WV Wildlife: Fishing Ethics

Fishing ethically is as important as fishing successfully. (WCHS/WVAH)

Trout stocking season is now in full swing across the mountain state.

"It's going pretty well. We're really in the middle of the spring stocking season,” Jim Hedrick, West Virginia DNR Hatchery Program Manager, said.

This has a lot of anglers excited, but don't let that trout fever prevent you from pursuing these beautiful fish the right way.

Fishing ethically is important, not only for the fish themselves but also as an example for those who are watching.

“It's not only making sure you don't exceed your limit but are you fishing the right way. And there's no taking fish by snagging them or trying to take them illegally, cause that's an ethical part, too. And that shows a lot about, not only who you as a person, but who we are as anglers" Hedrick said.

It's also about safety. That's why a new regulation was put into place this year just for trout stockings.

"We did implement a new regulation this year that there's no fishing within 200 feet of the staff stocking and the purpose of that is to somewhat protect the staff and the fish as well because we don't want lures. A lot of the guys have had lures stuck in nets and have been hooked at different times, so we're just asking the anglers to be courteous,” Hedrick said.

As long as you have a fishing license and a trout stamp, which fund our hatcheries, some of the other rules still remain the same.

"You're permitted to take six trout a day. There's no minimum size for that at this point in time. Anglers have to remember if they're fishing in lakes that are stocked with trout, they're only allowed to use two poles. So there is a restriction on that--just so we're courteous to other anglers and don't take up the whole shoreline,” Hedrick said.

And make sure to pay attention to catch and release areas. These were designated that for a reason.

“They're really designed to make fish available, so that, if you just want to just go out and catch a fish, it increases your chances,” Hedrick said.

"There would not be a lot of the streams that we stock with trout and provide a trout fishery without the DNR stocking, you would not have that. We provide it as a recreational opportunity for anglers, and we hope they appreciate that,” Hedrick said.

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