What to Know Your First Time Fishing

Are you a first-time angler in West Virginia? Get started by purchasing your West Virginia fishing license. The easiest way to purchase your West Virginia fishing license is by simply purchasing it online. All anglers age 15 and older are required to have a fishing license and licenses are good for the calendar year. Get hooked by catching bass, catfish, trout, walleye, and much more.

What to Bring

Your list of fishing gear is always going to vary on the weather, time of year, and the destination. If you are traveling with friends or a local guide, it is always best to consult with them on specific gear needs before your trip. However, if you’re just looking for the basics, here’s a helpful list that outlines gear almost every great angler needs.

  • West Virginia fishing license
  • Rod and reel
  • Bait and Tackle
  • Appropriate fishing clothes
  • Dry change of clothes
  • A water bottle with extra water
  • A rain jacket in case of rainy days
  • A small backpack
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellent

Proper Fishing Licenses

All anglers age 15 and older are required to have a fishing license. Fishing and hunting licenses are good for the calendar year. Licenses can be purchased at the beginning of each year. All licensed anglers must carry a valid form of identification while fishing. The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources offers licenses for both West Virginia residents and non-residents.  Lifetime licenses are eligible to purchase for residents, non-resident, full-time students of any West Virginia college or university. A variety and combination of hunting, trapping and fishing licenses can be purchased. 

Where to Fish

The Mountain State has an endless array of lakes, rivers and streams to fish. You can even fish year-round in more than 20,000 miles of streams and over 100 public fishing lakes.  West Virginia’s state parks and forests and wildlife management areas are home to many lakes, rivers and streams. With a wide variety of fishing locations to choose from, West Virginia offers excellent fishing opportunities for beginners and for the more experienced anglers. 

Types of Fish

West Virginia is home to a wide variety of sport fish.  Some of the native fish that can be found are trout, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, walleye, channel catfish, and musky. If you are going to a new area, make sure to check if there are any special area regulations. 

West Virginia Gold Rush

Take part in a West Virginia tradition. For the past four spring seasons, the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources has released more than 50,000 golden rainbow trout during the West Virginia Gold Rush. Each year anglers have the opportunity to reel in one of these prized trophy fish at more than 60 locations around the state.