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MWV and WVDNR have partnered to create MWV Trout Adventure which is expected to become one of the finest trout fisheries in the Appalachians. With essential cooperation from the agency, MWV biologists and foresters are actively working to enhance native brook trout habitat and populations, water quality and physical stream conditions within the landscape-scale program. Ultimately, the MWV Trout Adventure program will involve over 538 miles of streams in the area.
Leadership from the WVDNR and MWV gathered to review progress and bring attention to the installation of permanent informational signs near the Laurel Creek Bridge, near Jettsville, WV. Signs at several access points identify the project area and request public cooperation in the catch-and-release initiative.
On hand for the announcement from WVDNR were Frank Jezioro, Agency director, as well as Mike Shingleton, assistant chief of Coldwater Fisheries for WVDNR, Steve Brown, acid stream restoration supervisor, and resource specialist John Rebinski.
MWV Forestry Division president Gene Hundley, and director of Forest Operations Trenor Hypes were joined by Sam Conly, manager of MWV forest lands in WV, and Aaron Plaugher, MWV Forester in charge of the Trout Adventure program.
"I can't say enough about MeadWestvaco’s Trout Adventure program and their cooperative commitment to sustaining native brook trout populations here in West Virginia," said Jezioro. "This is a terrific example of a private/public partnership that will enhance the fishing opportunities here today and for future generations of our anglers."
According to Hundley, “MWV Trout Adventure is an example of our commitment to the overall stewardship of the lands we manage. We recognize that the valuable resources entrusted to our care include not only our highly productive timber and energy assets but also embrace a host of ecosystem services such as wildlife, fisheries, water quality and outdoor recreation that benefit the people who visit here and the environment itself.”
MWV began Trout Adventure with the construction of liming stations to improve stream pH and with strategic placement of native materials in stream courses to create pools to promote spawning and provide low water refuges. With the first phases of the MWV Trout Adventure program now well underway, the fishing public is being requested to honor the voluntary catch-and-release of native brook trout in Laurel Creek.
According to the DNR, survival of released trout can be greatly enhanced by following simple handling and release procedures:
1. Time is important. Play and release the fish as quickly as possible to reduce unnecessary stress.
2. Keep the fish in the water as much as possible and use a pair of forceps or needle-nosed pliers to remove the hook.
3. Handle the fish with bare, wet hands. Do not squeeze the fish, put your fingers in the eyes or gills, or cause scale loss.
4. When releasing the fish, hold it gently in the water until the fish is ready to swim off on its own.
"Coupled with limestone sand treatment, establishing catch-and-release on brook trout streams will help build populations of these native fish and create a first class trout fishing experience for West Virginia sportsmen right here in our backyard," Plaugher said. "We very much appreciate the support of the Division of Natural Resources in taking this important step for MWV Trout Adventure."
MWV is asking the public to voluntarily honor the catch-and-release request since MWV Trout Adventure streams are not officially designated as catch-and-release streams under West Virginia fishing regulations.
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