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‘River Therapy’

Fishing provides option to stay active during pandemic

The Inter-Mountain photo by Anthony Gaynor Anglers enjoy the sunny weather while trying to catch the big one along the Shavers Fork River near Bowden on Tuesday. Fishing is free in the Mountain State until May 31.

ELKINS — For those looking to enjoy the outdoors and maintain social distancing, the local area has several wonderful fishing opportunities.

West Virginia Division of Natural Resources Hatchery Program Manager Jim Hedrick said this region is a very popular fishing destination.

“It it is a combination of things,” he said Tuesday. “Randolph County has lots of National Forest for recreation, it is a huge county. This is a unique opportunity we have.”

Hedrick said the DNR stocks many of the local waters regularly and there are fishing opportunities for all levels of skill.

He said the Shaver’s Fork River is a “gem.” He said the river’s close proximity to campgrounds and other recreation activities make it an excellent spot for fishing.

The Inter-Mountain photo by Joe Blankenship Charlie Marstiller of Beverly caught his limit of trout before 7:30 a.m. Monday in Bowden, saying, ‘What a way to celebrate my 60th birthday, all golden.’

“We do special trout stocking on the Shavers Fork (River),” he said. “We use a railcar to stock from about Bowden to the town of Spruce, about 40 miles.”

He said the remote stocking works well for anglers who want to have a true outdoor adventure. He said the location of the stock is only accessible on foot.

“It is a great wilderness experience that you can’t get in every county or event state,” he said.

Hedrick said for beginners and youth the local water impoundments, like Spruce Knob Lake, are perfect. He said most of the impoundments have easy access and the water is usually easier for fishing because of the lack of debris in the water.

“All the impoundment’s in the county are great places for kids to fish,” he said. “They are a great place to learn how to fish.”

Hedrick noted that, during the current coronavirus pandemic, fishing is the perfect hobby to stay active and maintain social distance.

“Fishing is one of those things you can do while social distancing,” he said. “Randolph County is a big county, you can find a spot with no one else fishing.”

The pandemic is actually a good time for people to get out and try angling. Gov. Jim Justice has waived the requirement of possessing a fishing license to fish in state-regulated water until May 31. Anglers are encouraged to practice safe social distancing measures while at the water.

According to a press release from the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, trout stockings will continue as set forth in the 2020 fishing regulations. The Monongahela National Forest features more than 120 stocked trout streams.

With these regular stockings, thousands of golden rainbow trout are being stocked in streams and rivers throughout West Virginia. Anglers are encouraged to watch out for specially tagged golden trout.

The tagged golden trout is part of this year’s Gold Rush.

For the third year, the WVDNR has plans to stock more than 50,000 of West Virginia’s own golden trout.

Anglers lucky enough to catch one of the 150 golden trout marked with a numbered tag can enter to win one of five grand prizes.

More information about the Gold Rush event is available online at commerce.wv.gov/goldrush.

For more information on West Virginia fishing regulations and licensing information, visit www.wvdnr.gov.

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