First Stocking of Hinkle and Deegan Lakes Set for Sunday; Fishing Hot Spot to Open March 17

By Julie Perine on March 08, 2018 via

The first stocking of Hinkle and Deegan Lakes is set for around 1 p.m. Sunday, March 11 as the first truckload of rainbow, brook, brown and golden trout arrives from Indian Lakes Fisheries of Elk View. 
Residents are welcome to attend the event, which has become an unofficial celebration of the onset of spring fishing season. The lakes officially open for angling at daybreak, March 17. 
“I don’t think some people realize how big of a tradition this is,” said Bridgeport Volunteer Firefighter Mike Freeman. “It’s been going on for more than 50 years. Many remember back in the 1960s and ‘70s that it was a huge thing. People – including members of the Bridgeport Junior High Outdoors Club - went and camped out overnight so they would be there to fish on the very first day.”
Subsequent stockings will take place on Friday, March 30 and Friday, April 20.
“This Sunday is the big stocking. People can come and watch the fish be put into the lakes,” Freeman said. “As for the other two dates, the fishery comes out at their convenience and puts the fish in.”
In recent years, about 3,500 pounds of trout were added to the popular fishing spot, but this year, there will be even more. Volunteer Firefighter Mike Freeman said the budget for the purchase has been increased this year by $3,000.
To fish at Hinkle & Deegan Lakes, area residents must purchase a seasonal permit. For $25 each, permits are being sold at Benedum Civic Center. Freeman said he expects to pick the permits up from the printers and deliver them to the Civic Center Thursday, March 8. Money generated by permit sales goes back into the program, Freeman said, covering the costs of the fish. If any proceeds remain, it will be used to help fund needs of Bridgeport Fire Department.
“We hope to at least break even. That’s what we strive for,” Freeman said. “And if we make a few dollars, that’s great.”
The Benedum Civic Center's hours of operation vary, but typically doors are open 8 a.m.- 4 p.m. Before stopping by, call 304-842-8240. 
Necessary even if anglers have a West Virginia fishing license, permits are good for one year through February 2019 and are necessary for fisherman age 12 and older. More than 400 permits are purchased annually with proceeds going back into the program. City officials remind anglers that they cannot fish at Hinkle & Deegan Lakes until opening day, daybreak on Sat., March 17. 

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