You know how it is to have one of those days where you feel good from the inside out and from the top down. When your entire body is grinning. When you remember how grand life is and how lucky you are to know who you know. I read an article yesterday stating the West Virginia DNR just did another fish stock, it made me smile and brought me back…
Last fall, early in the morning a crew of raft guides, river rangers, DNR staff, and the then executive Director of WVPro- Mark Lewis met at the Summersville Dam to release 1500 lbs of rainbow trout into the Gauley River. I knew flying in a helicopter would be fun, I didn’t know my entire body would smile despite having fishy water all over it.
So how do fish fall from the sky? Well, it inevitably starts with a helicopter, a truckload of fish, a crew of raft guides (who would do anything for a free helicopter ride), and a coalition between the West Virginia Professional Outfitters Association (WVPRO) and the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources. The mission: get 1500 lbs of rainbow trout to inaccessible parts of the Gauley River. The reason: keep the fishing good so the anglers are happy, the government gets some additional funding through fishing licenses/stamps and tourists have another way to enjoy the great outdoors in Southern West Virginia.
It’s pretty amazing to fly in a helicopter over the Gauley River. It’s even more amazing to know you are helping an ecosystem feel its pre-dam roots. And really the icing on the cake is to come together as a river community; to work together, to laugh together, to smell like fish together and for one day be reminded that the resource/ rafting fees our guests pay do something really good for the boaters, fishermen and the entire Southern West Virginia community.