|Mike Boyer with fish that has no spots|
|Troy Bechtel's fish has a different pattern on its tail compared to body|
In the lower photo Troy Bechtel holds a fish that has two distinctly different patterns, small spots on its head and sides and large chains on its tail.
Before I go any further, let's note the most certain way to determine if a fish is a northern pike or a musky. Count the pores on the underside of its jaw. Northern pike have five. Musky have more than five, from six to nine.
So the next time you are wondering if that unusual fish is a musky, turn it over and count the jaw pores.
Muskies have several skin patterns, as do northern pike, including "clear" versions for both. So really, the pore count is critical.
Troy's fish is bizarre. I've never seen a fish that had two patterns at once.
We sent Troy's photo first to Red Lake Ministry of Natural Resources and Forests biologist Jenn Neilson who forwarded it to pike-musky expert John Casselman.