natural Resources 1997a, 1997b); many areas in Iowa (Harlan et al. 1987); Kansas (B. Hartman, personal communication); Ohio River, Kentucky (Indiana Department of Natural Resources 1997a); Potomac River upstream of the Plummers Island area, and two lakes in the Youghiogheny system in Maryland (DeLorme Mapping 1993a; Starnes et al. 2011); ponds statewide in Massachusetts (Hartel 1992); Lake Rolard and Lac Vieux Desert, Michigan (International Game Fish Association 1994; Michigan Department of Natural Resources 1997); Leech Lake, Minnesota (International Game Fish Association 1994); Pony Express Lake, Missouri (Pflieger 1975); the eastern half of the Yellowstone drainage, the Little Missouri River drainage, and the Missouri drainage east of the Continental Divide in Montana (Holton 1990); Elwood Reservoir, Nebraska (Bouc 1987; Nebraska Parks and Game Commission); the Tioughnioga River, Catskill Creek, Horseshoe Pond, and the St. Lawrence River, New York (International Game Fish Association 1994; Whittier et al. 2000); North Dakota (North Dakota Game and Fish Department 1994, 1997); the Susquehanna River, and numerous other localities in Pennsylvania (International Game Fish Association 1994; Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission 1997); South Dakota (Hanten, personal communication; North Dakota Game and Fish Department 1994); Lake Bastrop, Alcoa Lake, and Nocona Reservoir, Texas (Luebke 1978; Texas Parks and Wildlife Department 2001); Pineview Reservoir, Utah (DeLorme Mapping 1993b); the New, Powell (Jenkins and Burkhead 1994), and Potomac rivers (DeLorme Mapping 1993a), Virginia; Washington (Fletcher, personal communication); the Potomac River, West Virginia (DeLorme Mapping 1993a); numerous lakes in Wisconsin (Becker 1983; International Game Fish Association 1994), and Grayrocks Reservoir, Wyoming (DeLorme Mapping 1992b; Wyoming Game and Fish, Fish Division 1997).

Means of Introduction: Intentionally stocked for sport fishing in most locations. In some areas the hybrid occurs "naturally" after stocking northern pike in native muskellunge waters (Becker 1983). Although the male tiger muskellunge are sterile, females are often fertile and are capable of backcrossing (Becker 1983). Hartel et al. (1996) suggested individuals collected in Massachusetts were a result of stock contamination.

Status: Maintained by stocking in most cases. In some areas, such as many lakes in Wisconsin, the population is maintained by natural hybridization when northern pike are stocked in native muskellunge waters (Becker 1983). Hartel et al. (1996) report only one or two individuals collected in Massachusetts.

Impact of Introduction: This hybrid probably affects smaller fish species through predation. It also is capable of backcrossing. Male tiger muskellunge are always sterile, but females are often fertile (Becker 1983).

Remarks: Tiger muskellunge have not been stocked in Oklahoma (Pigg, personal communication) or Tennessee (T. Churchill, personal communication). Koenig et al. (2015) examined the ability of stocked Tiger Muskellunge to reduce or eradicate Brook Trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) populations in high alpine lakes in Idaho, finding >90% reduction in brook trout catch per unit effort in tiger muskellunge-stocked lakes with 0-1 inlets or outlets.

References: (click for full references)

Anonymous. 1994b. Fishes of the Dakotas. Brochure. American Fisheries Society Dakota Chapter, and North Dakota Game and Fish Department.

Becker, G.C. 1983. Fishes of Wisconsin. University of Madison Press Madison, WI.

Bouc, K. 1987. The fish book. Nebraskaland Magazine 65(1):1-130.

Buss, K., and J. Miller. 1967. Interspecific hybridization of esocids: hatching success, pattern development, and fertility of some F1 hybrids. Technical Papers of the Bureau of Sport Fisheries and Wildlife 14:1-30.

Carter, A. - Fisheries Division, Arkansas Game and Fish Comission, Little Rock, AR. Response to NBS-G nonindigenous questionaire. 1992.

