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West Virginia Wildlife
Shavers Fork
Patrick McMurtry Creating Fish Habitat

May 1, 2013
Reporter: Patrick McMurtry
Videographer: Brad Rice


It's hard to believe by looking at this part of Shavers Fork today, but just a couple of years ago this stretch of water was hardly more than shallow stretch of water too hot for fish to hang out in much of the year. That's a far cry from what it was a hundred years ago. Steve Brown, a West Virginia Division of Natural Resources biologist, explains the history of this well known stream.

"Shavers Fork was historically one of the best brook trout streams in the Eastern United States. Historical logging, railroad construction, acid rain, a whole host of problems over the years has reduced its ability to hold fish and provide fishing for fishermen."

Thanks to some work done by the DNR to put permanent structures in strategic locations, this little hole is full of trout. You can see the way the water is flowing around what's called a J structure. This provides a deep pool where the water will stay cool and the fish will, well, stay.

"It's a place to be, it provides resting places, it provides feeding places,places in this case that helps cool the mainstream. If you're a fisherman looking for a place to fish, that is a place to fish and it wasn't before." says Brown.

The DNR has done a lot of work on Shavers Fork. They pump limestone sand in to address the acidity issue, leaving one big issue to solve.

"The stream acidity problem was solved, what was left was a habitat problem and a temperature problem. These mainstream restoration structures are designed to address both." says Brown.

If you look, you'll find about twenty of these structures up and down the upper Shavers Fork, and if you can see below the water, you'll see a ton of trout just hanging out, and that's exactly what the biologists, and fishermen, want to see.

LEARN MORE at the W. Va. DNR


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