Musky America Magazine

Case Study: Lake Rebecca in western Hennepin County provides an example of how the unseasonably warm March threw a wrench into things. Rebacca is a brood stock lake that serves as the source of eggs for muskies to be hatched and stocked statewide. (The fish are originally from Leech Lake, and muskies directly from Leech are stocked into Rebecca every four years.) Muskies usually begin spawning when shallow waters reach 54 degrees, so the DNR closely watches the temperature and sets nets when the temp hits 53. Since 1988, the earliest that ever had happened was April 12. This year, it happened Tuesday, April 3. Not wanting to miss their opportunity, BJ Bauer, a fisheries specialist for the DNR's west metro area, set out nets the next day, even though the length of daylight was nowhere near what it typically would be for spawning. The nets caught plenty of males, including a 45-inch stallion that has proved to be geyser of semen. But as of Tuesday, April 10, only six females had been netted, and only three of them have yielded eggs, Bauer said. "We've still got a long way to go," Bauer said Tuesday. The DNR's goal is to reap at least 800,000 eggs; they're at about 100,000. Strangely, some of the females appeared to have released their eggs - a phenomenon egg collectors also are seeing in northern pike and walleye throughout the state.