Catch actually a northern pike
Chris Larson of Little Rock caught a giant northern pike, not a muskellunge.
Larson was Sunday’s “Sportsman of the Week” thanks to a whopping big fish he caught recently at Lake Superior that we misidentified as a muskie. A good number of people, all North Woods transplants, politely but firmly, informed us of the error.
It was actually a northern pike. Muskies have a similar body structure, but they have stripes, not spots.
The mistake was mine, not Larson’s. He’s from Wisconsin and knows the difference. He released the fish alive.
Most Arkies probably don’t remember that we once had a trophy tiger muskellunge fishery in the Spring River that existed until maybe the early 2000s.
The tiger muskie is a cross between a muskellunge and northern pike. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission stocked them at Mammoth Spring to control an overpopulation of carp. As often happens, a 50-year flood washed tiger muskies into the Spring River proper where they thrived on a high-protein diet of rainbow trout.
Randy Wyatt caught the state’s biggest tiger muskie from the Spring River in 1995, weighing in at 23 pounds, 12 ounces. A specimen caught in 1997 weighed 22 pounds.
I am pretty sure I encountered a tiger muskie in my first trip to the Spring River in 1993. I was fishing below the horseshoe fall rapid near the old public access with an ultralight spinning rig and a Bomber Ultralight A in lemon lime color. I got a tremendous strike that destroyed the lure. I reeled in the lip and the split ring, and the fish kept the rest.
While researching a story about the Spring River’s tiger muskies I wrote for Arkansas Wildlife magazine in 1997, I heard about an alleged altercation between a former trout biologist and a fisheries technician that occurred over tiger muskies.
They were electrofishing the Spring River at night when they shocked up a big tiger muskie. The trout biologist is said to have killed it with a whack across the head with a boat paddle.
The tech, who was from Wisconsin and who had greater affection for muskies and pike, was incensed. Fisticuffs are said to have ensued.
Both politely refused to talk about it, but the tech was reassigned to a different part of the state shortly after it happened.
The tiger muskies are all gone now, and the walleye has reclaimed its place as the Spring River’s apex predator.
For what it’s worth, our state record northern pike weighed 16 pounds, 1 ounce. Dick Cooley caught it in 1973 at DeGray Lake, about one year after the lake was created.
Brothers Zach Meyers and Nick Meyers of Heber Springs dominated the 32nd annual National Rifle Association National Youth Hunter Education Challenge on July 23-28 at the NRA’s Whittington Center at Raton, N.M.
Zach Meyers, 18, won the overall senior title, and Nick Meyers, 15, won the overall junior title by outpointing competitors from across the country.
Zach Meyers placed first in the archery, muzzleloader, compass and orienteering, and wildlife identification events. He scored a perfect 300 in wildlife identification for the first time in YHEC history. He also finished second in .22 Rifle and third in the Hunter Responsibility Exam.
Nick Meyers placed first in archery, wildlife identification and muzzleloader, scoring a perfect 300 in the latter. He also placed third in the shotgun competition.
In addition, Hunter Stover of Benton County placed third in the Junior Division’s .22 rifle competition.
C.J. Brock of Faulkner County placed third in the Junior Division Compass and Orienteering competition.
W.T. Moore of Izard County took second place in the Senior Division archery competition.
DEER PERMITS DRAWN
The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has awarded this year’s permits to hunt white-tailed deer on certain wildlife management areas. Email notifications were distributed last Thursday to inform applicants of their status.
The Game and Fish Commission advises applicants to check for notifications in their spam filters.
Successful applicants can claim their permits by visiting https://ar-web.s3licensing. com/, choosing “WMA Applications” and clicking the “WMA Permits” tab. Select your permit and finish by clicking “Complete Purchase.”
Although the final command indicates a purchase, there is no charge because applicants were required to pay $5 up front. In the past, successful applicants paid a $10 fee when they claimed their permits.