SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.VA. (WV News) – Efforts to restore native brook trout in Mountain State continue, with fisheries biologists recently probing a trout stream in Tucker County to see if the project shows signs of success.
“We’ve caught between 30 and 40 native brook trout and now we’re going to look at the samples and data we’ve collected to see if the population is doing well here,” said David Thorne, cold water fisheries biologist for the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources.
Thorne and a team of fisheries biologists used state-of-the-art electric fishing equipment to catch trout. Electrofishing is a standard procedure for sampling fish populations to see how they are 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 today is part of a larger effort to find out just 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 all we can to mitigate conservation threats caused by rising water temperatures and loss of habitat.”
Brook trout are cold water fish that are sensitive to changes in water temperature.
“We want to protect native brook trout streams, their habitat and upstream landscapes, because making sure these streams stay cool is one way to help this fish persist for generations to come. “said Thorn.
Native brook trout can be found in the cold streams of West Virginia, but some of the best fisheries are found at higher elevations in the Allegheny Highlands.
“Brook trout are easy to catch and can be found in some of the prettiest streams you’ll find in West Virginia,” Thorne said. “It’s a great getaway.”
As for fishing gear, fishermen can use live bait and a casting rod or opt for a fly rod. Anglers should also be aware that many native brook trout streams are subject to special regulations and are encouraged to review current regulations found online.
All anglers 15 years and older must have a valid West Virginia fishing license, which can be purchased online at WVfish.com and at state license retailers.