Modern terms such as Muskie or Musky are derived from the word Muskellunge. Scientific name is Esox Masquinongy. The word Muskellunge is actually a modern word derived from the French term Masgue Alongé, which is a French trapper's mispronunciation of the Ojibwe word Maashkinoozhe. Maashkinoozhe means Ugly Pike in the Ojibwe language.
There is only one species of Muskie. There is a hybrid called a Tiger Muskie, which is a cross between a Muskie and a Northern Pike, but it's not a true species because it did not evolve. Muskie exhibit different patterns and colors on their skin. This is caused by many factors but genetics, water depth and water acidity are the three main factors.
There are 5 distinct patterns, which are known as Clear, Silver, Barred, Spotted Leopard and Spotted Black Panther. Spotted Black Panther is rare pattern.
|Clear Muskie: The clear pattern is the most common pattern and found just about everywhere Muskie can be found.|
|Silver Muskie: The silver pattern is usually found at the most northern range of the Muskie in lakes that are cold and deep. The Muskie's skin turns silver from going deep to feed on Lake Trout and Whitefish. Silver Muskie is a deep water clear pattern.|
|Barred Muskie: The barred pattern can be found in many lakes but is most common in big rivers or bays and lakes that have big rivers running in or out. The French River, Moon River, Ottawa River and the St. Lawrence River are best known for Barred Muskie.|
|Leopard Muskie: The Leopard pattern is most common in Lake St. Clair and the bigger lakes in Northwestern Ontario such as Eagle Lake, Cannon Lake, Wabigoon Lake and Dinorwic Lake.|
|Black Panther Muskie: The Black Panther pattern is the rarest of all Muskie patterns and even though this variation is found in multiple lakes, Lake St. Clair seems to produce the most.|
|Tiger Musky: The Tiger Musky is a cross between a Muskellunge and a Northern Pike. Tiger Musky can exhibit many variations of patterns but the most recognized is the mix or barred and the chain-link Pike pattern, which produces a dramatic tiger-stripe pattern.|