The new regulations will take effect January 1, 2019, along with all other fishing regulation changes the commission okayed. The new rule changes will make four well known native brook trout watersheds catch and release only. The waters include Middle Fork of Williams River and all tributaries in Webster and Pocahontas Counties, Tea Creek (upstream of Tea Creek Campground) in Pocahontas County, Red Creek upstream of County Route 45 bridge and tributaries in Tucker County, and Otter Creek and tributary water in Randolph and Tucker Counties.
For many years native brook trout streams were largely protected because few knew where they were. The DNR also deliberately didn’t advertise their locations out of fear over fishing might negatively impact the fragile species. However, that wasn’t an authorized management plan according to Mark Scott, Assistant Chief for Fisheries for the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources.
“We want the public to enjoy these streams, and we’re spending federal dollars on them so we can’t keep it a secret,” he explained. ” We wanted to put on the catch and release regulation which will allow people to fish there and not harm the fishery.”
Two other regulations are more localized. One would make Edwards Run in Hampshire County a fly-fishing only water. The stream is being restored as a native brook trout stream upstream from Edwards Run Pond to the boundary of the Edwards Run Wildlife Management Area.