Outdoors: Justice announces improved trout stocking

Photo Provided A contractor stocks trout in a stream in West Virginia. The Division of Natural Resources has implemented an improved stocking method under the direction of Gov. Jim Justice.

CHARLESTON — Beginning the week of April 15, the state of West Virginia has implemented an improved stocking method, the Division of Natural Resources said.

The division is stocking the same number of trout in the same number of locations, but the key difference is rather than dumping the fish in at one point, staff and contractors are spreading them out over longer sections of stream.

“This is how our streams should be stocked, and this is how I want them stocked,” Gov. Jim 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,” division Director Stephen McDaniel said. “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 company has offices throughout West Virginia, and has helped the division previously with a variety of maintenance work.

Jim Hedrick, hatchery program manager, said that the division stocks approximately 1 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 here.

“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 anglers must follow West Virginia’s fishing regulations, which can be found online at wvdnr.gov.