Woods and Waters An outdoor blog by John McCoy

Pa. Game Commission photo

Has anyone ever noticed that discussions of really, really good trout streams always seem to include the words, “The fishing’s great — but watch out for the rattlesnakes.”

I know of at least four or five superb West Virginia trout streams that never — ever — get mentioned without someone issuing that warning.

Maybe I’m just lucky, but I have yet to see a rattler on a Mountain State stream. I heard one once, back in 1982 or thereabouts, on Shavers Fork of the Cheat. Interestingly, Shavers is not one of the streams allegedly infamous for its rattlesnake hazard.

Perhaps those who spread tales of reptilian danger are more intent on keeping their favorite fishing spots from becoming too crowded than they are on protecting fellow anglers from harm. Just perhaps…