Trout Stocking To Resume
Trout stocking will resume on North and South Forks of Fishing Creek, according to a press release issued by the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources.
Delegate Dave Pethtel, who had been keeping a close eye on the situation, credits the new decision to a site visit conducted by DNR officials to Fishing Creek.
Pethtel said he was first notified by constituents of the situation in December, when he was told the DNR was not going to stock trout in the North and South Forks of Fishing Creek.
“I called Emily Fleming at the DNR,” Pethtel said. “I’ve had a good working relationship with her over years. I let her know how disappointed I was that the decision had been made and that I had not been notified.”
Pethtel noted that West Virginia State Senators Jeffrey Kessler and Kent Leonhardt also had not been notified.
“I worked with her (Emily Fleming), and I also contacted the director of the DNR, Mr. Bob Fala. We set up a site visit, and DNR representatives came to Pine Grove.”
Pethtel noted that approximately six people came to the site visit, including Fala, Bret Preston (the assistant chief of Wildlife Resources for the WVDNR), and two biologists.
Also, Pethtel credits local fisherman and local angler Rick Barr with answering questions during the site visit. “He has fished the North and South Forks of Fishing Creek for years. He was a big asset,” Pethtel stated.
“We looked at all of those sites. There were actually six sites where they stock trout. The reason North and South Forks had been taken off was because of concerns of adequate public fishing and stocking access, as well as some habitat concerns,” Pethtel stated.
According to the press release from the DR, the DNR confirmed some of the above-listed issues and is working with local anglers and property owners to address improvements to access and fish habitat.
The DNR further stated that stocking will now occur on a monthly basis in February, March and April at the locations used in the past on the South Fork. The North Fork stockings will be at the Robert C. Byrd Center, also in February, March and April.
The annual youth fishing derby will continue at the Robert C. Byrd Center in the spring.
“I’m just very well pleased that the DNR reversed their decision,” Pethtel stated.
Pethtel also stated that even though Senators Kessler and Leonhardt were unable to go on the site visit, “they were supportive of getting the trout stocking back on the list.”
“I think the key was the fact that we were able to get the DNR officials to actually come and visit those sites,” Pethtel added.
“I think that was paramount in getting them to change their decision,” he said.