For many anglers, the end of the spring trout stocking season in late May marks the end of their trout fishing for the year. Smart anglers, however, know that the cool weeks of October provide an equally rewarding opportunity to catch a trophy trout.
In 2008, the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources will conduct its annual fall trout stocking October 14 – 24 (weekdays only). During those days, approximately 40,000 pounds of trout will be stocked in 25 streams and nine lakes, as indicated in the 2008 Fishing Regulations booklet.
“The waters have cooled off by then so the newly-stocked trout can thrive, but because of the low, clear flows, anglers have to use their best angling skills to be successful,” said Mike Shingleton, assistant wildlife chief in charge of coldwater fisheries for DNR.
When trout are stocked in the late winter and early spring months of January through May, DNR places about 700,000 pounds of fish in as many as 200 waters statewide. However, the fall stocking season is shorter and doesn’t involve as many fish or waters. What makes the fall season special is that as much as10 percent of the trout stocked are brood trout – older fish that have yielded hundreds of thousands of fingerling trout at the state’s hatcheries over time. “We no longer need them in our hatcheries and we need the room for the other fish to grow for the spring stocking,” Shingleton explains.
That’s good news for anglers, because these brood trout are big, some of them trophy size. “If you’re one of those folks who put their fishing poles away until next spring because you thought there weren’t any trout out there, think again,” Shingleton advises. “There are some monster trout biting in the fall, right here in West Virginia.”
Another bonus is that the fall trout stocking coincides with the opening of several of West Virginia’s small game seasons, including those for squirrel, woodcock, grouse, and raccoon, and archery seasons for bear, deer and wild boar. “People will sometimes hunt in the morning and fish in the afternoon,” Shingleton says.More information about the fall trout stocking season, including a list of the waters that are scheduled for stocking, is available by calling the DNR Wildlife Resources Section at (304) 637-0245 or (304) 558-2771 or by visiting online at www.wvdnr.gov. Fishing licenses may be purchased online at www.wvfish.com.