Originally posted by: ChrisV on 3/12/2007 6:37:32 PM
Fisheries managers capture
â€˜albinoâ€™ musky during population survey
ONEIDA COUNTY -- For years, anglers have told wild tales of strange white muskellunge seen while fishing on some of the deeper lakes in the area. These ghostly fish reportedly grow to gigantic proportions and are much more elusive than a regular fish.
Few are seen and none are caught -- until now.
This spring, Department of Natural Resources fisheries crew caught a white musky in their fyke nets during population surveys. The muskyâ€™s skin was very white but had a slight greenish tint and was 32.7 inches long and 7.9 pounds, reports John Kubisiak, DNR fish biologist for Oneida County.
â€œThe catch has been generating quite a buzz,â€ Kubisiak says.
John Lyons, a longtime DNR fisheries researcher who is updating the Fishes of Wisconsin, the seminal fisheries reference work by the late George Becker, considers the Oneida County fish an albino, although he notes that the musky has a small amount of pigment in the eyes and around the head.
â€œIâ€™m not sure thereâ€™s an â€˜officialâ€™ definition of an albino fish,â€ Lyons says. â€œIn nature there can be a continuum of levels of pigmentation, and Iâ€™ve seen specimens of some species that are intermediate in pigmentation between normal and â€œfullyâ€ albino with pink eyes.â€
Lyons says the Oneida County musky is â€œpretty closeâ€ to the fully albino end of the spectrum. â€œIâ€™ve never seen nor heard of an albino musky, so itâ€™s an unusual fish to say the least! But albinism is a rare but normal occurrence and is seen fairly regularly in white-tailed deer and squirrels.â€
DNR crews, after measuring and weighing the fish and made a fin clip for future identification, released the musky. So the ghost fish will continue to haunt Oneida County waters and musky hunters, and the legend to grow.
There is a photo of this fish on the WI DNR website.