CHARLESTON — Trout anglers who prefer to fish in streams might have to search a bit to find fish this fall. Anglers who prefer to fish in lakes, not so much.
State fisheries officials plan to stock as many waters as they usually do, and they plan to stock as many fish. The problem they face is that some of the streams are running too low to stock all the usual pools and runs.
Jim Hedrick, hatchery supervisor for the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, said stocking crews might have to skip over some of the shallower pools and concentrate on the deeper ones.
This year’s fall stockings will take place over the next two weeks. Hatchery trucks will begin running Monday, Oct. 19, and will finish Oct. 30.
Hedrick said approximately 50,000 pounds of trout will be stocked during that period. Twenty-six streams and 13 lakes are scheduled to receive fish.
With streams running low, the DNR has decided to place additional emphasis on lake fishing.
Two lakes — Pipestem Lake at Pipestem Resort and Pendleton Lake at Blackwater Falls State Park — have been added to the fall stocking list. Those two, plus four others, will receive special stockings Saturday, Oct. 24.
The other four lakes slated for Saturday stockings include Coopers Rock Lake at Coopers Rock State Forest; Seneca Lake at Seneca State Forest; Watoga Lake at Watoga State Park; and Cacapon Lake at Cacapon Resort.
The lake stockings should go smoothly because the impoundments on the stocking list are still at normal levels. Anglers also will have room to spread out and observe social distancing protocols.
Stream stockings could be more complicated. A lack of rain has shrunk some trout streams to mere trickles.
Hedrick said he expects all the streams to receive fish, but anglers accustomed to fishing specific pools might need to look elsewhere.
“If our crews find that one of the usual stocking spots doesn’t have enough water, they’ll skip over it and put the fish in some of the deeper spots,” he added.
Shrunken pools might also tempt people to stand too close together. Hedrick said anglers should stay at least 6 feet apart and should take care not to violate the state’s COVID-19 guidelines.
Lakes scheduled for stocking include: Brandywine Lake, Pendleton County; Buffalo Fork Lake, Pocahontas; Cacapon Lake, Morgan; Coopers Rock Lake, Monongalia; New Creek Dam 14, Grant; Rock Cliff Lake, Hardy; Seneca Lake, Pocahontas; Spruce Knob Lake, Randolph; Summit Lake, Greenbrier; Teter Creek Lake, Barbour; and Watoga Lake, Pocahontas.
Streams scheduled for stocking include: Anthony Creek, Greenbrier County; Big Clear Creek, Greenbrier; Blackwater River, Tucker; Buckhannon River, Upshur; Cranberry River, Nicholas, Pocahontas, Webster; Elk River, Randolph, Webster; Evitts Run, Jefferson; Glade Creek of New River, Raleigh; Knapps Creek, Pocahontas; Lost River, Hardy; N. Branch Potomac, Mineral; N. Fork South Branch, Grant, Pendleton; Opequon Creek, Berkeley, Jefferson; Pinnacle Creek, Wyoming; Pond Fork, Boone; R.D. Bailey Lake tailwaters, Mingo, Wyoming; Shavers Fork (lower), Randolph; Shavers Fork (upper), Randolph; S. Branch (Franklin), Pendleton; S. Branch (Smoke Hole), Pendleton; Summersville Lake tailwaters, Nicholas; Sutton Lake tailwaters, Braxton; Tygart Lake tailwaters, Taylor; Tygart River headwaters, Randolph; West Fork Greenbrier River, Pocahontas; and Williams River, Pocahontas, Webster.