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WV Wildlife: Fall Fishing

Small mouth bass are also in abundance around the new structures. (WCHS/WVAH)

Now that the leaves have fallen, you may be counting the days down to buck firearms season, but if you need something to tide you over before then--don't forget about fishing.

In fact, West Virginia DNR fisheries biologists say this is a great time of the year to feel your line tighten.

"There's a lot of opportunity here in West Virginia for fall fishing, and a lot of fish to be caught. Water temperatures are dropping--it's about 60 degrees right now, which is going to make these fish very active", said Jim Walker—a Fisheries Biologist with the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources.

And at Summersville Lake--where Fisheries Biologist, Aaron Yeager, and Technician, Jeremy Quick, have been working over the past few years to enhance the fish habitat--several different species of fish were biting on a cool, overcast fall-day recently!

"The West Virginia DNR rented an excavator last winter when the lake was drawn down to winter pool, which enables us to actually work on the lake bed, and we removed some trees from the wildlife management area--creating wildlife habitat, brought those down to the lake bed and created fish habitat”, said Walker.

Woody structure is crucial for a thriving fishery, especially for a lake that was solely designed for flood control purposes. These 'underwater houses' give the fish a place to spawn, hide and feed.

"You may catch perch, walleye, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, rock bass--any of our game species. When bait swims by, they're going to rush out, grab it and return to hiding".

You might want to give it a try before it gets too cold!

“It's definitely not time to put the fishing poles away. Finding these (habitat structures) is relatively easy this time of the year because you can see the structures sticking out of the water, and that's where all these fish are going to go to, so we're just trying to make it easier for anglers to get out there, have a good time and find great places to fish", said Walker.

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