Catfish stocking begins in mid-May in West Virginia, and that provides another opportunity to encourage youth and families to get outdoors. Others include Kids to Parks Day on May 18, National Get Outdoors Day on June 8, and National Fishing and Boating week, June 1 -9. The latter includes Free Fishing days on June 8 and June 9 in West Virginia.
Fishing is especially attractive to youngsters and is a West Virginia tradition. Catfishing opportunities are available at many lakes in West Virginia’s State Parks in additional to stream and river fishing for other fish species.
“I got hooked on fishing at an early age,” said Kristi Steed, group sales coordinator at North Bend State Park. “My dad took me hunting and fishing as a child. I watched my son catch his first fish and for our family, a tradition continues.”
“Catfishing is increasing in popularity with young people,” according Frank Jezioro, director of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources. “Catchable-size catfish are stocked at user friendly lakes across the state as one of our warmwater fisheries programs.”
The DNR Wildlife Resources Section and West Virginia’s state parks have teamed to make catfishing even more rewarding. Tagged channel catfish will be stocked into lakes at these state parks in mid-May: Cacapon (Morgan Co.), Cedar Creek (Gilmer Co.), Chief Logan (Logan Co.), Pipestem (Summers Co.), and Tomlinson Run (Hancock Co.). Anglers who catch a tagged fish are asked to return the tag or the tag number along with information on the date of capture, if the fish was kept or released, and the name and address of the angler to WVDNR, 2311 Ohio Ave, Parkersburg, WV 26101. Anglers also can call in the information (304-420-4550) or provide the information via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Anglers who report a tagged fish will receive the “tagged reward,” park information, a certificate and a letter of congratulations via US mail after the information is received and recorded by DNR fisheries biologists. Each certificate has a choice of three prizes: a train ride at Cass Scenic Railroad, a boat ride on the sternwheeler “Island Belle” to Blennerhassett Island or a Recreational Activity Pass at Pipestem resort.
Other state park area lakes stocked with catfish but not tagged include: Berwind Lake (McDowell Co.), Laurel Lake (Mingo Co.), Little Beaver State Park Lake (Raleigh Co.), North Bend State Park Pond (Ritchie Co.), and Watoga State Park Lake (Pocahontas Co.).
Fishing at state parks and forests requires a West Virginia fishing license for anyone age 15 and older except for the free fishing days scheduled June 8 and 9, 2013. Also, residents who turn age 65 after January 1, 2012, are required to purchase a Senior Lifetime License.
There is no admission charge to state-operated parks and forests to go fishing. More than 30 areas in the West Virginia state parks system offer fishing opportunities onsite. Catfish stocking is in addition to spring trout stocking at many state park and forest locations.
Image courtesy West Virginia Division of Natural Resources