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Q & A
Musky - Odd Behavior
Why do musky sometimes swim slowly with their head out of the water? I have seen this twice in the last 2 years.
We receive more descriptions of unusual behavior associated with muskellunge than most other fish. For most of us trying to catch a trophy muskellunge, the "odd" behavior is swimming toward a lure and turning away just as one's heart begins pounding in anticipation of an attack. From time to time, we do hear from anglers who have witnessed similar "head above water" actions like you describe.

There are a couple of theories about this action, including:  

  • Since muskellunge attack prey from the side and then swallow them head-first, the musky might bet taking one last gulp associated with consumption of a large meal.
  • Musky like to be well acquainted with their surroundings and are surfacing to get a "better look around."

Muskellunge have also been seem "basking" and occasionally "porpoising" with their backs out of the water. This is suspected to be associated with getting to warmer surface water, perhaps to increase metabolism and aid digestion of a large meal (reptiles seek warmth for similar reasons).

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