Despite two major weather events that hindered hatcheries' ability to grow trout, DNR officials expect streams and lakes stocked in January to get their usual allotments of fish -- all told, approximately 35,000 pounds of 10- to 11-inch rainbow, brook, brown and golden rainbow trout.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Last June's derecho windstorm and October's superstorm Sandy snowstorm will affect the state's upcoming trout-stocking season, but fisheries officials don't expect any major problems.
"Our hatchery people got the job done," said Mike Shingleton, the Division of Natural Resources' head of coldwater fisheries. "We had major power outages during the derecho, but our people were able to keep the pumps running on emergency generator power and keep us from losing many trout.
"The snowstorm brought power outages and took a lot of trees down. We handled the power outages just fine, but the downed trees might affect our ability to stock all of the usual spots on some of our streams."
Shingleton said weather would probably affect January's stockings worse than anything else. All but one of the DNR's trout hatcheries are located in the state's eastern mountains, where snows tend to be heavier and road conditions tend to be worse.
"We have waters scheduled to be stocked starting [Jan. 2]," Shingleton said. "Right now we have long-term forecasts that call for at least some precipitation. We want to stock, but we won't send our [hatchery truck] drivers out on unsafe roads."
All told, 54 waters - 28 streams and 26 lakes or ponds - are scheduled to receive trout by the end of January.
"Those represent all the waters designated for weekly, biannual and monthly-plus-January stockings," Shingleton said. "Our guidelines call for all those waters to get one stocking in January."
The stocking plan calls for those waters to receive a total of 35,000 to 36,000 pounds of trout. Shingleton said most of the trout should run 10 to 11 inches in length.
"Some of the hatcheries were able to reach the size goal, but because of the power outages and late-summer low-water conditions, some of them came up a little short," he explained. "But overall, the fish we stock will be close to the size we want."
There will, however, be fewer trophy trout.
"Roughly 10 to 15 percent of the fish, by weight, will be [large] 'brood' trout. That's short of our usual goal of 20 percent. We didn't produce as many brood fish as usual this year," Shingleton explained.
The Sandy snowstorm, which knocked down trees in the state's mountainous regions, will prevent stockings on at least one section of one major stream.
"The road along Glady Fork below the lower [Forest Service] gate is impassable because of downed trees," Shingleton said. "We can stock most of Glady, just not the section below the gate. And there may be [tree problems on] a few spots on some other streams we aren't aware of yet."
Shingleton urged anglers who fish in tree-damage areas to keep an eye out for "widow makers" - broken limbs left hanging in treetops, or broken but not yet fallen trees leaning against neighboring trees.
"The last thing we would want is for someone to get hurt or killed by a falling limb or tree," he said.
Anglers can find out which waters have been stocked each day by checking the DNR's website. A click on the "Trout Stocking" link under the "Fishing" heading will yield a full list of waters stocked earlier that day.
"We update the list between 3:30 and 4:00 p.m. each day," Shingleton said.
Reach John McCoy at 304-348-1231 or e-mail email@example.com.
Winter trout stocking list
Anderson Lake, Kanawha County; Barboursville L., Cabell; Cacapon L., Morgan; Cedar Creek L., Gilmer; Chief Cornstalk L., Mason; Curtisville L., Marion; Fitzpatrick L., Raleigh; Huey Run L., Marion; Hurricane Reservoir, Putnam; James P. Bailey L., Mercer; Krodel L., Mason; Larinim Lakes, Mineral; Laurel L., Mingo; Lick Creek L., Wayne; Little Beaver L., Raleigh; Miletree L., Roane; Mountwood L., Wood; Pennsboro Res., Ritchie; Ridenour L., Kanawha; Rollins L., Jackson; Spruce Knob L., Randolph; Summit L., Greenbrier; Tomlinson Run L., Hancock; Tracy L., Ritchie; Turkey Run L., Jackson; Watoga L., Pocahontas.
Anthony Creek, Greenbrier; Big Bullskin Run, Jefferson; Blackwater River, Tucker; Cranberry R., Nicholas/Webster/Pocahontas; E. Fk. Greenbrier R., Pocahontas; Elk R., Randolph/Webster; Evitts Run, Jefferson; Gandy Ck., Randolph; Glady Fk., Randolph; Knapps Ck., Pocahontas; Laurel Fk., Randolph; Little R. (E. Fk. Greenbrier), Pocahontas; Little R. (W. Fk. Greenbrier), Pocahontas; Lost R., Hardy; Middle Ck., Berkeley; Mill Ck., Berkeley; New Ck., Mineral; N. Fk. Patterson Ck., Grant; N. Fk. of So. Branch, Pendleton/Grant; Opequon Ck., Berkeley/Jefferson; Rocky Marsh Run, Jefferson; Shavers Fk., Randolph/Pocahontas; So. Branch, Pendleton; Trout Run, Hardy; Twelvepole Ck., Wayne; Waites Run, Hardy; W. Fk. Greenbrier R., Pocahontas; Williams R., Pocahontas/Webster.