RICHMOND, Va. (WJHL) – A partnership between wildlife agencies in Virginia and North Carolina has boosted the populations of what is referred to by many anglers as the “fish of a thousand casts.”

A release from the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) states that the agency has worked with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) for the last few years to stock muskellunge – more commonly referred to as “musky” – in both states.

The DWR reports that a small number of adult musky are provided to the NCWRC from the lower New River in Virginia. Those adults are then taken to a hatchery in North Carolina and “used to produce fingerling musky for stocking in North Carolina.”

As part of the partnership, the DWR receives its own large number of musky fingerlings for stocking in Virginia. According to the agency, all musky stocked in the Commonwealth in the last several years have come as a result of the state partnership.

In spring 2022, the DWR stated that it provided two adult females and one adult male to the NCWRC. In return, the DWR was given almost 27,000 fingerlings that were stocked into Virginia waterways.

The adults sent to North Carolina are not returned out of disease transfer concerns, and the DWR makes certain to collect the adults sent to the NCWRC from a different location each year.

“We are grateful to have this close relationship with our friends to the south of us as it greatly improves our ability to meet the needs of Virginia angler,” the DWR stated in the release.

According to the DWR, musky are the largest member of the pike family of fish and can be found in rivers throughout Southwest Virginia like the Clinch, South Fork Holston and Powell. However, their populations are low in each of those rivers and are only considered high in the New and James Rivers.

To learn more about fishing for musky in Virginia, visit the DWR’s website.