The DNR is asking Lake Vermilion muskie anglers to collect scales from the fish they catch. These samples will help biologists estimate the number of adult muskies in the lake and provide a better understanding of muskie movement and behavior.

Anglers can pick up collection envelopes and submit scale samples at the following locations:

  • DNR Tower area office, 650 Highway 169, Tower
  • Everett Bay Lodge, 1820 Everett Bay Road, Tower
  • Glenwood Lodge, 5266 Mud Creek Road, Tower
  • Muskego Point Resort, 8147 Bayview Road, Cook
  • Retreat Lodge, 2320 Retreat Lodge Road, Cook
  • Spring Bay Resort, 3045 Vermilion Drive, Cook
  • Vermilion Dam Lodge, 3276 Randa Road, Orr

The DNR advises that the collection process is quick and easy and — when performed properly — doesn't harm the fish.

  1. Have a small, sharp knife and a collection envelope handy.
  2. Have a fishing partner help hold the muskie securely in the landing net or on a measuring board while you collect scales. If fishing alone, place the fish on a measuring board while collecting scales. Try to minimize the time the fish is out of the water.
  3. With the tip of the knife, scrape a small area of the fish in the direction of the scales, moving from head to tail, collecting about 4 to 6 scales. Do not scrape against the “grain” of scales.
  4. With scales on the knife blade, place the tip of your knife into the open scale envelope and wipe off the blade against the inside of the envelope. There should be some “dirty” tissue at the base of each scale. This is the critical tissue that carries the DNA. Do not clean the excess slime or water from the scales.
  5. Close the envelope and enter all the required information requested in pencil. Also write your phone number and email address on the envelope.
  6. Clean the knife prior to collecting scales from a different fish and only place scales from one fish in a single envelope. Never remove the scales from the envelopes and do not leave samples in direct sunlight.
  7. Return envelopes to designated locations at the end of the day or within one week. If returning after more than a week, let the scales air dry inside the envelope. Do not store in sealed containers or plastic bags unless they are thoroughly dried.
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