WV Wildlife: Musky Stocking

These young musky measure from 8 to 12 inches, which greatly improves their chance for survival after release. (WCHS/WVAH)

Musky are native to West Virginia.

They've always naturally been here and reproduce in some of our waterways.

That doesn't mean they are without limitations, though.

That's why WV DNR fisheries biologists are working hard--and making sure that these unique fish continue to thrive here.

(Jeff Hansbarger, fisheries biologist--WVDNR) "there's certain fish species that may need a little helping hand with making it through their life cycle, and muskies in particular. We raise muskies here at Palestine state fish hatchery. Feed them on minnows that are supplied by the trooper Eric workman foundation--a real nice donation. We spawn the fish in the spring, raise them here at the hatchery"

Good thing, because anglers love catching them! And why wouldn't they? Some of these fish can grow to 50 inches!

(Jeff Hansbarger, fisheries biologist--WV DNR) "muskies are very fast and strong fish"

Recently, the DNR has been tagging some of these little guys to stock them in lakes and reservoirs--a place where reproduction is usually the exception and not the rule. These tags will eventually help the DNR determine whether they are spawning in certain lakes or not.

At this size, even the predatory musky has to keep an eye out in the underwater world.

(Jeff Hansbarger, fisheries biologist--WVDNR) "you wouldn't think so, but with all of that activity of you stocking alerts the other fish that there's something going on and the bass come in and wear them out, so we raise these fingerlings that are stocked into the reservoirs through the fall. And they are a little bigger, they are able to escape the bass predation a little better. Most of these fish will go to Burnsville, Woodrums, and North Bend Lakes I believe"

These lake stockings appear to be paying off, too--in a big way!

(Jeff Hansbarger, fisheries biologist--WVDNR) "and actually through our stocking efforts--we have a Husky Musky citation program. We have the form available on our website--and over the years, it's gotten to where 50 percent of those are from stocked waters. If you're a West Virginia angler, i'd advise you to try to go after them. They're such a prize and such a trophy when you hold one--and a memory that someone will have from catching one of those for a lifetime"

With West Virginia wildlife, i'm Brandon Stover

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