I recently had the chance to fire some questions at the guys from 304 Outdoors. These guys have a passion for fishing West Virginia that definitely shows as they discuss their trout and bass fishing in the Mountain State.
Tre and Dustin, we need start with the obvious question. Who is the better fisherman? Haha. Seriously, what are each of your strongest fishing skills?
Dustin really knows how to read a river. What I mean by that is that he knows where the fish are going to be and he has been fishing some of these waters so long that he knows them like the back of his hand. Dustin knows how to read the depth better than anyone and can determine what shelf of the water table those fish are at accurately. This always gives him a great chance in producing a lot of fish on a daily basis.
Tre’s persistent and is very good at a spot and stalk fishing technique. He loves the challenge of targeting a certain fish and finding what they’re wanting. He is also very good at knowing what the fish are targeting on that time of year and time of day. He studies the fish and pays close attention to what’s going on above the water and below.
When did you each start fishing and what got you into fishing to the level you are at now?
Dustin: I started fishing before I think I could walk…haha. Just kidding, but I believe all aspects of fishing was started at a very young age. My grandpa always took me out to the river or on the boat. I fell in love with the outdoors and never looked back honestly.
Tre: I started fishing in my backyard on the South Branch of the Potomac back when I was 8 or so. I really taught myself how to fish. I can remember riding my bike down the road to the local gas station just to get worms for the day. I’d spend countless hours fishing and taking in how blessed I was to be doing this. We can both agree it’s not all about catching the fish for us, but just enjoying what’s in our backyard. We grew up in the woods or in the middle of a stream. Not because we were forced, but because we wanted to be there and experiencing it with our family members. Yet, now we get to share it together and make memories that will last us forever.
Why do you love West Virginia fishing so much?
Tre has been out west and fished. Don’t get me wrong. It’s amazing… It really is, but this state has unbelievable fishing. It has so much to offer for every type of fishing. People don’t realize that West Virginia could easily have the best trout streams in the Eastern United States. If…we establish new laws and rules to regulate our streams more efficiently our state could be that good without a doubt.
Dustin and I really focus on getting off the beaten path. Whether it’s a stocked stream or not. The amount of streams with our beautiful native brooke trout and wild rainbows and wild browns are fish that take your breath away. Walking miles upon miles into the woods to follow a stream where you can tell many don’t dare to travel is available everywhere around this state. If you enjoy the outdoors like we do then you getting the best of both worlds. Just an endless amount of opportunities here with fishing and sometimes you just have to go where others don’t in order to experience it.
Trout fishing seems like a major target for you guys. What are your favorite trout waters in the 304?
Well we really break up our trout fishing into two categories. Stocked fish and non-stocked fish. Majority of the time we are chasing those wilds and native fish, but don’t get me wrong you can have just as much fun on a stocked stream.
We really love the North Branch of South Branch, Elk River, Dry Fork, Gandy Creek, Williams River, Greenbrier, and Shavers Fork. These streams can be heavily crowded, but can also be some of the best stocked fishing around. Like we said before, everyone knows the hot spots, but with a little determination and exercise you can find fish.
Water levels change and that plays a huge role in moving the fish around. You never know where you’ll end up catching a fish, but I suggest you not to pass up any stretch of water because we have caught some big trout in shallow and very deep.
Our favorite native and wild streams in West Virginia… Well they wouldn’t be our favorite if everyone knew about them haha. Honestly though there are so many to offer here in West Virginia it’s insane. All you have to do is find a map, locate a stream, and get after it because the majority of the time you’re going to get into some fish. Most people don’t want to walk that far, but if you’re wanting a day packed with the outdoors just grab yourself a map, find some streams, and go catch some of the most beautiful fish you could ever imagine.
How has this year’s fishing been compared to past years?
One word to sum it up? Unbelievable…haha. Dustin has caught 4 trout over 8lbs and one over 9lbs! Those aren’t an exaggeration either. Tre has also done very well hooking up with a 7 1/2lb trout and a couple 5lbers. Native fish and wilds have been lights out as well. We have hooked into some beautiful fish with some crazy size to back that up. Bass fishing this summer has been nothing short of awesome either. We take the boat out as often as possible and usually land some pigs, but nothing beats being in the middle of nowhere looking up at the mountains and then landing a beautiful native brook trout.
Are you exclusively fly fishermen for trout? What are your favorite fly rods?
We like to mix it up honestly. We will always have both rods with us, but it all depends on what the fish are targeting. If we are successful with the fly rod that day then we will stick with it, but if we aren’t having any luck we will go conventional. We really had the fly rods out more this year than ever and that’s what we wanted to do because we wanted to establish a confidence in both. Dustin’s go to fly rod is his Three Forks fly rod and Tre’s is his G Loomis Pro4x.
What is your dream fishing trip outside of West Virginia?
We both have agreed to make a trip to Alaska together sometime or Montana together. Tre has been to Montana already, but he said it’s unbelievable and still one of his favorites. So we will be making a trip to film and fish in the upcoming for sure.
Your amazing photography of your catches brings out the natural pieces of art that trout are. What camera(s) are you using to capture these images?
We usually use our Sony A6300 to shoot our videos and pictures, but we also use our iphones and go pros to capture different angles for our videos.
Your YouTube channel seems to be getting started. What future plans do you have for posting videos?
Yes, we have two of our videos already up. Turkey hunt from this past spring and our trout video. Bow season is right around the corner come September and we will be making some awesome videos so stay tuned! Plans for us on there is just to share with you what our journey consists of on our adventures. Doing some product reviews as well and future Q and A for viewers that are interested in anything we do as a team.
West Virginia is such a great fishing State and Tre and Dustin from 304_Outdoors demonstrate why. Follow them on Instagram and you will see example after example of the beauty and fishing that the Mountain State holds.