Wv’s hunting and fishing industries bring in half a billion dollars a year
MASON COUNTY, WV (WOWK) – Members of the West Virginia Legislature’s Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources subcommittee and other state officials caused a stir in Mason County on Wednesday .
The Apple Grove Hatchery, located at Robert C. Byrd Locks and Dam, is the largest hot water hatchery in the Highlands State. As such, it is a major source of income and recreation.
There is nothing fishy about this operation:
âWe breed catfish here, walleye, musk, hybrid striped bass, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass. Wherever we need it in the state, our biologist tells us [what] we need it, that’s where it’s happening, âsays Stephen McDaniel of the West Virginia Natural Resources Division (WVDNR).
State officials came to the hatchery to check on the condition of one of West Virginia’s most treasured natural resources, these warm water fish.
âIt’s definitely a big part of our tourism industry, and therefore [I] was really looking forward to hearing more about the role the hatchery plays in this process, âsaid delegate Paul Espinosa, (R) Jefferson.
Legislative officials believe it is visits like these that help inform their views on the challenges facing hatcheries.
âI think we will be better prepared to deal with any legislation that might be introduced in the next legislative session next year,â Espinosa said.
âRemember, the hunting and fishing industry in West Virginia brings in over half a billion dollars each year to the local economy,â McDaniel says.
The tour included hands-on demonstrations and a rainy field tour, all with the goal of showing how important operations like these hatcheries are to the Mountain State.
âWe probably sell more fishing licenses to hot-water fish hunters than to trout. We need hatcheries like this to complement that, âMcDaniel says.
The fishing season for these warm-water species is year-round, but authorities say the best time to fish them is in June.
For more information on where to get a license to do so, visit the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources website here.
West Virginia MNR officials say June 12 and 13 are âfree fishingâ days where you can go out and fish without a license if you want to see some of these warm water fish up close.
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