CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia sportsmen have been fortunate during the ongoing pandemic. Restrictions on outdoor activity here haven’t been nearly as strict as some other states.
Early on, the Division of Natural Resources stopped posting the location of daily stocking of trout and most facilities within parks and the state and national forests were closed, but for those willing to walk, those areas remained open. Boat launch location have also remained open. Other states have closed those down. Some states have instituted restrictions which banned use of motorboats and still other states have restricted fishing to “food only.”
But fishing form any boat in West Virginia hasn’t been impacted so long as we practice social distancing and common sense.
The most recent impact however cancels all bass fishing tournaments in the state until further notice. The DNR has revoked all permits issued for fishing tournaments on all West Virginia waters until further notice.
The news was disappointing, but also not unexpected according to Ken Hackworth, President of B.A.S.S. Nation West Virginia.
“We fell in line with the DNR’s recommendation and the C-D-C’s Covid 19 restrictions,” Hackworth said in a recent edition of West Virginia Outdoors.
Hackwork was appearing on the show at the time he expected six weeks ago he’d be fishing one of his organization’s biggest fishing tournaments on Summersville Lake.
“We were looking to have 50 to 60 boats, that would have been more than 100 competitors, plus our weigh-in assistants, and spectators. That wouldn’t have been safe and wouldn’t’ have fallen into line with guidelines,” he said.
Chances don’t look good for that tournament or any other tournaments which were called off due to the pandemic to be made up. Hackworth indicated his organization was trying to find a way to salvage the contests which narrowed the field of members to represent West Virginia in upcoming national tournament events. Other than the high school and college qualifying events, most of those happen in the fall.
“We try to look ahead at the ‘what if’s but there’s been a lot of uncertainty about this. We’ve been looking at this ever since February. What we’re looking at is an abbreviated Buddy Trail Schedule, which is supposed to culminate on the Mon River at Fairmont June 21st,” he said.
Any tournaments which were on the schedule up until then won’t be rescheduled.
“We may lose two to three adult Buddy Trail Tournaments and we’ll have to reschedule those high school and college events, but outside of that we just have to roll with what’s dealt to us and try to be pro-active,” he said.