Tiger muskies are a fairly rare but extremely popular game fish. This elusive predator is even harder to catch than the true musky, so if you hook one, you can consider yourself both very lucky and a skilled angler.
Tiger muskies are related to two of America’s biggest freshwater predators: the true musky and the northern pike. So, how big do tiger muskies get?
While the average size of a tiger musky is between 25 and 35 inches and 5 and 10 pounds, this amazing predator can reach a maximum size of about 50 inches and 50 pounds. Most fish will, however, only get to 20 to 30 pounds.
If you want to learn more about the tiger musky’s size, growth rate, and age, all you have to do is keep reading!
What Is the Maximum Size of Tiger Muskies?
The tiger muskie (Esox masquinongy × lucius or Esox lucius × masquinongy) is the sterile, hybrid offspring of a muskie and a northern pike.
While it can occur naturally, most lakes and rivers have been stocked with tiger musky populations, as this fish species is both fast-growing and a tough fighter on the rod, making it a sought-after game fish.
Tiger muskies can reach a maximum length of about 45 to 50 inches and a maximum weight of 40 to 50 lbs, although most big tiger muskies max out at around 40 to 45 inches and 20 to 30 pounds.
Fish of 50 or more inches and 45 or even 50 lbs can be considered extremely rare.
What Is the Average Size of Tiger Muskies?
Of course, most caught tiger muskies are well below those maximum lengths and weights!
On average, a tiger muskie will measure between 25 and 35 inches and weigh between 5 and 10 lbs.
This is a very hard-to-catch fish species we’re talking about here, and many anglers can consider themselves lucky even to have caught a tiger muskellunge during their lifetime!
That’s how difficult it can be to catch them in some waters.
So, if you’ve caught even one average-sized tiger musky, you should be very proud of yourself!
What Is the Biggest Tiger Musky Ever Caught?
So how big is the world record for tiger musky, then? Well, for this species, it’s an absolute giant!
The biggest tiger musky ever caught is a fish of 51lb 3oz that angler John Knobla caught on Lac Vieux-Desert in Michigan in 1919.
Yes, this world record is over 100 years old, which tells us just how rare tiger muskies of such caliber are!
It’s rare to even see fish over 40 lbs, let alone monster tiger muskies close to the 50-pound mark.
It’ll be interesting to see if this ancient record ever gets broken.
The longest tiger musky ever caught (apart from the current world record) is a massive specimen of 52 inches caught somewhere in Vilas County in Wisconsin back in 2014.
This isn’t an official record catch, but it’s, by far, the longest tiger musky I’ve seen on the internet. If true, this fish was a mere 0.5 inches shorter than the official world record fish.
You can judge for yourself! Here’s a video of the catch:
How Big Is a Trophy Tiger Muskie?
This is a very interesting and much-debated topic. How big is a trophy-size tiger musky?
Some anglers argue that a trophy tiger starts at 45 inches and 30 pounds, but honestly, that’s not a very realistic or fair size in most waters!
First of all, many waters that do hold tiger muskies don’t have fish of 30 or more pounds in them. But even for waters that do hold monster tiger muskies, a 30+ pounder would be a relatively rare catch for most anglers.
Most giant tigers get caught in the northern parts of the US. A trophy of such caliber isn’t easy to achieve if you’re living further south! If it’s even possible.
So, while a trophy tiger musky might weigh 30 or more pounds in Minnesota, Wisconsin, or Michigan, it might only have to weigh 20 pounds in many other US states.
I think it’s fair and essential to make that geographical distinction!
Are Tiger Muskies Bigger Than Regular Muskies?
Tiger and common muskies are closely related, as tiger muskies are a crossing between musky and northern pike. But what species is the bigger one?
Well, the mighty muskellunge is the bigger fish of the two by a significant margin!
While tiger muskies can reach a maximum size of about 50 inches and 50 pounds, true muskies can measure as much as 70 inches and weigh up to 70 lbs!
Muskies also win the average size category, as their average size is between 30 and 40 inches and a whopping 10 to 20 lbs.
That’s far bigger than the average size of tiger muskies, about 25 to 35 inches and 5 to 10 lbs.
DID YOU KNOW: True muskies are often more thickly built than tiger muskies, which further explains the difference in size.
Are Tiger Muskies Bigger Than Northern Pike?
Regarding tiger musky vs. northern pike, the size difference isn’t as significant as that between musky and tiger musky, but even here, the tiger loses.
The northern pike can reach a maximum length of about 60 inches and a maximum weight of about 60 lbs.
Interestingly, though, tiger muskies generally have a larger average size than pike!
While the average size of northern pike is between 20 and 30 inches and 4 to 8 pounds, the tiger musky has an average size of 25 to 35 inches and 5 to 10 lbs.
How Fast Do Tiger Muskies Grow?
Despite being smaller than both of their parent species, tiger muskies have an exceptionally fast growth rate, especially during their first years.
Studies have shown that tiger muskies can grow up to 1.5 times faster than common muskies if the conditions are right.
On average, tiger muskies can reach a length of 8 to 12 inches during their first year, 15 to 20 inches at the age of two years, and an incredible 25 to 30 inches after their third year.
After these three initial years, though, their growth rate slows down to only a few inches per year.
The concept of heterosis, or hybrid vigor, can explain the tiger musky’s fast growth. The traits of the hybrid offspring are enhanced due to the genetic mix of the two parent species.
Additionally, tiger muskies are sterile, so they can’t produce new generations of fish. As such, they’ll have to grow fast and get strong to survive as long as possible.
How Old Do Tiger Muskies Get?
Due to their fast growth, tiger muskies have a relatively short lifespan compared to other predatory fish species.
The average tiger muskie has a life expectancy of 8 to 12 years, and most fish reach a maximum age of around 15 years.
Although relatively rare, some fish can reportedly get as old as 20 years.
Essential Gear Tips
If you’re looking for solid and reliable musky fishing equipment, these tips might be useful for you.
The following tackle is of top quality and sells at a very reasonable price on Amazon:
A versatile and beautifully made medium-heavy 8 to 9′ baitcasting rod that’s perfect for big predators. Has an awesome balance, action, and sensitivity. An excellent musky rod with a dream-like performance!
An affordable, high-performance baitcasting reel with amazing precision. Casts super smoothly and will last you forever! Makes for the perfect muskie combo together with the St. Croix Mojo rod.
One of the best braids available today. Zero stretch, great feel, and immense strength make this line the perfect pick for muskies in both open and snaggy waters. Put on a 65 or 80lb test, and you’re good to go!