CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- This year's hot, dry summer won't have an effect on West Virginia's upcoming trout stockings.
Mike Shingleton, the Division of Natural Resources' assistant chief in charge of coldwater fisheries, said this year's hatchery production was good enough to support an 11 percent increase in the number of pounds of trout to be stocked between Oct. 8 and Oct. 19.
"Last year we stocked 35,000 pounds in 35 waters. This year we'll stock 39,000 pounds in 34 waters," Shingleton said.
Sometimes, when especially dry summers have left streams almost dry, DNR officials have been forced to reduce the number of trout stocked in some waters. Shingleton said that will not be necessary this year.
"The hatchery managers and I have been checking the stream flows, and we believe there's no reason we should cut back on the poundage," he said. "Because we stock far fewer trout in the fall than we stock in the spring, we might not be stocking everyone's favorite holes, but almost all the waters we stock will get their designated allotments of trout."
Shingleton said "almost" because road construction along the popular Williams River might prevent stockings in one of the stream's most popular segments, and repairs to Grant County's New Creek Dam No. 14 have caused this fall's stocking to be canceled outright.
"Beginning Oct. 9, the U.S. Forest Service is closing Williams River Road between Tea Creek Campground and Three Forks," he explained. "The Forest Service folks said they'd try to reopen the road by 5:30 Friday afternoon [on Oct. 12] and keep it open until Monday morning.
"If they're able to do that, we'll try to get some trout in there so anglers can fish that weekend. In any event, though, we'll still be stocking the upstream segment of the Williams between Tea Creek and Day Run Campground.
"We can't stock at New Creek Dam because they still have the lake drained. We're hoping they'll have the repairs finished and the lake refilled by next spring's stockings."
Fall stockings usually contain 20 percent trophy "brood trout" by weight, and Shingleton said this year would be no exception despite the loss of one hatchery's contribution.
"We didn't get any brood fish this year from the White Sulphur Springs [Federal] Hatchery," he explained. "But we were able to compensate with fish out of our own hatcheries, so this fall's stockings will have the usual percentage of brood trout."