CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- For West Virginia's anglers, the turning of the calendar from one year to the next also marks the beginning of a new trout-stocking schedule.
If weather permits, some hatchery trucks will begin running as soon as Jan. 2. Others won't make their first runs until Jan. 6. Mike Shingleton, who heads up the Division of Natural Resources' trout program, said a quirk in the calendar caused the delay.
"New Year's Day falls on a Wednesday this year, and that will leave us only two days in that week to make stocking runs," he explained. "Most of our hatcheries will be ready to go on Jan. 2, and I told them if the weather is good, to go for it.
"At one or two of our hatcheries, we had some personnel take leave in December, and those hatcheries will be a few days later getting ready. Trucks will start running from those hatcheries on Jan. 6."
At least that's the plan. The always-fickle January weather will determine when trucks can and can't run.
"If the roads aren't safe, we'll stock later," Shingleton said. "We want to get the trout out to anglers as quickly as possible, but not if it puts our personnel and trucks in danger."
By the end of January, if all goes as planned, 50 streams and ponds will have received roughly 40,000 pounds of trout. Shingleton described this year's hatchery production as "similar to previous years'," so all waters are scheduled to receive their usual allotments.
Anglers will, however, see fewer trophy-sized "brood trout" this winter than they did during the winters of 2012 and 2013.