Dave Thorne

Rules imposed by former property owner Jerry Burke will be maintained under DNR jurisdiction, although the stream will now be open to the public

DORCAS, W.Va. — A fertile trout stream in Grant County, maintained as a private fishery for many years, will soon be open to the public.  The Division of Natural Resources announced at the recent meeting of the Natural Resources Commission plans to purchase a 140 acre tract of land which includes a little more than a mile of stream along Spring Run near the community of Dorcas.

“For probably more than 40 or 50 years it’s been managed as a fly fishing only, catch and release stream,” said Brett Preston, Assistant Chief of Fisheries for the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources. “We thought it was important to continue that management as we acquire the property.”

Property owner Jerry Burke was adamant about maintaining the integrity of the stream and required strict adherence to his rules over five decades.  Since the property has been private, it’s not presently on the DNR’s trout stocking list.  It was stocked many, many years ago, however it’s unlikely it will be added to the state’s stocking list anytime soon because according to Preston the stream is naturally productive.

“It has maintained itself as a reproducing wild rainbow trout fishery,” Preston said. “But recently some of the surveys have indicated wild brook trout numbers are increasing in Spring Run as well.  We’re pretty excited about the opportunity.”

Fly fishermen are equally excited.   The agency has no plans to change anything other than access.  Under Burke’s jurisdiction, fishing was allowed with permission, but that will no longer be the case as the state buys the land and opens it to the general public.  However, it will still be maintained as catch and release and fly fishing only.

The section being purchased is the middle section between the Spring Run Trout Hatchery and the main road along Spring Run.  It’s surrounded by private land on either end.