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West Virginia State Fish

Brook Trout Salvelinus fontinalis Adopted: March 23, 1973
West Virginia state Fish
West Virginia State Fish: Brook Trout
Credit: John J. Mosesso/NBII.Gov

Adoption of the West Virginia State Fish

The designation of West Virginia's official state fish began with a survey, conducted in 1954 and 1955, by the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources. The survey sought preferences from West Virginia students, teachers, and sportsmen for an animal and a fish that would best represent the state.

In that survey, the brook trout was favored to be the state fish.

  1. Brook trout - 2,613 votes.
  2. Smallmouth bass - 2,213 votes.
  3. Largemouth bass - 1,503 votes.
  4. Muskellunge - 647 votes.
  5. Bluegill - 3 votes.

As a result of this survey, the Department of Natural Resources declared the brook trout the state fish of West Virginia. *

In 1973, Delegate Jackie Withrow of Raleigh introduced House Concurrent Resolution No. 6 proposing official recognition of the brook trout as the state fish and the black bear as the state animal.

On February 27, 1973, the West Virginia House of Delegates voted in favor of House Concurrent Resolution No. 6 and passed it on to the Senate for their consideration.

On March 23, 1973, the Senate also voted in favor of the brook trout as a fitting representative of the state and Salvelinus fontinalis became the official fish and the black bear became the official animal of the State of West Virginia.


Morgan, John G. "JP Abolition Bill Passed By Senate." Charleston Gazette 27 Mar 1973, 1. Print.
Welling, Robert C. "House Vote Due On Bingo Action." Charleston Daily Mail 27 Feb 1973, 9A. Print.
"Bear. Fish Resolution in House." Charleston Gazette 16 Feb 1973, 16B. Print.
Kid's Page. West Virginia State Legislature. 2003. 20 March 2009
The Charleston Daily Mail. Charleston, W.V.: 23 March 1973. Page 2A.
Shearer, Benjamin F. and Barbara S. State Names, Seals, Flags and Symbols: A Historical Guide Third Edition, Revised and Expanded. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press, 3 Sub edition, 2001.

Additional Information

Brook Trout: Trout Unlimited Conserving, protecting and restoring North America's coldwater fisheries and their watersheds.

Salvelinus fontinalis (brook trout): University of Michgan Musuem of Zoology: Animal Diversity Web.

Salvelinus fontinalis: CalPhoto photographs. The Biodiversity Sciences Technology group (BSCIT), a part of the Berkeley Natural History Museums at the University of California, Berkeley.

Salvelinus fontinalis (Mitchill, 1814): Froese, R. and D. Pauly. Editors. 2009.FishBase. World Wide Web electronic publication. www.fishbase.org, version (01/2009).

Salvelinus fontinalis (Mitchill, 1814): Integrated Taxonomic Information System! Here you will find authoritative taxonomic information on plants, animals, fungi, and microbes of North America and the world.

State Fish: Complete list of official state fish.

More symbols & emblems: Complete list of official West Virginia state symbols.

Brook Trout, by Nick Karas. 388 pages. The Lyons Press; 1st edition (November 2002) The much maligned brook trout gets star billing in this encyclopedic, readable study of Salvelinus fontinalis from Newsday outdoor columnist Karas.

The Brook Trout and the Determined Angler, By Charles Barker Bradford. 88 pages. Read Country Books (June 1, 2005) First published in the U.S.A. in 1900. The author was a well known fisherman and a prolific sporting writer who contributed many articles to the American field sports press of that era. This book is a collection of some of the best of these. Illustrated by full page black and white illustrations and photos and a number of small pen and ink sketches.

Brook trout canvas
Brook Trout Canvas

Canvas Print, The Brook Trout, by George Sheringham. (Showing Brilliant or Breeding Season Coloration) - 30" x 20" Canvas Print stretched over wood frame.

Trout and Salmon of North America
Trout and Salmon of North America
by Robert J. Behnke

Trout and Salmon of North America, by Robert J. Behnke. 384 pages. Free Press (September 24, 2002) Behnke, professor emeritus of fishery and wildlife biology at Colorado State University, has brought his more than 50 years of studying, and fishing for salmon and trout, to wonderful effect. He provides readers with an authoritative compendium of the evolution, biology, ecology, habitats and behaviors of these prized game fish. A capsule legend that includes scientific name, other common names, habitat, size, life span and diet accompanies each entry, amazingly illustrated by Tomelleri, whose fish seem to shimmer on the pages. Habitat maps, which include coastal waters, rivers, streams and lakes, are detailed and specific enough to be taken on fishing excursions. The book includes a good deal of fishing lore, as in the notations that describe the best flies, bait and lures for specific types of fish and locales.

About Trout: The Best of Robert Behnke from Trout Magazine, by Robert J. Behnke. 272 pages. The Lyons Press (September 1, 2007) Behnke brings scientific expertise, a sense of humor and a flair for drama to this collection of 43 essays previously published as his About Trout column in conservation organization Trout Unlimited's Trout magazine. Behnke considers the evolution, historic and current distribution, biological characteristics and defining physical traits of various species of trout and salmon-from the common brown trout and well-known Atlantic salmon to the rare Apache trout and the once-presumed extinct, now-endangered Alvord cutthroat trout.

Trout Rigs & Methods
Trout Rigs & Methods
by Dave Hughes

Trout, by Ray Bergman. 576 pages. The Derrydale Press (October 25, 2000) Trout is arguably the finest single volume ever produced on how, why, and where to catch trout. In spite of being originally published in 1938 (Penn Publishing Company), it remains utterly relevant.

Trout Rigs & Methods, by Dave Hughes. 322 pages. Stackpole Books (January 10, 2007) Clear and simple instruction and explanation describes 18 trout rigs and 81 methods to fish them. In moving water: rigs and methods for dry flies and emergers, nymphs, wet flies, streamers, and dry flies and droppers. In stillwater: dry flies and sunk flies.Fly fishers learn the specifics of the rig--types of fly line, lengths and tapers of leader and tippet, the flies, and split shot, putty weight, strike indicators, droppers, point flies, and indicators--and the full array of methods to present the rig to the trout.

Flyfisher's Guide to Virginia
Flyfisher's Guide to Virginia: Including
West Virginia's Best Fly Fishing Waters

by David Hart

Essential Trout Flies, by Dave Hughes. 92 pages. Stackpole Books (April 2000) A core list of flies that will catch trout anywhere, in every season, this collection includes the most important patterns in a wide range of styles, from dry flies to streamers. The tying steps for each pattern are illustrated in step-by-step photos with detailed captions, followed by photos and recipes for the six most useful variations-217 patterns in all. Each chapter features a description of the insect the pattern imitates as well as expert information on how and when to fish the fly.

Flyfisher's Guide to Virginia: Including West Virginia's Best Fly Fishing Waters, by David Hart. 529 pages. Wilderness Adventures Press; 2nd edition (September 30, 2006) The Flyfisher's Guide to Virginia is the most comprehensive book ever written on flyfishing in Virginia and West Virginia. David describes in detail each water with tips on how to fish the waters, recommended flies, hatch charts, and stream facts. He also covers some of the little known but great flyfishing gems in each state.

Trout & Salmon, [ Magazine Subscription ] Features, news on all aspects of game fishing.

Complete line of fishing equipment including rods, reels, rod and reel combinations, fly fishing gear, bait and spin casting rods and reels, ice fishing equipment, lures and flies, and other accessories. All major brands.

* Note: The black bear was the preferred animal and was subsequently adopted as such, also through House Concurrent Resolution No. 6