The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is reporting that a 25-year-old fish has been found living in West Okoboji Lake.
Jonathan Meerbeek, a DNR fisheries research biologist, says the male muskie was marked with a freeze brand and stocked in the Iowa Great Lakes in 1993. It was caught during the gill netting season last week. “I think 21 was the oldest fish we captured in the past,” Meerbeek said. “So, this one beats it by a few years. This is probably one of the oldest fish of known age that has been recaptured, in terms of muskies, so it’s a pretty unique fish.”
The last time this particular fish was caught by the DNR was in 2006. According to Meerbeek, after age four, muskies have an annual mortality rate of around 25-percent.
“That’s not from angling mortality, per se…fish die, everything dies at some point. Muskies get old or they get sick. This one just happened to avoid all of those potential harms over time and made it to a fairly substantial age, considering most fish,” Meerbeek said.
The 25-year-old muskie was documented and released back into the lake. The 17.5 pound fish was 41.6 inches in length.