New trout stocking program beginning

This spring, trout anglers should start getting prepared for what appears to be a new stocking idea. The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources plan to stock lakes and streams in and near some of the best state parks on Fridays and Saturdays.

Now these are not additional or extra trout stockings. They are trout stockings that certain waters would receive in the first place. The real change is that the DNR plans to let the public know in advance just when these stockings will occur. This program is to attract more visitors to the state parks for the weekends.

This will help families to make plans when they are looking for weekend activities. It would also create additional fishing opportunities for working people and those who attend school during the weekdays. A total of 104 such stockings are going to be a part of this year’s program in selected parks.

The DNR tried a similar experiment last year. According to officials, it went over quite well, and they have decided to expand the program for this year.

Nine of these scheduled stockings will fall under the WVDNR’s new (Gold Rush) program, in which all of the fish stocked will be golden rainbow trout. The Gold Rush stocking will take place during the first week of April. The park stockings will begin in early March and are scheduled to continue through mid-May.

Not only the waters within the parks will be stocked, but selected streams within 10 miles of certain parks will also be stocked. The first of these stockings was scheduled for March 2 at Coopers Rock State Forest. Both Sandy Creek and Coopers Rock Lake received trout.

In this area, the forest and parks stocking dates are as follows:

Audra State Park: Middle Fork River — March 9, April 6, May 4.

Blackwater Falls State Park: Pendleton Lake-March 10, April 2, along with Blackwater River — March 9 and 23, April 6, and 20, May 4 and 18.

Canaan Valery State Park: Glady Fork-March 16, April 23, May 11.

Holly River State Park: Laurel Fork-March 9 and 23, April 6 and 20, May 4 and 18.

Seneca State Forest: Seneca Lake-March 10 and 24, April 23, May 4 and 19.

Stonewall Jackson State Park: Stonewall Jackson Dam Tailwaters-March 9 and 23, April 6 and 20, May 4 and 18. Tygart Lake State Park: Tygart Dam Tailwaters-March 9 and May 4.

Watoga State Park: Watoga Lake-March 10 and 24, April 2 and 21, May 5 and 19.

Some of the trout scheduled for stocking will be trophy-sized “brood trout” but most will be 10-12 inches in length. Anglers need to be fully aware that is unlawful to catch, take, kill, or attempt to catch, take, or kill fish by any means within 200 feet of DNR personnel while they are engaged in the stocking of fish in public waters.

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On Monday and Tuesday, the WVDNR will conduct their annual regulations meetings in 12 locations throughout the state.

On Monday, the meetings will be held in Fairmont, Lewisburg, Martinsburg, Milton, Spencer and Weston. The Tuesday meetings will be held in Beckley, Elkins, Glen Dale, Logan, Moorefield and Parkersburg.

The one for Elkins will be held at the DNR Operations Center on Ward Road from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday. I have attended this meeting since 1973.

Last year was possibly the smallest turnout I have ever seen at the Elkins DNR regulations meeting. I would like to see a much bigger crowd this year. These meetings are for the benefit of all sportsmen and women.

There will be a questionnaire to fill out in an effort to solicit comments concerning the 2018-2019 big game hunting regulations, along with the 2019-2020 hunting and trapping regulations and the 2019 fishing regulations.

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I need to correct an error that was made in my Feb. 10 column about “Timbering in State Parks.” I reported that there has been no timbering in any of the state forests in 80 years with the exception of Kanawha State Forest. That statement was incorrect. There has been timbering in several of the state forests: Calvin Price, Coopers Rock, Kumbrabow and Seneca. There has not been any timbering in Kanawha State Forest.

I want my readers to know that I am still in favor of the legislation that will permit timbering in state parks and seeing this revenue being used for park improvements and maintenance.

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