Anglers who drop their lines in lakes around the Valley could be bringing home some pretty big fish stories.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources says nine reservoirs, including Lake Milton and Pymatuning Lake, have been stocked with muskellunge, a popular game fish that can grow to immense sizes.

Muskies are native to Ohio and top aquatic predators and the fisheries are maintained through fish hatchery efforts.

Staff from Ohio’s London and Kincaid state fish hatcheries stock approximately 20,000 muskies measuring 8-12 inches every fall.

“Historically, muskies were abundant in the bays and tributaries of Lake Erie and in many streams in the Ohio River drainage,” said Rich Zweifel, the Division of Wildlife’s Inland Fisheries Program Administrator. “Today, natural reproduction is rare because of habitat constraints in Ohio reservoirs. Stocking muskies in the fall contribute to higher survival because they can be stocked at larger sizes and in cooler water.”

Adult muskies are long and slender with a large, duck-bill-shaped mouth and needle-sharp teeth. They can reach up to 50 inches long and weigh as much as 40 pounds. The state record muskie weighed 55.13 pounds and measured 50¼ inches when it was caught at Piedmont Lake in 1972.

In addition to Lake Milton and Pymatuning, Ohio lakes where muskies are stocked include Alum Creek Lake in Delaware County, Caesar Creek Lake in Clinton, Greene, and Warren counties, Clear Fork Reservoir in Morrow and Richland counties, East Fork Lake in Clermont County, Leesville Lake in Carroll County, Piedmont Lake in Belmont and Harrison counties, Salt Fork Reservoir in Guernsey County, and West Branch Reservoir in Portage County.

 Sometimes confused with northern pike, muskies have dark spots or wavy lines on their sides on a light background. Northern Pike are the opposite with lighter colored spots on a dark background.

 Successful anglers are encouraged to report their catches through the Division of Wildlife Muskie Angler Log, found at wildohio.gov. This effort supports muskie management efforts in Ohio by providing valuable muskie catch information to the Division of Wildlife.