Chenango River Boat Electrofishing (2008)
Survey Number: 708028
Survey Dates: September 12, 2008
This sampling effort was conducted in order to try and document the presence of wild, pure-strain muskellunge in the river. Large musky and/or tiger musky have been captured in this portion of the river for years, but no juveniles have been captured. Previously it was believed that these large fish were tiger musky which had either washed out of Whitney Point Reservoir or moved up out of the Susquehanna River. However, examination of over 150 "musky" photos caught from the Susquehanna and lower Chenango Rivers by one angler revealed that almost all of the fish appeared to be pure musky while only six had the classic tiger musky appearance. These photos, along with the experiences of Regional Fisheries staff, led us to believe that a self-sustaining population of muskellunge had become established in portions of both these rivers. Despite numerous sampling efforts in the Chenango and Susquehanna Rivers, no young-of-year muskellunge had ever been captured to substantiate this hypothesis.
This sampling effort resulted in the capture of one young-of-year muskellunge and the observation of a second. These two fish are the first definitive documentation of naturally reproduced muskellunge in the Chenango River. Interestingly enough, young-of-year muskellunge were also captured in a similar sampling effort on the Susquehanna River this year, indicating that environmental conditions may have been conducive for good production/survival of young in 2008.