West Virginia changes trout-stocking procedures

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WTAP) - The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources has made changes to how trout are stocked in state rivers and streams, Gov. Jim Justice's office said in a news release on Wednesday.

The DNR will stock the same number of trout in the same number of locations, but instead of dumping the fish in at one point, employees and contractors will be spreading them out over longer sections of streams.

“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,” DNR Director Stephen McDaniel said. “We are committed to giving anglers the best that West Virginia can offer.”

The 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 the DNR with maintenance work in the past.

Jim Hedrick, the DNR's hatchery-program manager, said the state stocks about 1 million trout a year in more than 200 streams and lakes.

Hedrick said 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 or older are required to have a West Virginia fishing license and a valid form of identification while fishing. The license can be purchased at approximately 180 retail agents across the state or online at wvfish.com.

All anglers must also follow state fishing regulations, which can be found online at wvdnr.gov.