CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Last June's derecho windstorm and October's superstorm Sandy snowstorm will affect the state's upcoming trout-stocking season, but fisheries officials don't expect any major problems.
"Our hatchery people got the job done," said Mike Shingleton, the Division of Natural Resources' head of coldwater fisheries. "We had major power outages during the derecho, but our people were able to keep the pumps running on emergency generator power and keep us from losing many trout.
"The snowstorm brought power outages and took a lot of trees down. We handled the power outages just fine, but the downed trees might affect our ability to stock all of the usual spots on some of our streams."
Shingleton said weather would probably affect January's stockings worse than anything else. All but one of the DNR's trout hatcheries are located in the state's eastern mountains, where snows tend to be heavier and road conditions tend to be worse.
"We have waters scheduled to be stocked starting [Jan. 2]," Shingleton said. "Right now we have long-term forecasts that call for at least some precipitation. We want to stock, but we won't send our [hatchery truck] drivers out on unsafe roads."
All told, 54 waters - 28 streams and 26 lakes or ponds - are scheduled to receive trout by the end of January.
"Those represent all the waters designated for weekly, biannual and monthly-plus-January stockings," Shingleton said. "Our guidelines call for all those waters to get one stocking in January."
The stocking plan calls for those waters to receive a total of 35,000 to 36,000 pounds of trout. Shingleton said most of the trout should run 10 to 11 inches in length.
"Some of the hatcheries were able to reach the size goal, but because of the power outages and late-summer low-water conditions, some of them came up a little short," he explained. "But overall, the fish we stock will be close to the size we want."
There will, however, be fewer trophy trout.
"Roughly 10 to 15 percent of the fish, by weight, will be [large] 'brood' trout. That's short of our usual goal of 20 percent. We didn't produce as many brood fish as usual this year," Shingleton explained.
The Sandy snowstorm, which knocked down trees in the state's mountainous regions, will prevent stockings on at least one section of one major stream.