Home to wide-open lakes, expansive rivers and babbling brooks, West Virginia is an angler’s paradise. Youth fishing is part of the heritage of fishing in Almost Heaven.
Whether you and your family are expert anglers or are looking to start the sport, fishing in West Virginia is the perfect activity for families to spend quality time together and create lasting memories.
If you’re new to fishing, below you’ll find a list of tips and tricks to get started and try your hand in the waters of West Virginia.
- Buy a fishing license. A fishing license can be purchased online here. .Located throughout the state you’ll find approximately 150 retail license agents or purchase directly from the WVDNR Hunting and Fishing License Unit by calling (304) 558-2758. Note: Residents and non-residents under the age of 15 do not have to purchase a license.
- Purchase fishing equipment. Visit your local sporting goods store or larger retail stores to find a beginner’s fishing kit, which includes a basic rod and reel combination and some tackle. You’ll also need live bait, which works the best for beginning anglers. Keep it simple at first, and after you get some fishing experience, you can add different types of gear for specific fish or water conditions.
- Find a place near you to go fishing. For first-time anglers, it is recommended to find a fishing spot close to home and only go for a short time. Check our website to find current fish stocking locations, online fishing maps and area fishing guides, which highlight public fishing areas around the state. Shore fishing at a local stream or lake area are great places to start. West Virginia’s state parks and forests and wildlife management areas also provide excellent opportunities to learn. As your interest grows, experiment with different locations and equipment. A small fishing boat, canoe or kayak can also increase your enjoyment of the lifetime sport of fishing.
- Practice basic skills. Take some time at home to practice tying hooks on the line and casting in the yard before going to a stream or lake. With no time you’ll be a pro!
- Go out and enjoy the outdoors. Take time to enjoy the fresh mountain air and awe-inspiring views of Almost Heaven. Fishing is the perfect sport to develop a lifelong hobby and make incredible memories. Don’t forget to bring snacks, a camera and a small cooler. Oh, and dressing appropriately for the weather conditions is always important.
For more information, call a nearby WVDNR district office and ask a staff member for fishing advice and places to fish throughout the state.
Main Office: (304) 558-2771
District 1: Farmington: (304) 825-6787
District 2: Romney: (304) 822-3551
District 3: French Creek: (304) 924-6211
District 4: Beckley: (304) 256-6947
District 5: Alum Creek: (304) 756-1023
District 6: Parkersburg: (304) 420-4550
Elkins Operations Center: (304) 637-0245
The WVDNR sponsors many outdoor events during the year that offer instructions for youth fishing and also provides equipment to use at the events. These events are great places to learn how to fish; National Hunting and Fishing Days, fishing derbies during Free Fishing Weekend and State Conservation Camp. Other great resources include fishing organizations like Bass Nation Youth, Bass Federation Youth and Muskie, Inc.
Catching their first fish is an experience children will cherish all their lives. To commemorate the event, print out a full-color First Fish Certificate. You can fill out the PDF online and print it at home at your convenience. Enjoy this time together. You’ll be making memories that last a lifetime.
Archery in the Schools provides inclusive program for kids to learn valuable life skills
After two years of not having an in-person state Archery in the Schools tournament to look forward to, students in West Virginia finally have something to be excited about. The state Archery in the Schools program, which returned to in-person…
Gold Rush returns for fifth year with new stocking locations, prizes
Announced by Gov. Jim Justice earlier this month, the fishing event of the year in West Virginia is officially underway. The West Virginia Gold Rush has returned for its fifth year and includes 12 days of special golden rainbow trout stockings…
WV Gold Rush returns March 29-April 9
The West Virginia Gold Rush is returning for its fourth year on March 23 and for the first time will include 12 days of trout stockings at some of the state’s most popular fishing lakes and streams.
French Creek Freddie Facts To Get You Ready For Groundhog Day
You might know French Creek Freddie as West Virginia’s most popular weather-predicting groundhog, but do you know the story of how Freddie started forecasting or how he got his name? Get ready for Groundhog Day celebration at the West Virginia…
Five ways you can help protect wild woodland box turtles
When was the last time you saw a box turtle in the wild? Did you, like so many of us, enjoy watching its slow, steady plod through the grass? Were you treated to the sight of a turtle stretching its…
WVDNR highlights habitat and stream restoration project in Monongahela Forest
GLADY, W.VA. — More than 2,000 acres of wildlife habitat in the Monongahela National Forest is being restored thanks to a collaborative project between the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources and United States Forest Service. The work is being…
What you can do to help West Virginia’s official butterfly
The next time you notice a monarch butterfly, with its brilliant orange and black wings rimmed with white dots, take a good long appreciative look. Monarchs used to number in the billions. Since 1976, the world population of monarch butterflies…
40,700 pounds of trout stocked in 38 waters throughout West Virginia
The year might be coming to an end, but there’s still plenty of fish to catch in West Virginia. In October, we stocked more than 40,000 pounds of trout in 38 waters around the state. The final trout stocking of…
Updated license system makes buying license and checking game easier
Buying a hunting and fishing license and checking game in West Virginia just got a lot easier thanks to our upgraded electronic licensing and game check system.
Second split of WV’s fall turkey season to open Oct. 25
West Virginia’s second split of the fall wild turkey hunting season will open in select counties on Oct. 25. The first fall season, which included all 55 counties, opened on Oct. 9 and closed on Oct. 17. “The first week…
2022 West Virginia Wildlife Calendar available to purchase
In advance of the holiday shopping season, the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources is reminding hunters, anglers and outdoor enthusiasts to purchase their copy of the 2022 West Virginia Wildlife Calendar while supplies last. The popular and award-winning calendar…
Want to get your art featured in the WV Wildlife Calendar? Here’s how.
If you’re an artist who’s painted popular game or fish species or other West Virginia wildlife such as snakes, frogs, turtles, salamanders, bats, songbirds, small mammals or non-game fish, the WVDNR is seeking artwork for next year’s calendar and offering…