‘West Virginia Gold Rush,’ Gator Record, Gila Trout Habitat: State News

State news: Here's a roundup of state outdoors news, which includes items on a special trout stocking in West Virginia and a gator record in Arkansas.


There'll Be Gold in Them Streams

They're calling it the "West Virginia Gold Rush."

West Virginia Division of Natural Resources announced last week its plans to stock golden rainbow trout next year.

"Gold Rush" will kick off the DNR's spring trout stocking season April 2-6, including special stockings and events across the state. About 25,000 golden rainbows, all raised at the Bowden, Spring Run and Reeds Creek hatcheries, will be stocked during the week at state parks and several lakes and streams.

"The Gold Rush stocking will be the week after Easter when many schools in West Virginia and neighboring states are on spring break," said Jim Hedrick, Hatchery Program Manager, in a news release. "Since many children and their families will be off from school the Monday following Easter, we wanted to announce, in advance, five state parks where the golden rainbows will be stocked so they can plan to come out and have a unique fishing experience." 

Initial stockings (Monday, April 2) will be at Cacapon, Blackwater Falls, Pipestem Resort, Watoga and North Bend state parks. More state parks, along with about 27 lakes and streams, will receive stockings later.

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Gila Trout Stream Closed

Arizona Game & Fish is temporarily closing a Gila trout recovery stream in the aftermath of fire and flooding this summer that caused widespread habitat damage.

Frye Creek, located on Mount Graham in southeast Arizona, is closed in order for the agency to evaluate and restore the Gila trout population.

Gila trout is one of two native species in the state.

The stream will re-open once the agency determines habitat is again suitable for stockings and angling pressure.

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Record Gator Harvest Reported

In the two weekends of the state alligator season, Arkansas hunters harvested a record number of gators. Arkansas Game & Fish reported 94 alligators were taken in the 2017 season, up from 66 taken last year.

The agency said 152 permits were available in 2017, including 101 via public draw.

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Wolf Numbers Up, So Are Deer

Survey results from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources suggests the state's wolf population has increased 25 percent since 2015-2016, possibly partly due to an increase in deer population.

The survey concluded there are around 500 packs and 2,856 wolves in the state; last year there were 439 packs and 2,278 wolves. The margin of error is +/- 500 wolves.

The agency said deer numbers from spring 2015 to spring 2016 in the wolf range were up 22 percent.

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Here's Your Warning About Baiting

The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department says it's following up on tips about people putting out food to attract deer for the upcoming season. This is illegal.

Baiting or feeding deer and bear is prohibited at all times in Vermont.

"People are telling us they are seeing bags of grain labelled as deer food in some Vermont stores and they want to know if it is legal to put it out for deer," Col. Jason Batchelder, Vermont's chief game warden, said in a news release,. "Because the Fish and Wildlife Department and Board have jurisdiction over wildlife and hunting regulations but not commerce, selling the product is legal, but it is strictly against Vermont law to put it out for deer in our state whether for feed or bait." 

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