By John McCoy, The Herald Dispatch
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Before the coronavirus pandemic swept the country, West Virginia fisheries officials had hoped to have a new trout-management plan in place by Jan. 1, 2021.
The virus knocked those hopes into a cocked hat. The deadline now is sometime in the summer of 2021. Jim Hedrick, who is coordinating the effort to draft the plan, said the teams working on it made considerable progress despite the pandemic.
“We had meetings scheduled for right about the time COVID-19 hit,” said Hedrick, supervisor of hatcheries for the state Division of Natural Resources. “We had to delay those meetings until July, and use masks and social distancing to pull them off.”
During a series of meetings during the fall of 2019, DNR officials solicited anglers’ opinions about trout fishing in the Mountain State — what they liked, what they didn’t like and what needed to be improved.
“We got a lot of feedback, both from the meetings and from comments that were posted online,” Hedrick said. “From the online portion alone, we received more than 7,000 comments about what is good and bad.” …