Cooperative Research Units
Education, Research And Technical Assistance For Managing Our Natural Resources
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Determining the efficacy of genetic broodstock management of muskellunge in Wisconsin

Muskie in Fyke Net


January 2012 - June 2014


In Wisconsin, muskellunge Esox masquinongy have been propagated for over 70 years as part of a comprehensive management plan to provide angling opportunities and develop trophy fisheries. However, more recently concerns exist regarding the genetic integrity and long-term viability of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ (WDNR) propagation program. To address these concerns, starting in 2005, the WDNR muskellunge propagation program underwent a series of strategic modifications aimed at protecting the contemporary genetic integrity of populations and ensuring the long-term sustainability of muskellunge. Following implementation a critical evaluation to determine how successful these new genetic broodstock guidelines have been at maintaining genetic diversity and effective population size (Ne) of stocked muskellunge is critical. Additionally, from a conservation genetics standpoint, it is critical to identify at what life stages, if any, bottlenecks in genetic diversity are occurring.

Research Products and Activities


  • Woiak, Z. 2014. Determining the efficacy of Wisconsin's muskellunge genetic broodstock managment plan. M.S. Thesis. Univeristy of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. 100 p.


  • Woiak, Z., B.L. Sloss, J.A. VanDeHey, and M.J. Jennings. February 2013. Genetic diversity of hatchery-reared muskellunge: impacts of propagation practices. Wisconsin Chapter of the American Fisheries Society Annual Meeting. Rothschild, Wisconsin.

Current Staff

Federal Staff: 95

Masters Students: 238

Phd Students: 144

Post Docs: 54

University Staff: 239

5 Year Summary

Students graduated: 673

Scientific Publications: 1905

Presentations: 4235



  • Brian SlossPrincipal Investigator
  • Justin VanDeHeyCo-Principal Investigator
  • Zeb WoiakStudent

Funding Agencies

  • Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources


Cooperative Research Units Program Headquarters Cooperators

  1. U.S. Geological Survey