After West Virginia's official trout stockings end on the last day of May, anglers tend to forget about trout fishing until the following spring.
Who could blame them? Most trout streams get low, clear and warm during the summer months. Trout, which prefer cold water, start feeding at night to escape daytime's high temperatures.
The only major Mountain State trout stream immune to the "low, clear and warm" affliction is the Gauley River downstream from Summersville Dam.
The water that flows from the hydropower station just downstream from the dam registers a leg-numbing 55 degrees. The river is large and swift, with tumbling rapids, huge boulders and deep pools. It's terrific trout water.
And it's recently stocked.
That's right. On June 5, a helicopter made several passes up and down the remote Gauley River canyon, and hatchery workers inside the chopper dumped 1,500 pounds of trout into the river's chilly waters.
The stocking, a cooperative effort by the state Division of Natural Resources and the West Virginia Professional Outfitters Association, has become an annual event.
It's designed to compensate trout fishermen for the days of fishing they lose during the fall trout-stocking season. The river isn't fishable then because the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers keeps the water artificially high to allow more whitewater rafting.
The 24-day Gauley rafting season is when outfitters make a huge chunk of their money. The Gauley attracts paddlers from all over the country, and the promise of high flows from the dam allows outfitters to guarantee those paddlers a fun time.
About the only downside to the Gauley season is that it overlaps the DNR's annual fall trout stockings.