If you like the sounds of the WVDNR stocking trout on Fridays and Saturdays, more catch and release regulations for native brook trout and the opportunity to hunt on a few state parks for deer, including bucks, than you will love the news released by DNR director Stephen McDaniel.
The DNR is exploring opportunities to enhance trout fishing in and around state parks beginning in 2018. Hatchery personnel are making plans to stock trout in many state parks lakes on Saturdays. In addition, selected trout streams within a 10-mile drive of these state parks will be stocked on Fridays. The Saturday trout stockings will be announced in advance to give anglers the chance to plan weekend trips, including overnight stays at state parks.
“We believe stocking these lakes and streams on Fridays and Saturdays will provide an excellent opportunity for people, especially new anglers, to improve their chances of catching a trout while visiting our beautiful state parks and forests,” McDaniel said. “This should help attract families looking for additional weekend activities and those who work or attend school on weekdays during the regularly scheduled trout stockings.”
The DNR is also exploring the concept of establishing special catch and release regulations for brook trout on streams located within four major watersheds in the Monongahela National Forest. These include portions of streams within the drainages of the Middle Fork of Williams River, Tea Creek, Red Creek and Otter Creek. These watersheds support more than 130 miles of native brook trout habitat and, if approved, will bring the total miles of catch-and-release and fly-fishing-only waters for brook trout to approximately 200 miles statewide.
“The purpose of these proposed catch and release regulations for brook trout is to provide added protection to these fisheries and to make these areas more attractive to both resident and out-of-state anglers. We think this will encourage them to say overnight and enjoy our state’s many outdoor recreation opportunities,” McDaniel said.
The concept for establishing these catch and release regulations for brook trout will be finalized and presented to the Natural Resources Commission during its quarterly meeting scheduled for Feb. 25, 2018. These proposed regulations will also be presented for public comment during the 12 public sectional meetings scheduled March 12-13, 2018, at locations around the state.
The DNR also is planning to expand its successful program of controlled deer hunts at select state parks. The Natural Resources Commission is authorized to conduct controlled deer hunts for white-tailed deer on state parks to protect the ecological integrity of these public lands. These hunts will provide recreational opportunities for those seeking a unique outdoor experience at state parks. They’ll also provide opportunities for participants to enjoy park lodging facilities.
“We are still working out the details, but up to 10 state parks and an either sex tag are being considered for inclusion in this deer hunting program,” McDaniel said.
The concept for these expanded state park hunts also will be finalized and presented to the Natural Resources Commission in February, and proposed regulations will be presented for public comment during the March sectional meetings.
Hunters and anglers — mark your calendars and find a meeting near you to voice your comments. I applaud the director and our WVDNR for looking at ways to enhance our state’s opportunities for all.