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WV Wildlife: Back-Country Trout Stocking by Rail

Most of the Buckhannon River in Upshur County is accessible only by rail, which gives it a back-country & wilderness feel to anglers. (WCHS/WVAH)

Despite the name, trout fishing is more than just catching fish.

It’s an adventure.

Of course, we all want to feel our line tighten a few times--but when you live in a state like we do, fishing for trout can take you to some very beautiful and serene places. That’s nice in and of itself.

The only way to reach some of these places? By foot, but our WVDNR was using another way to stock hundreds of pounds of trout recently--by rail.

"We're on the Buckhannon River, and we stock about 20 miles of the Buckhannon River by rail twice a year. It's a little bit different than the rest of the trout stockings we do statewide, because we can really get these fish into the backcountry", said Jim Walker—a fisheries biologist with the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources.

And that's the whole point--to create a more wilderness feel for people wanting to get away from it all.

"We have a nice crew of helpers, and we do try to distribute the fish randomly--to spread them out and create a natural environment for anglers to enjoy the fishery", said Walker.

The work isn't easy, especially on a hot May Afternoon, but DNR personnel take pride in it.

There are no special regulations on this stream, either. Your fishing license and trout stamp is all that is needed. If you decide to keep fish, just make sure it's 6 or less a day.

Walker says a nice variety of trout are stocked in these waters, too.

"We're putting all 3 strains of trout in--brook, brown and rainbow, so it's a good opportunity to catch all 3 back here. It's a great partnership with A & O railroad, who maintains the rail through here, and they provide a driver and a truck. They've been a wonderful partner for over 20 years with this stocking".

Oftentimes, taking the path of most resistance will reward you in the world of fishing--but even if you 'strike out', you’ll still be left with some gorgeous views & relaxing moments.

"Some of these pools--like the one we're at right now--it's probably 20 feet deep, so you've got some nice cool water coming in there, which creates a wonderful experience. It's a great place to be"

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