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West Virginia Wildlife
Patrick McMurtry West Virginia's Top Predator Fish

April 11, 2012
Reporter: Patrick McMurtry
Videographer: Brad Rice


Musky are the toughest fish to catch in West Virginia, but when you get one on your line, you'll never forget the feeling. Heck, just getting one in a net is pretty cool.

This is North Bend Lake and we're trying to drum up some large Musky as part of a DNR research project.

Scott Morrisson/DNR Biologist says:
"We've actually collected brood stock from streams for over 30 years. Recently we've done some life history on the Elk River and Middle Island Creek and we're finding some fish are being taken 50 miles from where they were first captured."

Biologists have actually uncovered some pretty interesting information about the state's top game fish. For one, and this is unusual in the animal kingdom, females rule!

Scott Morrisson/DNR Biologist says:
"Males grow a lot slower than females. It's rare that you get a male that's over 40 inches, but it's not uncommon at all for females to get over 40 inches. As far as I know, in WV, it's the only fish that has a significant difference in the growth of males and females."

It's a big ol' fish. This river right here is chock full of them, we got one after trolling for about 45 minutes, so a sign of good times, maybe.

And it was. In a few hours we landed six massive musky. It turns out, this is when the fish are spawning which explains why we were able to find them in pairs. This is also an area that is relatively contained making it the ideal spot to monitor things.

Scott Morrisson/DNR Biologist says:
"We're using this lake as our brood stock collecting lake and that's one reason on North Bend has a 40" limit. We have found that older fish are not in their prime and they don't produce good eggs like fish in their prime. Fish that are 4-7 years old, we have a size limit of 40" where we think this fish will be in their prime and we want to protect the fish."

In the meantime, there are plenty of musky in these waters, and from what we saw today, there are plenty of them bigger than 40" all over these waters. For West Virginia Wildlife, I'm Patrick McMurtry, Eyewitness News.

LEARN MORE at the W. Va. DNR


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