Efforts to restore native brook trout in the Mountain State continue and fisheries biologists for the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources recently surveyed a trout stream in Tucker County to see if the project is showing signs of success.
“We caught between 30 and 40 native brook trout and now we’re going to look at the samples and data we collected to see how well the population is doing here,” said David Thorne, cold water fisheries biologist for the WVDNR.
Thorne and a team of fisheries biologists used state-of-the-art electrofishing equipment to catch the trout. Electrofishing is a standard procedure for sampling fish populations to see how they’re doing in a given water. Two electrodes are used to send electric currents through the water, which temporarily stuns fish and makes them easier to catch and study.
“Our work here today is part of a broader effort to learn how genetically diverse our state’s brook trout population is,” Thorne said.
Brook trout are coldwater fish and sensitive to changes in water temperature. The data Thorne and his team collect helps the WVDNR manage native brook trout, protect habitat and and mitigate conservation threats caused by increasing water temperature and loss of habitat.
“We want to conserve and manage our native brook trout appropriately so future generations of West Virginians can have the same opportunities I had growing up to seek and catch brook trout in their native habitats,” Thorne said.
Native Brook Trout Fishing in West Virginia
Native brook trout can be found in cold streams across West Virginia, but some of the best fishing is found at higher elevations in the Allegheny Highlands.
“Brook trout are easy to catch and can be found in some of the most beautiful streams you’ll find in West Virginia,” Thorne said. “It makes for a great getaway.”
As for fishing gear, anglers can use live bait and a spinning rod or opt for a fly rod. Many native brook trout streams are under special regulations, so anglers should review current fishing regulations to check if the streams they are fishing is under any special regulations.
All anglers 15 and older must have a valid West Virginia fishing license, which can be purchased online at WVfish.comand at license retailers around the state. To search for trout streams in West Virginia, visit mapwv.gov/huntfish.