Day 1: Fisheries Camp

May 16, 2016: D(el)ay 1 was not the smoothest of days, but it was certainly one full of fun and fishes.

The morning started out with biscuits, eggs, and gravy, and finished at a town outside of Elkins to see the Bowden Fish Hatchery. This hatchery was once federally managed, but it was handed off to the state WV DNR because the feds didn’t want to farm non-native species.

Now, at the hatchery, a plethora of trout are raised, including brook, brown, rainbow and golden (well, golden is technically just a strain of rainbow). We saw fingerlings to full-fledged adults, and we even saw them be fed.

We then got our own feeding (lunch) and found out that squirrels at parks don’t particularly care for bread crusts. Their true hankering is for Cheetos.

From here, we took a few wrong turns to go get our waders wet while electroshocking. Lord knows I love donning those waders.

The highlight? Catching West Virginia’s state fish for the first time. Look how pretty!

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After spotty cell service and a final call into Jackson’s Mill, our meal was held and we got our dinner – woo! Post-dinner discussion was about bugs, which are kind of gross. However, they’re excellent bioindicators, meaning that their presence or absence can mean something to the stream, whether it be positive or negative.

Their presence was a positive one for me because it means I got to go out and enjoy the beautiful day in the wild and wonderful outdoors.

And hey, what’s the ending of camp without a fire?

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