“Probably the biggest change is that we now have a statewide 30-fish daily creel and 60-fish possession limit for game fish that didn’t have a creel limit before,” said Mark Scott, assistant chief of fish management for the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources.
The new creel and possession limit went into effect Jan. 1 for black and white crappie in aggregate, bluegill and all other sunfish species in aggregate, all other game fish currently not under a creel limit, and yellow perch.
“We felt it would be prudent to set a baseline limit for fish that didn’t have a limit before while we gather data to see if there needs to be less restrictions or more,” Scott said.
Additional changes to the state’s fishing regulations include:
- A river-wide 14” to 22” slot limit with a daily creel of six fish with only one fish allowed over 22” is in place for all black bass in the New River from the confluence of the New and Gauley rivers upstream to the West Virginia/Virginia state line excluding the 12-mile catch and release section and Bluestone Lake (from the dam upstream to the mouth of Indian Creek).
- The Kanawha River (from the confluence of the Gauley and New rivers downstream to the Buffalo Bridge) has a four-fish daily creel limit with a 15” minimum size limit for all Moronidae species, including striped bass, white bass, and hybrid striped bass.
- A two-fish daily creel limit for all trout is in place on Stephens Lake in Raleigh County
The WVDNR is also introducing three new licenses:
- A three-year hunting and fishing license (Class X3)
- A hunting and fishing license with trout stamp included (Class XP)
- A three-year hunting and fishing license with trout stamp included (Class XP3)
For more information about fishing regulations in West Virginia, download a copy of the 2021 Fishing Regulations at wvdnr.gov/fishing/fishing_