There’s nothing more exciting than feeling a tug at the end of your line and reeling in a monster trout in West Virginia — except for maybe reeling in a tagged monster trout.

That’s what happened to Dylan Young during a recent fishing trip to Anthony Creek. When Dylan reeled his catch in and saw he had a tagged trout, he thought he had a winning catch from this year’s Monster Trout Contest.

So, Dylan reported the tag to the WVDNR, thinking he’d be a winner, only to find out that his trout was a holdover from last year’s Monster Trout Contest.

Here’s what he had to say:

“So, this past fall stocking I caught a tagged trout that I originally thought was part of this year’s fall stockings because I haven’t seen a tagged trout all year in this stream and I fish it pretty regularly. But when I turned the tagged fish in, I didn’t get any response about it when the [Monster Trout Contest] winners were announced. However, I contacted a few people that are head of the DNR and they informed me that this trout was part of the 2022 stockings for the monster trout contest. 

Anyways, what a crazy coincidence that happened here because they stocked this stream the same day I caught this trout in a location that is regularly stocked! So this is a lesson to all those people that trout do last year-round in streams.”

Stocked trout are resilient

Dylan’s catch is even more impressive when you consider that Anthony Creek has a lot of bedrock and experienced low water levels this year, both of which are not ideal conditions for large fish. Yet, against these odds, Dylan’s catch not only survived but thrived, demonstrating the enduring nature and adaptability of stocked trout.

Stocked trout aren’t bound by the confines of their initial release points. Instead, they integrate into the ecosystem, spread across available habitats and evade typical fishing spots, which often leads anglers to mistakenly believe the waters have been fished out.

Importance of West Virginia’s trout tagging program

This remarkable catch doesn’t just speak to the resilience of stocked trout, it also highlights the importance of the WVDNR’s tagging program. Each tag on a fish represents a wealth of scientific knowledge waiting to be unlocked and anglers play a crucial role in this narrative by reporting tagged catches providing invaluable data for WVDNR biologists to gauge fish survival, migration patterns, harvest rates and other important data needed to manage West Virginia’s fish populations.

West Virginia has trout fishing opportunities all year long

As Dylan’s story reveals, not all tagged trout are caught or reported, leaving plenty of opportunities for anglers to cast their lines and uncover their own prized catches.

Just make sure you have a valid fishing license and trout stamp. If you need to buy one, get your license online at, at a license retailer around the state or at a WVDNR District Office near you. It’s quick and easy and you’ll be supporting the conservation of West Virginia’s natural resources.

Buy your license and stamps today!