The Official Website of the State of West Virginia

WV's weirdest-looking fish plays hide-and-seek with researchers


When dinosaurs roamed the earth, paddlefish were there, too.

They’re still around today, cruising the Ohio and Kanawha rivers, feeding on plankton and rarely revealing their presence to humans.

Their secretive nature is creating a problem for researchers trying to find them and study them. Katie Zipfel, a biologist with the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, said capturing the reclusive fish for an ongoing research project has been a hit-or-miss proposition.

“They’re very difficult to find in the rivers’ main stems,” Zipfel added. “You might set a net in one place and catch one or two, but you can set that same net 100 yards upstream or downstream and get nothing.”