By: Chris Shaffer
Trout season is about to screech to a halt in West Virginia. On the heels of five months of aggressive trout stocking the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources is about to take their foot off the gas as lakes, rivers and streams begin to warm. Fortunately, there’s still time to cash in on excellent trout fishing this upcoming Memorial weekend. After spending several weeks filming in Mountaineer Country this spring we expect excellent action through the month of May and into mid-June.
West Virginia is rich when it comes to trout fishing waters. We were fortunate to film on more than a dozen of them in the last month or two. To say the trips were a success would be an understatement. We caught and released dozens of fish a day, which is a reflection of the state’s phenomenal trout fishing program. From what we are told stocking will be aggressive the week prior to Memorial weekend and lots of quality fish will be stocked.
While fishing pressure was high nearly every day we fished during a three-week period this spring we never had a bad day. No matter where we wet a line there was a combination of rainbows, browns, brooks and golden rainbows available. We caught them from a pound on up to about four pounds. The highlight of our filming Pautzke Outdoors came at dusk on the Blackwater River when we hooked what appeared to be an eight-pound trout that jumped out of the water right in front of our cameras and snapped the line. Fortunately, we were told that a kid caught that fish in the same hole a few days later.
Below is a recap of the primary waters we filmed in and what we caught fish on there. Every one of these systems should fish very well the next two weeks. Water conditions are good and stocking has been more than favorable for excellent fishing.
*If you want to catch a golden rainbow trout try using Yellow Jacket salmon eggs. Regardless of what stream we went to this was the best bait to catch them.
*Brook trout love Fire Bait. If you want to catch brook trout try using Natural Fire Bait. It was instant action when we did.
*The state stocks plenty of brown trout, but we only caught a handful over roughly three weeks while we were there. There’s a lot of brown trout still in the systems.
*Downsize. One of the most common mistakes we saw from anglers was using hooks and line that was too large. We recommend using size 10 to 14 hooks not the size 6 and 8 we saw many anglers using. Also, there’s no need for anything heavier than four-pound test. Many anglers that we talked to that we’re struggling were using 8 and 10 lb test. These are trout in clear water. The smaller you go the better chance you have of hooking the fish.
The brook trout fishing here was nothing short of incredible. We caught and released several dozen brook trout in a few hours. The key was staying away from the obvious areas where they stock. This means roadside pullouts, parking areas and picnic areas. Reason being, these are also the most heavily fished places. Walk away from these areas and look to cast behind large boulders, in slots and in deep pools. We used Peach Garlic and Natural Fire Bait with tremendous success.
Having filmed in West Virginia many times this was the first time we ever made it to the Glady Fork. We found trout scattered over a several mile section of water, but spent most of our time fishing in the campground areas amongst many other anglers. While we didn’t get time to walk past the lock gate into more remote areas that are stocked we did hear from many anglers that they found more success doing so because there is far less pressure there. Orange Deluxe, Natural Deluxe and Garlic Salmon Egg Fire Bait helped us catch and release easy limits here. The stretch of water we filmed at here was packed. There were at least 10 of us fishing a 50-yard section.
Buckhannon River & Left Fork:
The Buckhannon River rail section has to be loaded with trout still. While we only fished near the start of the rail section we saw the WVDNR load their rail cars with big rainbow and brook trout and head away from the road. Most of the fish averaged two and a half to three pounds. We found a lot of success here, but also noticed that it was big water and not easy to fish due to lots of poison oak and ivy, snakes and briars everywhere. Our success came on Peach Garlic and Garlic Salmon Egg Fire Bait and Chartreuse Garlic salmon eggs.