WV Wildlife: Lake Mapping

Fish habitat sights are also designated on the new maps. (WCHS/WVAH)

Most of the time, finding the best fishing spot is simply trial and error.

But thanks to the hard work by our DNR recently, you can scout our lakes out before you even leave the house.

"We go out with our sonar equipment--and with technology advancements these days--it makes it easy for us to cover a pretty good amount of area, and these units will collect the depth that we drive over, and associated with that depth is a GPS coordinate", said Dustin Smith--a fisheries biologist with the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources.

It's a lot of slow zig-zagging for the biologists, but the data gathered will be greatly appreciated by anglers across the state.

"And then we build a grid-based map that gives you all these nice colors from red to yellow to blue, showing the depths in the different lakes that we've been able to map", said Jessica Perkins, a G.I.S. Analyst with the WVDNR.

Knowing how deep to fish is important for your success, and it can vary on the time of the year and the fish species that you're pursuing.

"We've GPS'ed our fish attractor sites, too. So, we've got these depth maps, but also on top of that--we have the spots where we have dropped trees, or put Christmas Trees or things like that into the lake. They can also target those areas", explained Smith.

And the maps are pretty easy to find!

"WVDNR.GOV/GIS, and that has links to a lot of these different places. You can download these maps and put them on your mobile device. You can print them", said Perkins.

These publications were funded by the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program.

"It allows anglers to access these maps in areas where they don't have wi-fi on their phone, where they don't have service--but with this software, they can still see where they are", said Smith.

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