SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Ponds, lakes, streams and rivers in West Virginia sustain a favorite pastime: fishing. Warm and cold water fisheries in West Virginia include bluegill, bass, catfish other fish species and trout. “Regardless of what fish species a person is angling for, fishing can become an activity enjoyed throughout a person’s lifetime. If you’re lucky, you start fishing early in life with a parent, grandparent or friend,” said Renee Fincham, park naturalist at Cacapon Resort State Park. Cacapon is one of five state parks lakes to participate in a tagged channel catfish stocking program.
Fish Thinking at West Virginia State Parks
Tagged channel catfish will be stocked into lakes at five state parks in mid-May: Cacapon (Morgan Co.), Cedar Creek (Gilmer Co.), Chief Logan (Logan Co.), Pipestem (Summers Co.), and Tomlinson Run (Hancock Co.). 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 in the information (304-420-4550) or provide the information via email firstname.lastname@example.org
Anglers who report a tagged fish will receive the “tagged reward,” park information, a certificate and a letter of congratulations via US mail after the information is received and recorded by DNR fisheries biologists. Each certificate has a choice of three prizes: a train ride at Cass Scenic Railroad, a boat ride on the sternwheeler “Island Belle” to Blennerhassett Island or a Recreational Activity Pass at Pipestem resort.
Other state park area lakes stocked with catfish but not tagged include: Berwind Lake (McDowell Co.), Laurel Lake (Mingo Co.), Little Beaver State Park Lake (Raleigh Co.), North Bend State Park Pond (Ritchie Co.), Pendleton Lake at Blackwater Falls State Park (Tucker Co.), and Watoga State Park Lake (Pocahontas Co.).
Fishing without a license
A fishing license is required except for two specific days each year known as Free Fishing Days. In general, Free Fishing Days allow the public to fish without a license. Dates vary from state to state but in West Virginia the two dates in 2013 are June 8 and 9. According to takemefishing.org, “fishing with kids is a great way to connect as a family and to experience the outdoors.” There are over 35 state park areas to enjoy fishing.
Take Me Fishing at Tygart Lake
A “Hooked on Fishing, Not on Drugs” event, Saturday, June 8 is scheduled at Tygart Lake State park to coincide with the statewide free fishing day. A youth fishing derby is planned from 9 a.m. until noon. Professional angler Curtis Fleming of The Outdoor Channel series “Fly Rod Chronicles” and a member of his pro staff will be assisting youth at the fishing derby. Children and youth activities from noon until 4 p.m. include KCF Centershot Ministries archery workshop and a bow to give away, K-9 Demonstration, face painting, FBI Community Outreach Fingerprinting and IDs and other drug- and alcohol-free themed activities. This fishing event is free and open to every youth in the area. Youth should be accompanied by an adult or parent. For more information about Tygart Lake State Park activities, visit www.tygartlake.com
or call Stephanie Bailey at 304-265-6144.
First Fish – It’s a big deal
Sometimes a youngster or an adult needs a small acknowledgement or recognition to reinforce a positive experience. “Catching your first fish is a big deal,” said Kristi Steed at North Bend State Park. “You would have thought my son was Curtis Fleming or Bill Dance with his first, a bluegill.” The young Steed received an “I caught my first fish at North Bend” certificate from park naturalist Ken Zebo and proudly displayed it at his home. State parks with naturalists award paper certificates to visitors who catch their first fish in park waters. Presentations can be at campfire programs or with the individual or family.
The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources wildlife section offers an online method of fishing rewards, a First Fish Certificate that can be completed online and printed. “This allows a parent to acknowledge a child or an adult with a printed document commemorating the event.” The online document webpage is at www.wvdnr.gov
, Fishing, First Fish Certificate. The wildlife section also offers a “First Deer” certificate option.
The woods and waters in West Virginia make for ideal fishing conditions throughout the year whether at a West Virginia state park and forest area or the multiple Wildlife Management Areas or public waters throughout the Mountain State. To learn more about West Virginia State Parks, visit www.wvstateparks.com
. The Division of Natural Resources includes state parks, wildlife resources, natural resources police, Office of Land and Streams and Wonderful West Virginia magazine. The WVDNR website is www.wvdnr.gov
Hoy Murphy, Public Information Officer