Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia on June 9, 1974 · Page 55
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June 9, 1974

Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia · Page 55

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Charleston, West Virginia
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Sunday, June 9, 1974
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Page 55
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5D -June9,1974 Sunday Gazette-Mail Charleston, West Virginia By Skip Johnson The West Virginia trout stocking program, while one of the best and most efficient in the nation, is emphasizing quantity fishing, rather than quality. The quantity is evident from the fact that 400,000 pounds of trout were placed in state streams and lakes from Jan. 1 through June 7, with additional stockings to be made this fall. At the same time, stream improvement work, which could improve the quality of trout fishing, has been relatively meager. Some other states, which admittedly have bigger game and fish budgets than West Virginia, have been placing more emphasis on improving trout hab'itat. For example. New York and Michigan are spending large sums of money on improving the quality of waters which are natural producers of wild trout. Similar projects could also be carried out on p'ut-and-take waters. Some of our stocked streams contain stretches of shallow, silted and unshaded water that is poor trout habitat. Restoring habitat in this water, while a long-term process, would be a commendable goal. New York has also gotten into leasing of streams in private land, which is a policy envied by our own fish biologists. Stream Improvement Work Is Spotty Instances of improvement work on West Virginia streams are spotty, not because of disinterest by the fish biologists but because of the expense involved. Now, with the new $3 trout stamp expected to make the program at least partly self-sufficient, more projects can be undertaken which will improve the quality of trout fishing rather than the quantity. A considerable amount of habitat work was done during CCC days, primarily the building of log dams to create deeper pools, but only remnants of these dams still exist. In recent years, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), using STEP labor, built rock-filled wire-basket dams and planted shade trees on a 10-mile section of Gandy Creek in Randolph and Pocahontas Counties. These rock dams lasted longer than the log structures of CCC days although they still required almost yearly maintenance. DNR fish biologists have also poisoned sections of trout streams to clean out overpopulations of rough fish, and have followed with restockings of fingerling trout. ; The best example of stream improvement in West Virginia is the limestone drum on Otter Creek in Randolph County, which has been in operation for 10 years and is providing trout fishing where none previously existed because of acid water. The drum project was pioneered by Pete Zurbuch, former chief of the wildlife resources division and currently planning ;3nd research chief at the DNR's Elkins Operation Center. Trout Stocking Is Vicious Cycle ; Zurbuch believes the cost of entering into extensive stream .improvement work in West Virginia would probably be prohibitive, even with the new license. · ; He says such a program would require sizable crews and yearly maintenance and, if conducted on a large scale, would cost 'as much as the trout stocking operation. i Zurbuch also believes the results, as far as maintaining good ;wild trout populations, would be insignificant, although he ·concedes such projects would produce fishing in stretches of put- 'and-take streams which are currently unfit for trout. The problem is that the more trout West Virginia produces, the more is demanded. We are caught in a vicious cycle of rais- ·ing trout, putting them in streams to be caught out in a few ·weeks, and then starting over again. »«. I This program is costing approximately $300,000 yearly, and ?will increase substantially when the new Reeds Creek Hatchery -·in Pendleton County is completed. The new hatchery, along with *the inflated cost of trout food, were the main reasons the special »trout stamp was needed. 'l At least the trout program will become partly self-sufficient ?with the new stamp. The first person you hear complaining, in- ; ;Vite him to make a donation to the bass stream of his choice. i- West Virginia has many bass streams which would benefit from ^stream improvement projects. JUST RECEIVED New Shipments of VOLVOS and MERCEDES BENZ Volvo 15 VOLVOS Including 142 Four Door Sedans, 144 Four Dr. Sedans, 145 Station Wagons, 164 Four Dr. · Sedans. 10 MERCEDES BENZ Including 240 Diesels, 280Coupes, 450 SE, 450 SEL 4 Door Sedans TAG GALYEAN Virginia at Truslow--344-2521 J* I Clean-Up Winners to Watch Pirates-L.A. The 50 boys named as winners of the Clean-Up, campaign will receive a real treat on Aug. 17. The winners will travel to Pittsburgh and watcb '.te Pirates battle the bo., st-hitting team in the National League -- the Los Angeles Dodgers. 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