The Ohio Muskie Angler Log
Jul 15th, 2008 by OutdoorsFIRST
Modified Jul 15th, 2008 at 12:00 AM
A new opportunity is available to Ohio muskie anglers to record and manage information about their muskie fishing trips and catches. It is known as the Muskie Angler Log or MAL for short, a secure online fishing database designed by Ohio Division of Wildlife, in partnership with Ohio muskie anglers. The MAL is a user friendly tool to allow anglers to conveniently add, search and edit information about their trip and catch information, find information on muskie fishing in Ohio, share muskie photos, see current catch totals from across the state, and more… The MAL was designed and tested with the input of volunteers solicited from Ohio’s muskie clubs to ensure it would be a useful resource for muskie anglers. In turn, the MAL provides valuable muskie catch data to Ohio Division of Wildlife fisheries managers to maximize muskie fishing opportunities. The MAL also makes it easier for muskie club officers to view and download important catch data entered by their members.
The MAL replaces the successful muskie scale submission program initiated in the early 1960’s by the Ohio Division of Wildlife, which saw over 47,000 scale samples (catch records) submitted during this period. This program, like the MAL, provided the core information needed to track the success of muskie stockings: how many, where, date which fish were caught, fish length, weight and if kept or released. The scale program required 4 to 6 scales be included in the entry envelope so that fish managers could establish muskie growth and track stocking success. Ohio muskies grow fast, so age determination by scales is more reliable there than fish from northern zones. However, with over 40 years of growth data biologist determined that scale samples were no longer necessary, so this requirement for catch submissions has been replaced by the Muskie Angler Log. The MAL will provide the same core information needed to manage the fishery, but the key to success is still angler participation.
The voluntary submission of catch records by muskie anglers and organized muskie clubs is the most practical way to track the “health” of Ohio’s muskie population and success of its stocking program. With Ohio muskies making up a very small percentage of fish in these lakes, it is impractical to obtain statistically sound population estimates with netting and electrofishing surveys, even in the best muskie lakes. Therefore, in addition to catch data, the MAL will provide Ohio fisheries managers with “effort” information as long as anglers are willing to record their trips when no fish are caught. This may allow biologist to determine the amount of fishing hours it takes to land a muskie on average in a given lake. Casting hours being a 1/1 ratio and trolling hours will determined by the number of rods an angler is trolling with.
Muskie anglers that provide state fishery biologists with catch data are essentially helping fisheries managers shorten the anglers’ time between strikes. It is important to report small fish that are hooked and released also to help identify stocking success. These “short fish” records allow biologists and hatchery personnel to quickly determine the success and survival of individual stockings from one year rather than waiting until the fish grow larger. This helps ensure that culture methods and stocking practices are effective, plus allows them to adjust fish culture and stocking practices to ensure the best Ohio muskie fishing possible.
We hope the Muskie Angler Log becomes a popular tool for muskie anglers and encourage all Ohio muskie anglers to check it out and register on the MAL (www.ohiodnr.com/muskielog). Rest assured, other members of the MAL are not allowed to access your information. We do not offer or sell information to third parties. The only people who will see your information are the members of Ohio Division of Wildlife who manage the database and download catch data for analysis. Officers of the Ohio Huskie Muskie Club and Muskies, Inc. will also be granted access to view and download information from the database, but only for their members. Note that out-of-state anglers can register their Ohio muskies also. We highly encourage anglers to enter their fish on-line, but entry cards will be available at the boat ramps of all Ohio “Muskie Program” lakes for anglers who do not have access to the internet or prefer not to use the computer.