The West Virginia DNR officials want the new trout management plan to cater to the wishes of both stocked-trout and wild-trout anglers. Agency administrators hope to have the plan in place by 2019. State officials want to update the agency’s trout-management plan, so they’re asking anglers to let them know what they like and dislike about the way they do things. Jim Hedrick, the DNR’s acting head of fisheries, said the agency is taking a different approach from the way it has done business up to now.
“In the past, we’ve developed our plans first, before we put them out for public comment,” he explained. “We’re turning that around this time. We’re first going to ask anglers what they want, what they like and what they dislike about trout fishing; after that, we’ll attempt to develop management strategies based on what the anglers say.”
Why do you fish for trout?
What do you like about current trout-fishing opportunities or management strategies in West Virginia?
What about these opportunities are you dissatisfied with?
“We want to know what anglers are thinking,” Hedrick said. “This will be a comprehensive plan that will include both our stocked-trout and wild-trout fisheries. We want to hear from folks, from bait fishermen to fly fishermen.”
Currently, the best way to answer those questions is by email. Hedrick said emailed replies should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We’re also working on a way that would allow people to comment through our website, www.wvdnr.gov,” he added. “We’re hoping to have that up very soon, because trout fishing really gets rolling after March 1. A lot of anglers are going to be out there. They’re going to be looking at our website, and they’re going to be thinking about trout fishing. We believe it’s a perfect time to roll this out.”
Hedrick said DNR officials also are trying to get a text-messaging number so anglers can comment using their cell phones.
People who prefer to answer the questions in person will be able to do so at the DNR’s sectional meetings, which will be held on March 12 in Fairmont, Lewisburg, Martinsburg, Milton, Spencer and Weston; and on March 13 in Beckley, Elkins, Glen Dale, Logan, Moorefield and Parkersburg.
“We’re going to have a special station [at those meetings] so we can introduce the trout management plan to the public and take their comments,” Hedrick said.