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 the fish and makes them easier to catch and study.
“Our work here is part of a broader effort to learn how genetically diverse our state’s brook trout population is,” Thorne said. “Every piece of data we collect helps us improve the way we manage this important fish and do everything we can to mitigate conservation threats caused by increasing water temperature and loss of habitat.”
Brook trout are coldwater fish and sensitive to changes in water temperature.
“We want to protect native brook trout streams, their habitat and landscapes upstream because making sure these waterways stay cold is one of the ways we help this fish persist for generations to come,” Thorn said.
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. Anglers should also be aware that many native brook trout streams are under special regulations and are encouraged to review current regulations found online here.
All anglers 15 and older must have a valid West Virginia fishing license, which can be purchased online at WVfish.com and at license retailers around the state. To search for trout streams in West Virginia, visit mapwv.gov/huntfish.