Lake Champlain Muskie Catches Hint at Success of Restoration Program

Ryan Carpentier with the 14-pound, 38-inch muskie

Pictured above: Ryan Carpentier with the 14-pound, 38-inch muskie he caught and released in Missisquoi Bay on February 12. (Photo provided by Ryan Carpentier)

A series of recent muskellunge catches by anglers ice fishing on northern Lake Champlain have provided fisheries biologists from Vermont Fish & Wildlife with added confirmation that muskie stocking and restoration efforts in Missisquoi Bay and the Missisquoi River are proving successful.

In a rare occurrence, Vermont anglers Ryan Carpentier and Gage Honsinger both landed muskie through the ice in mid-February at two different locales on the northern end of the lake. Carpentier’s fish, caught and released in Missisquoi Bay, measured 38 inches in length and weighed 14.1 pounds. Honsinger’s muskie, which measured 35 inches in length, was caught and released in the Inland Sea area.

While large, adult muskie have been caught sporadically in northern Lake Champlain over the years, biologists say the two February catches likely indicate a direct link to the department’s recent muskie stocking efforts which began in 2008 and are part of the department’s long-term muskie restoration plan.

“Based on known age-at-length data, we estimate these two fish to be between six and eight years old,” said Shawn Good, fisheries biologist with Vermont Fish & Wildlife who has led the muskie restoration program. “Given the age…

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