Gov. Justice opens spring trout stocking season; announces 1.2 million fish to be stocked statewide this year


CHARLESTON, WV –  Gov. Jim Justice kicked off the spring trout stocking season this morning, ceremonially stocking the first of over 1,400 trout that were released at Buffalo Creek today and announcing that, through his Spring Trout Stocking Initiative and other improvements to trout stocking efforts across West Virginia, 1.2 million fish will be stocked statewide this year.

“It is amazing – the great stuff that we're doing from the standpoint of our fisheries and all the wonderful stuff we're doing in regard to the nature in this unbelievable state,” Gov. Justice said. “To everyone who has been involved, I congratulate you in every way in the world.”
Gov. Justice was joined for the event by West Virginia Division of Natural Resources Director Steve McDaniel, West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection Harold Ward, and members of the Buffalo Creek Watershed Association.
As part of the Governor’s Spring Trout Stocking Initiative, the stocking rate for Buffalo Creek has been permanently increased by 10% due to ideal angler access, water quality, and in-stream habitat improvements. Buffalo Creek is also scheduled to receive 2,500 fingerling rainbow trout this spring.

“Many of the successes we are experiencing in our trout program are a direct result of the ongoing $30 million in hatchery renovations that Governor Justice directed our agency to undertake when he first came into office,” Director McDaniel said. “Once complete, these renovations will enable us to substantially increase the number of trout stocked annually, in addition to the numerous improvements already in place under Governor Justice’s leadership.”

In April 2019, Gov. Justice directed the WVDNR to improve its trout stocking methods by spreading out over longer sections of streams, allowing fish to be available to anglers at many new and exciting locations.

In 2020, at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Justice provided free fishing opportunities to West Virginia residents by dropping the requirement to possess a fishing license for several months. Gov. Justice also directed the WVDNR to implement additional improvements to its fall trout stocking method and add more lakes and streams to the stocking schedule.

Friday also marked the 49th anniversary of the Buffalo Creek Disaster.
On February 26, 1972, a coal slurry dam collapse unleashed 132 million gallons of black waste water on several towns along Buffalo Creek, killing 125 West Virginians, injuring over 1,100, and leaving 4,000 people homeless.
“Forty-nine years goes by really fast, does it not? Through that 49 years, I can still remember it like it was yesterday; a tragedy beyond belief,” Gov. Justice said during Friday’s ceremony. “We always want to step back and remember all those wonderful folks we lost, all those that lost everything they had, and all those that were injured.”

The Governor was also joined by Perry Harvey, a member of the Buffalo Creek Watershed Association and a survivor of the Buffalo Creek Disaster.
“I’ve lived on Buffalo Creek all my life...where I still live now. It was about an inch from getting in my house, but the water went away from my house. I thank the good Lord up above for that, but we lost 125 of our neighbors,” Harvey said. “Governor Justice, we really appreciate you coming down here today.”

Following the ceremony at Buffalo Creek, Gov. Justice made his way to the nearby disaster memorial, where he placed an honorary wreath, presented by the local Lions Club, in memory of the lives that were lost and the lives that were forever changed as a result of the tragedy.

Contact Information

Jordan Damron,


Office of the Governor
State Capitol, 1900 Kanawha Blvd. E
Charleston, WV 25305

Office Phone:
304.558.2000 or 1.888.438.2731

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