Just like that, the official trout stocking season will end next week (May 31). Anglers will be getting more after the bass, bluegill, catfish and other warm-water contingent species as a greater percentage of the statewide fishing effort. But before putting up the trout gear, give these last chance options some serious consideration.
First and foremost, don’t forget about the delayed harvest as well as children’s and handicapped water bodies that convert to catch and keep on June 1. In addition, they are available to anglers of all ages come June 1 and through September 30. For the June 1 opening day of sorts, general trout regulations apply.
Folks shouldn’t feel guilty about creeling their catch since these regulations are conservation oriented. That is, the remaining trout are not expected to live through the hot summer months. For example, the Logan County airport pond and all statewide children’s and handicapped waters qualify for the June 1 option. The Clear Fork of Guyandotte River’s one mile catch and release stretch near its mouth with R. D. Bailey Dam by the manager’s residence is another local option under this criteria.
For a nifty big trout opportunity, the Bluestone River Canyon’s one-mile catch and release stretch within Pipestem State Park also opens up June 1. Conveniently, that’s the same day the aerial tram is slated for opening to give you a ride both down and out of the canyon. A fee is charged for the tram ride and the park should be called for local updates. Or as the folks over there kid, the ride down is free; you have to pay to go back up. Heartier souls can hike down and back up, but it’s a definite grind, especially if you’re packing your catch on ice.
Rain, high waters and a normal drop in fishing pressure per Little League baseball, spring gobbler hunts, lawn and garden duties all serve to save and spread out the May trout stock a bit. Hint, there is plenty of elbow room and carryover trout even after the official stocking season ends for those that put in the effort.
The WVDEP, DNR and several local County Commissions and Watershed Associations are providing additional angling through private stockings of catchable size rainbow trout and or fingerling brown trout plantings where cooler underground mine waters make some potential for them.
Here’s a sampling of those that got some fish one way of the other over the past few years: upper Pond Fork, West Fork of Pond Fork and Spruce Fork in the Boone and Boone/Logan County border turf; Dingess Run, Buffalo Creek and Elk Creek (between Man and Gilbert) in Logan County and Huff Creek in both Logan and Wyoming counties and Pigeon Creek in Mingo County.
As some of our readers and fishing fanatics always tell me, fish can and do swim quite well. And most of all, “They never get ‘em all.” These are the ones to go after right about now.