PIPESTEM — Gov. Jim Justice announced earlier this month that 6,000 additional pounds of trophy-sized trout will be released during West Virginia’s fall stocking season.
According to a news release from the governor’s office, the announcement included a ceremonial release of the first fish at Pipestem Resort State Park, which is celebrating nearly $12 million in park improvements.
“In a time when socially-distanced activities are a must, I’m thrilled to bring West Virginians more than double our normal amount of trophy trout to our beautiful lakes, rivers, and streams,” Justice said. “This is going to bring so much joy to West Virginians, and I encourage everyone to get outside this fall and catch one of these trophy-sized fish.
“Today, we’re doing a ceremonial stocking to kick things off. Then, on October 24, the DNR will stock additional trout in a bunch of lakes at our state parks and forests all across our state.”
The announcement comes as the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (WVDNR) began stocking 50,000 trout in 39 lakes and streams around the state last week. The fall stocking season will last two weeks and these new trout, which come from the White Sulphur Springs National Fish Hatchery, will be mixed in with trout raised in state hatcheries.
According to the news release, the White Sulphur Springs National Fish Hatchery usually provides 4,000 pounds of trout, but will be sending an additional 15,000 pounds this year at the request of Gov. Justice due to a change in hatchery operations, which resulted in a larger number of surplus brood fish available for stocking. These trout weigh between four and seven pounds.
“The addition of these trophy-sized trout to our fall stocking season is just one of the ways we can continue providing world-class fishing opportunities here in West Virginia,” WVDNR Director Stephen McDaniel said.
Earlier this month, Gov. Justice announced that, at his direction, the WVDNR is implementing additional improvements to its fall trout stocking method. Anglers will have more opportunities than ever to enjoy West Virginia fishing trips this year, with the addition of two lakes to the stocking schedule, and with trout being stocked in state parks and forests so families and children have more opportunities to get outside and fish for trout.
McDaniel also discussed Gov. Justice’s progress in renovating the state’s fish hatcheries.
“We have nine hatcheries in West Virginia. When the Governor walked in the door, there were millions of dollars of deferred maintenance,” Director McDaniel said. “But, as of today, we have committed over $15 million so far in hatchery renovations; part of an overall hatchery renovation program that will exceed $30 million when we’re done.
“When we got here, we could do about 750,000 to 800,000 pounds of trout per year, but that wasn’t good enough for the Governor,” Director McDaniel continued. “He said we needed to do something, we’ve got to have more fish. So, when we’re done with that $30 million in renovations, we’ll be up to about 1.25 million pounds of fish that we’ll be able to put in West Virginia’s waters each year.”
Also during last week’s event, the Governor spotlighted millions of dollars worth of upgrades to Pipestem Resort State Park.
Under the Justice Administration, Pipestem has welcomed nearly $12 million in infrastructure, lodging, and recreation improvement projects, according to the news release. Improvements include the addition of a new spa, conference room renovations, as well as electrical and telephone upgrades.
“Pipestem is an unbelievable jewel we have in West Virginia,” Gov. Justice said. “I can remember, not long ago, driving in and looking at a park that was becoming run down. But now, we’re doing exciting things both here at Pipestem and at all of our parks across West Virginia.”
All anglers age 15 and older are required to have a fishing license, trout stamp, and valid form of identification while fishing for trout. To learn more about West Virginia’s fishing regulations, visit www.wvdnr.gov. To purchase a fishing license and trout stamps, visit www.wvfish.com.
Information pulled from a press release from the office of Gov. Jim Justice and WVDNR website.