This is a family of small (generally 4-8 inches long and less than one pound in weight), round-shaped fish in shades of yellow and dark blues. Sometimes called sunnies they are easy to catch using worms for other small live baits, flies, spinners, or poppers. This is a panfish with white, flaky flesh.
The official state fish of Minnesota is medium-sized (average length is 15 inches and weighs it at more than a pound), is olive to dark gray in color with gold-flecked sides, and named after its perlescent eye, which helps it see and feed at night or in murky water. Long-lived (29 years in some waters) it is prized for its thick, white fillets.
With a mouth like a duck's bill, the muskie is a member of the pike family, its name coming from the Ojibwe maashkinoozhe or "ugly pike." At 2-4 feet in length, and weights of up to 66 lbs., it is an aggressive hunter known to hide in weed beds and lunge at its prey (fish, ducklings, frogs, muskrats, snakes, small mammals), stunning or killing its victim before gulping down its meal head first. It is challenging to catch and more so to land, as it will fight the hook by headshaking during impressive acrobatic displays. With its white and flaky flesh it makes excellent eating, but most muskies are released by anglers.
A (true) Fishy Tale
A Minnesota indexer tells the story of an angler who took up the sport of muskie fishing. Old hands at the sport estimate that an average of 10,000 casts are needed to catch a single muskie. Upon catching his first muskie after only a few casts, the angler quit and gave up the sport, figuring it would be years before he'd catch a second one!