Wildlife viewing opportunities, lake fishing and rugged hunting land. Beech Fork has it all!

Wildlife management areas are some of the most rugged and beautiful locations in the Mountain State and provide opportunities for wildlife viewing, hunting and fishing. This month, we’re featuring Beech Fork Lake WMA in Wayne County.

Conveniently located off Interstate 64, near Huntington and Barboursville, the Beech Fork Lake area is known for its popular state park, which is one of the top camping and fishing locations in all of West Virginia. Having a 7,000-plus acre WMA nearby also makes this lake a premier hunting destination for southwestern West Virginia.

Here’s everything you need to know about Beech Fork Lake WMA.

Beech Fork Lake WMA At A Glance

  • Open: All year
  • Size: 7,531 acres
  • Terrain: Steep, wooded ridges covered in oak-hickory-pine forest.
  • Big Game: Deer, turkey
  • Small Game: Waterfowl, squirrel, rabbit, grouse, dove
  • Fishing: Beech Fork Lake, Millers Fork Pond
  • Game Fish: Hybrid-striped, spotted and largemouth bass, bluegill, channel catfish, crappie, saugeye, tiger muskellunge
  • Accommodations: Shooting range; campsites and cabins available at nearby Beech Fork State Park


Lush forests and a cool lake make Beech Fork a prime wildlife viewing destination

Beech Fork Lake WMA is an excellent place for birdwatching and wildlife viewing. The area surrounding the lake provides habitat for many forest dwelling birds and you might see the occasional heron down by the water!

There’s also plenty of deer and other small mammals roaming the area, so bring your binoculars or camera and find a nice wooded area to observe nature.

“It is just a nice place to go and relax view the wildlife and Escape the city life for a little bit.” — ztd 1989, TripAdvisor Reviewer

With more than 9,000 acres to explore when you include Beech Fork State Park, there’s no shortage of natural beauty to discover at Beech Fork Lake WMA!

Beech Fork Lake is a great place for fishing and hunting

The 728-acre lake at Beech Fork is a popular boating destination, which makes it an ideal fishing spot for anglers looking for a calm, casual place to cast a line. There is a boat access in the WMA as well as other entry points over at Beech Fork State Park, including a handicap accessible fishing pier. There’s also the Millers Fork Pond, which is stocked with trout and intended for children 10 and under and Class Q permit holders.

Beech Fork Lake has plenty of fish to catch too! There’s bass, bluegill, channel catfish, crappie, saugeye and tiger muskellunge. Make sure you have a license before you go fishing. If you need to purchase one, visit www.wvfish.com. And make sure you follow all fishing regulations for the area. Black bass (smallmouth, spotted and largemouth) under 12 inches long must be returned to the water at once.

If you’d like to go hunting, Beech Fork Lake WMA has plenty of opportunities for that too! The terrain is covered in steep, wooded ridges and oak-hickory-pine forest, which means Beech Fork is an ideal habitat for game. Big game includes deer and turkey. Beech Fork is an older age management area, which means there is a restriction on the size of buck you can take kill. Please, refer to the hunting regulations for more information.

You can also bag squirrel, rabbit, grouse, dove and waterfowl. And if you would like to trap on the WMA, contact the DNR District 5 Office for a special permit, which is free of charge.

Summer is a good time to plan a fall hunting trip. Campsites and cabins are available at nearby Beech Fork State Park, so you’ll have a place to stay if you’re traveling from out of town or want to get away for a few days. Visit www.wvstateparks.com to book your accommodations.

All hunters must be properly licensed and follow all regulations. If you need to purchase a hunting license, they are available online at www.wvhunt.com.

During the off-season, you can even practice at Beech Fork Lake WMA’s shooting range. This outdoor range has six covered shooting benches and a 100-yard maximum backstop distance.


Plan a trip to Beech Fork Lake

There are two boat ramps at Beech Fork Lake as well as a private marina, so bring your boat, kayak or canoe and spend a day on the water with your family. Prefer to take a dip in the pool, nearby Beech Fork State Park has an outdoor pool perfect for hot summer days. And there are plenty of great hiking opportunities in the park, so make sure you head on over, hit the trails and explore nature.

Whether you’re an avid angler and hunter or just prefer to watch wildlife and enjoy nature from a distance, Beech Fork Lake is a place worth visiting this summer.

From high in the mountains to low in the valleys, West Virginia’s wildlife management areas conserve our natural resources while preserving public land for the public good. Whether you’re a hunter, angler or nature lover, Beech Fork Lake WMA is a place where you can admire the Mountain State’s rugged beauty and get a little closer to Almost Heaven.

If you have any questions, be sure to contact the DNR District 5 office by calling (304) 675-0871. You also can learn more about Beech Fork Lake WMA and other wildlife management areas by visiting wvdnr.gov and mapwv.gov/huntfish.