Governor Jim Justice has announced that the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources has implemented a new trout-stocking method designed to enhance fishing.
Rather than dumping the trout at single locations on a stream, division staff and contractors will now spread the fish over longer sections of stream, the governor said.
“This is how our streams should be stocked, and this is how I want them stocked,” Justice said.
“It’s going to be a better fishing experience, and it’s going to help bring anglers to West Virginia from all over the place.”
“We heard the governor’s directive loud and clear,” said Stephen McDaniel, director of the division.
“We are committed to giving anglers the best that West Virginia can offer.”
The division is partnering with the West Virginia Association of Rehabilitation Facilities to have more people go along on stocking runs.
The association has offices throughout West Virginia, and has helped division previously with maintenance work.
Jim Hedrick, the division's hatchery program manager, said his agency stocks approximately one million trout annually, stopping and releasing fish about 15,000 times in more than 200 lakes and streams around the state.
Hedrick says one of the big things that brings anglers to West Virginia is a continuous open season: when out-of-state anglers can’t fish in their home states, they can come to the Mountain State to satisfy their love of the sport.
In addition, they can land some prize catches here, Hedrick said.
“With the governor’s plan, we now have one of the best stocking programs in the nation,” he said. “We stock bigger fish than anybody.”
To catch trout in West Virginia, anglers must have a fishing license with a current trout stamp.
All anglers 15 years old and older are required to have a West Virginia fishing license and a valid form of identification while fishing.
A West Virginia fishing license can be purchased at approximately 180 retail agents around the state or online at wvfish.com.