SOUTH CHARLESTON – West Virginia’s state parks offer many opportunities and types of waters for a favorite summertime pursuit – fishing – with ponds, lakes, streams and rivers. Catchable warmwater and coldwater fish include bluegill, bass, catfish, trout and other species. Residents and visitors to the state are invited to wet some lines and try their luck (or skill) at angling, an activity that can be enjoyed at any age throughout a person’s lifetime.
West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (WVDNR) personnel are stocking tagged channel catfish into eight state park lakes in May as part of the Catfish in the Parks Program. These state parks include: Cacapon, Cedar Creek, Chief Logan, Little Beaver, North Bend, Pipestem, Tomlinson Run, and Watoga. As part of the program, anglers who report a tagged catfish caught in a state park will receive a certificate good for one free night of camping at several state park campgrounds.
Anglers who catch a tagged fish are asked to return the tag or the tag number, along with information on the date of capture, if the fish was kept or released, and the name and address of the angler, to WVDNR, 2311 Ohio Ave, Parkersburg, WV 26101.
Anglers also can call 304-420-4550 or provide the information by sending an email report to firstname.lastname@example.org. Additional information about the tagging programs can be found at www.wvdnr.gov/Fishing/Fish_Tagging.shtm.
Fishing without a license
A fishing license is required except for two specific days each year known as Free Fishing Days, during which the public is allowed to fish without a license. In West Virginia, the two dates in 2014 are June 7 and 8. According to takemefishing.org, “Fishing with kids is a great way to connect as a family and to experience the outdoors.” There are more than 35 state park areas to enjoy fishing.