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Tough call, but it’s pure muskie: Illinois’ tiger muskie mark stands

Terry Livingston Sr. with his muskie, determined by DNA testing to be a pure muskie and not the Illinois-record tiger muskie.
Credit: WLPO Facebook

As some experienced muskie followers guessed when DNA research dragged on, especially on the father, the muskie caught caught May 9 by Terry Livingston Sr. was determined to be a pure muskie and will not be the Illinois-record tiger muskie.

Click here for the details of Livingston’s catch.

So Illinois’ pure muskie record remains the one of 38 pounds, 8 ounces, caught by Matt Carmean below Lake Shelbyville  on April 20, 2002.

The tiger muskie record remains the one (31 pounds, 3 ounces) caught by Michael Behmetuik on Aug. 6, 2004 from Lake Will in Will County.

Here is the word on Livingston’s fish from fisheries chief Dan Stephenson, as forwarded by Illini Muskies Alliance’s Ray Thompson:

I just received word the from the geneticist that we had ID’ing the possible state record tiger muskie (see below).  It was a pure muskie not a tiger.  I hated to hear that.  It was  beautiful fish and looked like a tiger to me but again, that’s why we do the testing.  Rob Miller has been in contact with the angler to let him know.  He was understandably disappointed but still happy with the fish.  36 pounds 0.4 ounces is a very nice muskie in anybody’s book.  I can send the report if any are interested but it is pretty technical.
Good afternoon,
I hope this message finds you well. I apologize for the delayed response, but please find attached a report detailing our genetic results on the putative state record Tiger Muskellunge. The samples presented some technical difficulties, hence the delay in delivery of our results. However, we have completed our assessment. It is our determination that the putative record fish is in fact not a hybrid Tiger Muskellunge, but is indeed a pure Muskellunge. For technical details, please see the report. If you have any questions, comments, concerns, or need for further clarification, please do not hesitate to contact me at your earliest convenience.
Mark Davis
Mark A Davis PhD
Conservation Biologist
Coordinator: Collaborative Ecological Genetics Laboratory
Science Advisor: Upper Midwest and Great Lakes Landscape Conservation Cooperative
Illinois Natural History Survey
Prairie Research Institute
University of Illinois Urbana Champaign