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West Virginia Wildlife
Catfish Stocking
Katelyn Sykes Hit The State Parks For Some Great Fishing

June 25, 2014
Reporter: Katelyn Sykes
Videographer: Brad Rice


Staff members of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources have a big job to do.

On this particular day, they were unloading hundreds of pounds of channel catfish out of a truck into a lake at North Bend State Park. It’s all a part of the DNR’s catfish stocking program.

"We stock catfish somewhere between 15 and 20 lakes this time of year,” said Chris O’Bara, DNR biologist. “They're fairly small lakes. Lakes that we normally think where families will come to fish."

About 6,000 pounds of catfish are being stocked at lakes from Berkeley Springs to White Sulphur Springs. Some of these fish are raised in the state while others are bought from vendors from out of state. Once they are 2 years old they are ready to go into these ponds and lakes.

"Our staff come from all over the state,” O’Bara said. “We take the fish out of the private vendor trucks, weigh them, come up with a number per pound so we know how many we're basically stocking and then we'll put them into small pickup trucks, small stocking trucks and we transport those fish across the state. When we get to one of the lakes we want to stock, we usually take them out with nets or we may drain the tanks right into the lakes."

The catfish are between 1 and 3 pounds. Anywhere from 50 to 100 in each lake are tagged. If you catch one, you can win a free night of camping at several of the state parks. Sending the tags back to the DNR also provides vital information.

"By getting the tags in, we can determine how many of the fish are actually caught and we can get a little bit of an idea of who is coming to our state parks," he said.

It’s a great partnership between the DNR and state parks. The DNR is providing a fun, family activity that is getting people to the state parks to enjoy even more.

LEARN MORE at the W. Va. DNR


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