Food availability influences angling vulnerability in muskellunge

John F. Bieber, Scott A. MacDougall-Shackleton, Cory D. Suski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Reduced food availability increases the capture of several fish species, although the mechanisms responsible for how food resources result in increased capture are undefined. Our objective was to quantify the mechanism by which food availability might influence the angling vulnerability of muskellunge (Esox masquinongy). We assessed capture rates in the field under different food levels, quantified the behaviors of muskellunge that were either fed or food deprived, and determined if appetite-related hormones leptin and ghrelin affected fish behavior. Catch rates of fasted muskellunge were more than twice as high as those of fed muskellunge. However, food deprivation and hormonal treatments did not influence laboratory behavior, which suggested that catch rates of food-deprived muskellunge increased because fish were more receptive to lures. Furthermore, an ecosystem approach should be used to consider forage as a component of management goals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere12657
JournalFisheries Management and Ecology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2024


  • angling vulnerability
  • behavior
  • conservation
  • ecosystem stressor
  • management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology


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