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Photo courtesy of the West Virginia Department of Commerce

Governor Jim Justice announces continuation of free fishing for West Virginians

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.VA. —  Governor Jim Justice announced that West Virginia residents can enjoy another month of free fishing. The requirement to possess a fishing license to fish in state-regulated waters has been waived for state residents through May 31st. Anglers are asked to continue practicing safe social distancing measures. 

The DNR regular trout stockings will continue as set forth in the 2020 Fishing Regulations. With these regular stockings, thousands of golden rainbow trout are being stocked in streams and rivers throughout West Virginia. Anglers are encouraged to watch out for for specially tagged Goldens.

Of the 50,000 golden trout stocked, 150 fish have specially marked, numbered tags. Anglers that reel in a catch with a numbered tag, may enter to win one of five grand prizes. Anglers may register their prize catch at www.goldrushwv.com.

DNR Law Enforcement will continue to patrol all state waterways. Officers may require proof of West Virginia residency, a valid driver’s license, or a state-issued ID. Existing license and stamp requirements for non-residents will remain in place. All fishing regulations remain in effect both for residents and nonresidents; these include bag limits, slot limits, catch-and-release areas, and fly-fishing-only areas.

This waiver of the license requirement applies only to fishing licenses. It also includes a waiver for trout and conservation stamps. All requirements for hunting licenses remain in effect.

Anglers are reminded not to interfere with trout stocking personnel, follow social distancing guidelines and maintain a safe distance from hatchery staff. A DNR Law Enforcement officer will join each stocking run.

To learn more about fishing in West Virginia, visit wvdnr.gov

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