VOLCANO - Hundreds of anglers are expected this winter at Mountwood Lake, the only body of water in Wood County stocked regularly with trout, according to the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources.
"The road leading down to the lake is usually covered with cars," said Carla Knapp, director of Mountwood Park. "The fishermen are usually out there all day; they are pretty dedicated. Mountwood Lake is one of the only lakes around here that has a steady supply of trout."
Ice fishing typically brings 30 to 40 people a day to Mountwood Lake, with peak months in February and March. The DNR stocks the lake monthly with trout, from January to April, said Knapp.
Provided by WV Division of Natural Resources
Anglers are out in full force this winter at Mountwood Lake, the only body of water in Wood County stocked monthly with trout.
"Ice fishing is very popular around here," said fish biologist Scott Morrison with District Six of the DNR. "When the lakes are frozen, it's really the only way to get trout."
Out of 25 lakes and streams stocked regularly in the state, District Six of the DNR is responsible for eight bodies of water in 10 counties, including Mountwood Lake in Wood County, Rollins Lake and Turkey Run Lake in Jackson County and Pennsboro Water Supply Lake and Tracey Lake in Ritchie County. Other bodies of water to be stocked at a later date are Conaway Run Lake in Tyler County, Cedar Creek Lake in Gilmer County and Miletree Lake in Roane County.
With heavy snow and bitter cold temperatures recently, there have been delays in getting the lakes stocked on time, said Morrison.
"When the weather is bad, especially in the areas where the trout hatcheries are located, it can be difficult for the different districts to stock on time," said Morrison. "If the ponds at the hatcheries are frozen over or the roads are dangerous, that can cause some delays."
Last week, Mountwood Lake was stocked for the first time this winter. The DNR stocks the lake monthly, but usually twice in March.
"Mountwood Lake is very popular because it's open to the public and it's the only one in Wood County that we stock," he said.
Officials use a formula to determine how many pounds of trout to dump in bodies of water. The size of the lake, anticipated fishing pressure and the suitability of the water for trout are taken into account.
"Mountwood Park is a 48-acre lake, and it gets the highest rating possible for anticipated fishing pressure," said Morrison. "But since it is a warm-water lake, it's not as suitable for trout as colder bodies of water."
Morrison said anglers should use caution when ice fishing.
"Four inches is the minimum thickness of ice that would be considered safe to walk on," he said. "But the caveat is, there really isn't any ice that is 100 percent safe. Just because it is four inches in one spot doesn't mean the whole lake is four inches."
For a daily update on trout stockings, visit http://www.wvdnr.gov/Fishing/stocking/DailyStock.shtm.