Dedicated to the pursuit of the Noble Muskellunge.
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The stockers are yearlings about 12 to 14 inches long, weighing less than a pound. They're hatchery-raised on baby rainbow trout, but once planted in the lakes, their diet will be primarily squawfish and suckers (Curlew appears to be the only lake where they eat significant numbers of trout, and even there this is seasonal, in winter and spring) -- and occasionally some metal and deer hair, or wood and plastic, we hope. After stocking, it takes another two years for them to grow large enough in the lakes to interest anglers, so the 25-incher you catch this summer very likely is one of last year's plants, and next year it will be about 32 to 34 inches. WDFW estimates about half of stocked tiger muskies (the only kind there is, as they don't reproduce) will die in the first year after stocking, and about one-third per year thereafter; so an initial plant of, say, 600 stockers produces about 100 catchable fish (i.e., fish in the 30s) two seasons later and about a dozen nice-sized fish (i.e., fish in the 40s) four and five years out. So the adult populations in all seven of Washington's tiger muskie lakes are relatively small, which is why it's so important for anglers to properly handle and release them. The typical lifespan of the survivors is about 8 years.