CHARLESTON — Gov. Jim Justice announced last week that the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources will implement an improved stocking method in trout stockings around the state.
DNR is stocking the same number of trout in the same number of locations, but there’s one key difference. Rather than dumping the fish in at one point, DNR staff and contractors are now spreading them out over longer sections of stream.
“This is how our streams should be stocked, and this is how I want them stocked,” Justice said in a press release. “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,” DNR Director Stephen McDaniel said. “We are committed to giving anglers the best that West Virginia can offer.”
DNR is partnering with the West Virginia Association of Rehabilitation Facilities to have more people go along on stocking runs. The company has offices throughout West Virginia, and has helped DNR previously with a variety of maintenance work.
Jim Hedrick, DNR hatchery program manager, said DNR stocks approximately one million trout a year. That means stopping and releasing fish about 15,000 times in more than 200 streams and lakes around the state.
Hedrick says one of the big things that brings anglers to West Virginia is a continuous open season. That means 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.
“With the governor’s plan, we now have one of the best stocking programs in the nation,” Hedrick 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 age 15-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. Additionally, all fishermen must follow West Virginia’s fishing regulations, which can be found online at wvdnr.gov.