WVDNR reports 19 percent increase in number of stocked trout in 2023

Favorable weather and improved infrastructure is helping the WVDNR produce more trout at hatcheries around the state.

CHARLESTON, W.VA. — The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources announced on Wednesday that the agency has stocked nearly 130,000 more trout in 2023 compared to the previous year.

Between January and May 2023, the WVDNR stocked 802,481 trout in lakes and streams around the state, which is a 19 percent increase over the 673,148 trout that were stocked during the same period in 2022.

“Our hatchery program plays a crucial role in creating an exceptional fishing experience for anglers across West Virginia,” said WVDNR Director Brett McMillion.”This significant increase in trout going into our lakes and streams can be attributed to investments in our hatchery infrastructure and the dedicated work of our staff.”

One of the most significant investments was the expansion of the Bowden Hatchery from 40 fish rearing units to 60, which will allow the WVDNR to produce an additional 100,000 pounds of trout. Other improvements have been made to the Edray, Reed’s Creek and Tate Lohr hatcheries to shore up fish production in the future.

In addition to hatchery facility improvements, the increase in trout production can be attributed to warmer weather during the winter months, which created ideal conditions for trout to thrive.

“As we look ahead to fall trout stocking, we are optimistic that we will be able to achieve record-breaking stocking numbers this year,” McMillion said. “With more fish in the water, I want to encourage anglers all across West Virginia and beyond to get out there and enjoy a trout fishing trip this year.” 

It is important to note that the long-term growth of the trout population is dependent on various factors, including habitat, weather patterns and other environmental elements. The WVDNR remains dedicated to preserving and enhancing West Virginia’s natural resources to ensure sustainable fishing opportunities for generations to come.

All anglers 15 years and older are required to have a West Virginia fishing license, trout stamp and valid form of identification while fishing for trout. To purchase a license and stamp or to learn more about trout stocking and fishing regulations in West Virginia, visit WVdnr.gov/fishing.