TAYLOR COUNTY—With the warmer weather approaching and folks tired of being cooped up indoors, focus will soon be shifted to outside playtime.
While it is a year-round activity, most anglers begin to hit their favorite fishing holes in the springtime, hoping to land a record-breaking catch.
“West Virginia has miles and miles of pristine waters,” said Governor Jim Justice. “We need to get everyone into the outdoors, young and old, to enjoy and experience the unmatched beauty of our state’s streams and lakes, while participating in an activity that’s just plain out fun.”
To help increase their odds, the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (WVDNR) has already begun this year’s trout stocking season.
To kick off the season earlier this month, Governor Jim Justice helped to release over 1,400 trout into Buffalo Creek in a ceremonial event.
During the release, Justice announced that through the state’s Spring Trout Stocking initiative, 1.2 million fish would be added to the state’s rivers, lakes, streams, creeks, and other waterways this year.
“It is amazing, the great stuff that we’re doing from the standpoint of our fisheries and all the wonderful stuff we’re doing in regard to the nature in this unbelievable state,” commented Justice. “To everyone who has been involved, I congratulate you in every way in the world.”
According to a release from the governor’s office, in April 2019 Governor Justice directed the WVDNR to improve its trout stocking methods by spreading out over longer sections of streams, allowing fish to be available to anglers at many new and exciting locations.
Then in 2020, Justice once again directed the WVDNR to implement additional improvements in its fall trout stocking method adding yet again even more lakes and streams to their stocking schedule.
“Many of the successes we experiencing in our trout program are a direct result of the ongoing $30 million in hatchery renovations that Governor Justice directed our agency to undertake when he first came into office,” WVDNR Director Steve McDaniel said. “Once complete, these renovations will enable us to substantially increase the number of trout stocked annually, in addition to the numerous improvements already in place under Governor Justices leadership.”
Also, in response to COVID-19 pandemic, Justice provided free fishing opportunities to West Virginia residents by dropping the requirement to possess a fishing license for several months in 2020.
While licenses are required once more to take part in this favorite pastime of many residents, the WVDNR recently launched an updated electronic licensing system.
With a modern interface that is easier and more secure to use, a responsive design that works on smartphones tablets and computers and an improved cart and checkout experience, this new system makes it easier for anglers to buy a license.
All residents and nonresidents ages 15 up to residents who have not turned 65 before January 1 must possess a fishing license in the state of West Virginia. The WVDNR offers licenses of various types, including lifetime hunting, trapping and fishing licenses for $805 down to one-day, nonresident fishing licenses that cost only $3.
To access this updated system please visit www.wvhunt.com. Once there, individuals will be asked to create a new user login including a username and password.
For those folks who have an existing DNR ID, they will need to create a new login as well, but can do so by clicking on the “Look up your Account” button.
On the website, anglers may also find important information about fishing regulations, a useful too after changes were recently made.
“Probably the biggest change is that we now have a statewide 30-fish daily creel and a 60-fish possession limit for game fish that didn’t have a creel limit before,” said Mark Scott Assistant Chief of Fish Management for the WVDNR.
For more information about fishing regulations in West Virginia, download a copy of the 2021 fishing regulations at wvdnr.gov/fishing/fishing_regs.shtm.