One Fish, Two Fish: Over 1.2-Million trout coming to WV waterways, so where to catch them?

West Virginia Headlines

WV DNR's Hatchery Program Manager has some tips for catching the elusive golden trout

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April 29 2021 08:00 pm

WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) — The water is 55 degrees which means it’s trout season in West Virginia!  The Hatchery Program Manager tells 7NEWS that 1.2-Million trout are flopping into the Mountain State’s waterways this spring. So, how to catch them?

Every other week 870 pounds of trout will be poured into Wheeling Creek. 

This time of year, the fish are not quite a pound so that equates to about 1,200 fish every other week.

Jim Hedrick, Hatchery Program Manager for the WV DNR

Stocking the stream is based on acreage: length multiplied by the width of the stream. Because of this, the vast West Virginia mountains are calling a lot of folks this time of year. 

Hedrick named some of the most popular: Shavers Fork River, the Cranberry River, Williams River and the South Branch. Those rivers are all weekly stocked.

With nine hatcheries in West Virginia, it’s sometimes a long-haul to navigate the trout on country roads which is where fishing ethics go a long way. 

The main reason why we lose stocking locations is because anglers have been unethical in some way. They’ve done damage to property, they’ve littered. The landowner finally says enough is enough. Then we’re no longer able to stock that area.

Jim Hedrick, Hatchery Program Manager for the WVDNR

Hedrick says people are getting their facts tangled. You can only keep six trout a day. If you’re camping you can have up to 12 trout in your cooler but they have to be caught over a couple day span. 

You’ll see five species: The main one is rainbow. This colorful fish spawns earlier than others, so come time for stocking, they’re larger. There are also Brook and Brown trout, and a mix between the two; Tiger trout which tend to put up a fight. Finally, the infamous Golden trout which was developed first here in West Virginia. 

Golden trout really are golden tickets. They’re more finicky than their rainbow cousins. 

“If there’s a trick to ensuring you catch the golden trout, it’s having a very small hook and a light-weight line,” said the trout expert. “They are very sensitive to baits that are too big.”

The ‘Golden Rush’ event will be at the end of March and beginning of April. And the trout distribution cuts off at the end of May.

The DNR just recently released a new deal this year. Anglers can pay for a trout license that covers the next three years.

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