Despite Low Flows, DNR Completes Fall Trout Stocking


This photo from early November shows Tea Creek above Williams River at a critically low stage.  — photo Joe Crowder

"We had no more than an inch of rain for all of October, which is way below normal," said DNR Trout Program Leader Mike Shingleton. "A lot of people say they are as low as they’ve ever seen them."

It’s been a high and dry fall in the mountains of West Virginia. However despite the low flow conditions, the West Virginia DNR did manage to complete the annual two-week fall trout stocking schedule.

"Flows were low and clear, so catching them out quickly was pretty difficult.  They were pretty spooky," said Shingleton.

Hatchery personnel are well aware of the streams they stock.  Shingleton says that allowed them to make adjustments and know where the deepest and most reliable pools would be to hold the fish.   Another adjustment involved adding a higher level of poundage to the impoundments like Spruce Knob Lake and a lower number of fish in the low flowing mountain streams.

"Shavers Fork, Elk River, Cranberry, Blackwater, and North Fork of the South Branch, they’ll carry trout through the winter," said Shingleton. 

However, a number of the smaller streams in the higher elevations are critically low.  Shingleton is hopeful heavy snowfall this winter coupled with late autumn rain will help restore the aquifer.

"Some of the mountain areas had some significant snowfall.  That helped somewhat and along with that we had a half-inch of rain.  That helped some, but not enough to get us back into good shape," said Shingleton.

Trout stocked in the fall are typically larger, brooder fish that have exhausted their usefulness at the hatchery.  They typically will survive through the winter months and provide good fishing until the spring stocking schedule begins.


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