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West Virginia Wildlife
Musky Implant
Patrick McMurtry Tracking The Movement Of Big Musky

June 27, 2012
Reporter: Patrick McMurtry
Videographer: Brad Rice


Musky are the kings of the water here in West Virginia, and boy are they hard to catch, but once you get one of these bad boys on your line, you'll know why people devote their lives to catching them. The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources has spent decades stocking rivers and lakes with musky, and the last few years they've been working on a study to help anglers know how the musky move at certain times of the year by using implanted sonar tags.

Scott Morrison, a biologist with the division, explains the study, "We have a musky movement study at North Bend Lake, it's a 300 acre lake in Ritchie County that has a really good musky population. We have six receivers throughout the lake and they will record a fish that has been implanted with one of our radio tags, and this is the radio tag."

And that radio tag has to be surgically implanted into the musky. The first step is to find the musky by using electric probes to harmlessly stun the fish so we can get them in the boat.

Now that the fish in in safe hands, it's time to put it in water with medicine in it which basically puts the fish to sleep so the surgery can be done. The whole procedure takes just a couple of minutes, a small incision is made, the tag implanted, and some stitches put in. Just like that it's done and the fish is released back into North Bend Lake. A simple procedure that provides big time results to the DNR and anglers..now biologists know where, and when, the fish will travel in this lake.

"Throughout the winter, most of the fish are in the lower third of the lake and sometime in the spring they move to the upper third of the lake, in the summer they move between the areas. I downloaded data from a receiver here 2 days ago and there was no fish in the area, but when I was here earlier, there were 3 fish in the area." says Morrison.

The DNR gets tons of data on the musky and it's all available to you so you know where to fish when the musky are moving.

LEARN MORE at the W. Va. DNR


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