Crossman, E. J., and K. Buss. 1965. Hybridization in the family Esocidae. Journal of the Fisheries Research Board of Canada 22(5):1261-1292.

Fletcher, D. - Warmwater Fisheries Resource Manager, Washington Department of Wildlife, Olympia, WA. Response to NBS-G nonindigenous questionaire and other reports. 1992.

Hanten, R.L. - Department. of Game, Fish, and Parks, Pierre, SD. Response to NBS-G nonindigenous questionaire.

Harlan, J. R., E. B. Speaker, and J. Mayhew. 1987. Iowa fish and fishing. Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Des Moines, IA. 323 pp.

Hartel, K. E. 1992. Non-native fishes known from Massachusetts freshwaters. Occasional Reports of the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University, Fish Department, Cambridge, MA. 2. September. pp. 1-9.

Hartman, B. - Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, Pratt, KS.

Holton, G. D. 1990. A field guide to Montana fishes. Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, Helena, MT. 104 pp.

Horak, D. - Colorado Division of Wildlife, Fort Collins, CO. 1995.

Idaho Fish and Game. 1990. Fisheries Management Plan 1991-1995. Appendix I: A list of Idaho fishes and their distribution by drainage. Idaho Fish and Game.

International Game Fish Association. 1994. World record game fishes. International Game Fish Association, Pompano Beach, FL.

Jenkins, R. E., and N. M. Burkhead. 1994. Freshwater fishes of Virginia. American Fisheries Society, Bethesda, MD.

Koenig, M.K., K.A. Meyer, J.R. Kozfkay, J.M. DuPont, and E.B. Schriever. 2015. Evaluating the ability of Tiger Muskellunge to eradicate Brook Trout in Idaho alpine lakes. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 35(4):659-670.

Lee, D. S., C. R. Gilbert, C. H. Hocutt, R. E. Jenkins, D. E. McAllister, and J. R. Stauffer, Jr. 1980 et seq. Atlas of North American freshwater fishes. North Carolina State Museum of Natural History, Raleigh, NC.

Luebke, R. W. 1978. Evaluation of a multi-predator introduction. Federal Aid Project F-31-R-4.

Martin, C. Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation. Dover, DE. Response to NBS-G mailing on non-indigenous species. 1992.

Pflieger, W. L. 1975. The fishes of Missouri. Missouri Department of Conservation, Jefferson City, MO.

Page, L. M., and B. M. Burr. 1991. A field guide to freshwater fishes of North America north of Mexico. The Peterson Field Guide Series, volume 42. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, MA.

Raasch, M. S., and V. L. Altemus, Sr. 1991. Delaware's freshwater and brackish water fishes - a popular account. Delaware State College for the Study of Del-Mar-Va Habitats and the Society of Natural History of Delaware. 166 pp. 

Starnes, W.C., J. Odenkirk, and M.J. Ashton. 2011. Update and analysis of fish occurrences in the lower Potomac River drainage in the vicinity of Plummers Island, Maryland—Contribution XXXI to the natural history of Plummers Island, Maryland. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 124(4):280-309.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. 2001. Fish Records: Water Body - All Tackle. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. April 24, 2001

Walker, P. - Colorado Division of Wildlife, Brush, CO.

Whittier, T. R., D. B. Halliwell and R. A. Daniels. 2000. Distributions of lake fishes in the Northeast - II. The Minnows (Cyprinidae). Northeastern Naturalist. 7(2): 3- 131-156.

Author: Pam Fuller, and Matt Neilson

Revision Date: 9/30/2015

Peer Review Date: 4/1/2016

Citation Information:
Pam Fuller, and Matt Neilson, 2018, Esox lucius x E. masquinongy: U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL,, Revision Date: 9/30/2015, Peer Review Date: 4/1/2016, Access Date: 3/24/2018

This information is preliminary or provisional and is subject to revision. It is being provided to meet the need for timely best science. The information has not received final approval by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and is provided on the condition that neither the USGS nor the U.S. Government shall be held liable for any damages resulting from the authorized or unauthorized use of the information.

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Citation information: U.S. Geological Survey. [2018]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [3/24/2018].

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