Utah wildlife officials release 28,000 tiger muskies into reservoir to keep other species in check

(Morgan Jacobsen | Utah Division of Wildlife Resources file photo) Tiger muskie are among the fish DWR biologists have released into Scofield Reservoir. Biologists hope the fast-growing muskie will help control Utah chubs that have taken over much for the reservoir.

Ogden • Wildlife officials have released into a northern Utah reservoir thousands of tiger muskie fish, a hybrid predator that’s popular with anglers and helps keep other species in check.

The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources released 28,000 of the fish at Pineview Reservoir on May 2, the Standard Examiner in Ogden reported. They were distributed throughout the reservoir in habitat near shore, where they should thrive.

Less than 10% of the fish will make it to adulthood, said assistant aquatic program manager Cody Edwards. The fish are released when they’re 2 inches long, but can grow well over 30 inches in length.

They’re released at 2 inches because tiger muskies also start to eat each other at that size.

“You put 100 fish in one location and they eat each other. That’s why it’s very tricky to raise tiger muskies,” Edwards said. “You start to lose fish very fast at 2 inches, which is why we generally stock at 2 inches.”

A non-native a cross between a northern pike and muskellunge, tiger muskies have been stocked there since at least 1990s. The cross can occur in the wild, but tiger muskies are usually raised at the DWR hatcheries.

They’re a sterile fish introduced as a top-level predator to keep other the populations of other species in check and to prevent big booms and busts in the ecosystem.

This year’s stock of muskies in one of the largest released at the reservoir in recent years, Edwards said.

Kim Wagner, president of the Northern Utah chapter of Muskies Inc., said the biggest one she’s caught was 49 inches long.

“All other fish are just bait,” Wagner said. “Tiger muskies ... that’s the apex of all the fish you can find inland.”