CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Slick roads and trout stockings don't mix.
Frequent snowstorms during the first month and a half of West Virginia's 2014 trout-stocking season have made a mess of the stocking schedule.
"We've had a lot of cancellations," said Mike Shingleton, the assistant chief in charge of the Division of Natural Resources' trout program. "We set our schedule each week, but if the weather gets bad, we often have to cancel or reschedule."
Hatchery trucks have been unable to reach several popular streams, including the east and west forks of the Greenbrier River and the Little River tributaries that flow into each of those forks.
"And with the weather the way it has been, it doesn't look like we'll be in there in the near future," Shingleton said.
Poor access due to snow-covered roads has also impaired the DNR's ability to stock the popular Williams and Cranberry rivers. Kanawha County's Anderson Lake, located at the end of a steep and rough road, has been unreachable as well.
Even when trucks have been able to reach waters earmarked for stocking, hatchery workers have had trouble finding places to dump the fish.
"Up until a week or so ago, most of the streams were frozen over pretty thick in the places we would normally stock," Shingleton said. "At impoundments, it's possible to bust a hole in the ice and go ahead with the stocking, but doing that on a stream is a whole different critter. It's much more dangerous, and we don't want to put our employees in danger."
Snowy winters have occurred before, and Shingleton said the current one would be handled exactly as others have been.
"As soon as the weather improves, we'll get to all of our streams," he promised. "We'll do extra stockings or even double up if we can, but we'll make sure all our impoundments and streams get full allotments of fish."
Reach John McCoy at 304-348-1231 or call johnmc...@wvgazette.com.