This is an updated post.

Being outside and enjoying the beauty of nature is one of the best things you can do for your physical and mental health. As you get out this spring to go fishing at a state park lake or your favorite trout stream, we want to remind you to be safe and practice health guidelines that help prevent spreading the COVID-19 virus.

Public spaces, such as fishing lakes can become crowded when the weather warms up or a trout stocking is taking place. So, if you arrive at a crowded lake or access point, here’s what you need to do:

  • Fish in places that aren’t crowded. If they are, find another place to fish at.
  • Leave plenty of space between you and your fellow anglers. Staying at least six feet apart helps reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus and other diseases.
  • Don’t crowd a boat ramp and wait your turn to put your boat in the water.
  • Don’t share a boat with people who aren’t in your family and make sure there’s plenty of room on board.

The good thing about these guidelines is that they improve the fishing experience for you and other anglers. Giving fellow angler plenty of space is just common courtesy and should always be practiced.

In addition to practicing appropriate social distancing, please be aware of the following:

  • Some facilities at West Virginia State Parks may be closed, so plan accordingly.
  • Practice “leave no trace” principles. Take trash home with you in a plastic container if a receptacle isn’t available.
  • If you are using a non-state operated boat ramp, check its availability prior to traveling to the site.

Trout Stocking Changes

To reduce the number of anglers gathering at public lakes, locations for daily trout stockings are no longer being announced. And the West Virginia Gold Rush, which was originally scheduled to take place in April, has been moved to the week of May 2-9.

The trout stocking hotline and online stocking report will not be updated at this time. Regular trout stockings will continue in frequency, as set forth in the 2020 Fishing Regulations.

To make sure crowds don’t interfere with trout stocking personnel and that anglers maintain a safe distance from hatchery staff, a DNR Law Enforcement officer will join each stocking run.

Avoid unnecessary travel. Find an access point or fishing area close to your home.

For more changes in response to the coronavirus, visit