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Best Local Festival Secret in WV!
Outfitter Trout Stocking lures Fishermen to gauley

Biggest Fishing Secret in West Virginia!
by Jack Moe

Every year, whitewater rafting outfitters join forces with the state Division of Natural Resources to stock the Gauley with thousands pounds of trout by helicopter. The latest stocking was held on June 15 at the tail waters of the Gauley River below Summersville Dam and has attracted hundreds of fishermen hoping to catch one of the trout after it makes it’s flight into the water. The fish are brought in from the Indian Lake, private hatchery near Charleston, then loaded into buckets, carried to people in a helicopter and flown downstream in the world-class rafting site of the Gauley River. The pilot hovers above the whitewater as the volunteers dump the fish overboard into their new home. Eddie Lilly, president of Rivers Resort–the state’s largest whitewater outfitters–says this is an effort to increase tourism and economic impact to the area. “The outfitters pay for the costs of the stocking to demonstrate our appreciation to the local fisherman that give up their fishing holes to thousands of rafters in the fall Gauley rafting season.”

Eric Pories, the Executive Director of WVPRO, the association of outfitters, said, “WVPRO serves as the regional coordinator with the DNR, rafting outfitters, the fish hatchery, and Helicopter Flight Services in getting the fish paid for and providing volunteers to help with the stocking”

So many people arrived this year for the stocking near Summersville Dam, that they had to draw numbers just to get a seat on the helicopter. Stanton Steward who came from Seattle, commented “I came because I wanted to fly in a helicopter, and be part of the stocking event. I didn’t realize how wild and scenic the Gauley River was until I saw it from the air.”

As the helicopter and volunteers dumped the trout into the river many fisherman could be seen trying out their luck along the bank. For months to come this will be a familiar sight along the Gauley River until the fall season turns it into a whitewater rafting paradise.

For more information about the Gauley River see www.aaaAdventureOutdoors.com
For rafting information see: www.riversresort.com or www.Callwva.com