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Stocking appropriate sport fish is an important part of West Virginia’s fisheries management program that is used to achieve a variety of goals. The traditional seasonal trout stocking of more than 150 waters has expanded to provide trout fishing opportunities throughout the year. Stocking is also used to enhance warmwater fish populations. Each year, fingerling muskellunge, walleye, hybrid striped bass, and channel catfish are stocked to maintain existing fisheries when natural reproduction is inadequate.
Stocking is also a tool that is necessary to restore species that were eliminated in West Virginia because of pollution or habitat alteration. The DNR is stocking paddlefish and shovelnose sturgeon in the Ohio and Kanawha rivers to restore these fish to their historic range in West Virginia.
West Virginia’s hatchery facilities play an important role in the state’s fisheries management efforts. The DNR operates seven hatcheries and two warmwater hatcheries for fish production. The newest hatchery at Apple Grove in Mason County represents a major improvement in warmwater fish production. In conjunction with the existing Palestine Hatchery, the DNR’s ability to provide sport fish and fish for restoration and management efforts is greatly enhanced.
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