Trout Stocking Still Continues During Pandemic
On Monday, March 30, W.Va. Governor Jim Justice announced the closure of all State Park Campgrounds, as well as the Blackwater Falls and Coopers Rock Overlooks. The goal, he said, is to limit the amount of non-residents crossing state lines and entering the state on unnecessary terms.
With the government mandating closures of all nonessential businesses, residents are being asked to stay at home and socially distance themselves from others. Students are home from school for an extended period of time, meanwhile, the weather is quickly becoming more inviting. Individuals are searching for outdoor activities that can be done as a family, while still maintaining the necessary social distancing.
On March 27, the Governor announced fishing licenses, trout stamps, and conservation stamps are not needed for state residents to fish state regulated waters. This waiver is set to continue until Friday, April 24. However, it is essential that those taking advantage of the free fishing month maintain the safe social distance and carry proof of state residency.
Typically, the cost to obtain a fishing license, trout stamp, and conservation stamp would be around $35 per person.
There are many lakes and streams in the area that are stocked with trout for the public to enjoy. Conaway Run in Tyler County is one example. Conaway is located in Alma, and has a boat ramp for easy access to the water. However, there are still plenty of areas to fish from the bank. According to the DNR fish stocking schedule, Conaway Run is stocked with trout during the winter season once a month from February to May.
Tracy Lake in Ritchie County is also stocked with trout once in January and once in March, according to the DNR stocking schedule. However, Tracy Lake has more to offer than trout, as it boasts a large bass population.
Pennsboro W.S. Reservoir, also located in Ritchie County, is another option in the area. According to the DNR stocking schedule, this lake is also stocked once in January and once in March. Reportedly, there is a trail surrounding the lake providing easy fishing access from the bank, as well.
In Wood County, Mountwood Park is available for those searching for a lake to fish. The lake at Mountwood is stocked once each month from January through April, according to the DNR Stocking Schedule. There are areas of easy bank access, as well as a boat ramp.
There are several streams in the area that are stocked with trout as well, including the tailwaters of Northbend Lake in Ritchie County, and the North and South Fork of Fishing Creek in Wetzel County.
For those willing to travel a few hours, there are many streams in Randolph and Pendleton County that will cure the cabin fever without violating government regulations. The DNR website, wvdnr.org, is a tool that can be utilized to find the next stream or lake to be explored by you and your family.
Although the stock reports are not available each evening as they were previously, the stocking schedule is full of information on how many times each stream is stocked during certain months.
As the saying goes, “Give a man a fish and you’ll feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you’ll feed him for a lifetime.” This is a perfect teaching opportunity for kids who are no longer operating on their usual school schedule.
Some could say the beauty deep within the crisis is that we are all being forced to slow down, to spend time with our families, and to enjoy the fresh air and the outdoors.