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‘Be Gentle With the Fish’ Warns Biologist as Shenandoah National Park Reinstates Fishing

Good news for Shenandoah National Park: the drought conditions are slowing down. The park announced this week that they are ending the park-wide fishing closure.

The restrictions were in place since August of this year due to an extreme drought. Those conditions were seen throughout the southern Appalachian Mountains and caused fires in the park and wildfires in Great Smoky Mountains and New River Gorge National Parks.

Recent rainfall is bringing water back to the Virginia park’s rivers and creeks. While this may seem like good news for anglers, unfortunately, the drought may have damaged the local trout population.

“Be gentle with the fish and the fragile environment they inhabit. The dry conditions likely reduced spawning success,” said Evan Childress, a fish biologist, in the park’s press release. “Brook trout eggs spend the winter incubating in gravel in the streams, so it’s important to avoid walking through those areas to prevent trampling of eggs.”

For the most part, the park sees less fishing in the winter due to the chilly conditions and the fact that peak trout fishing in the area is from March through May.

Anyone aged 16 years and older needs a fishing license from the state of Virginia to fish in the park.

While fishing has returned to Shenandoah, the park-wide fire ban is still in effect. No open fires of any kind are allowed.

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