VALLEY GROVE, WV — Due to lowered water levels in the lakes during mining operations, the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (WVDNR) will temporarily suspend trout stocking at Bear Rock Lakes Wildlife Management Area (WMA) after the first stocking of April. Fish designated for stocking at Bear Rocks Lake WMA will be added to the final April and May stockings at Castlemans Run Lake.
Tunnel Ridge, LLC, will be mining under the Ohio County lakes and plans to lower the water level in Baker Lake and Bear Lake by one-half beginning April 18. The WVDNR expects the water level to be lowered for approximately two months during mining operations. However, it may remain lowered for a longer period, depending on the effect of mining operations and rainfall events. The WVDNR will assess any damage to the dam and surrounding area after mining is completed.
“For the safety of anglers, hunters, and other members of the public who enjoy Bear Rock Lakes, WVDNR will be doing a safety assessment of the lakes and Wildlife Management Area once the longwall mine has passed under the area,” said Paul Johansen, chief of the WVDNR Wildlife Resources Section. “Fishing at the lake may or may not be available while the lakes are drawn down, depending on the outcome of the safety assessment.”
Bear Rock Lakes WMA will remain open to hunters for the 2022 spring gobbler season.