Celebrate West Virginia Day with a fishing trip to a state park lake or scenic float down a warmwater stream

West Virginia Day is Thursday, June 20 and we can’t think of a better way to celebrate the Mountain State’s incredible outdoor traditions than to enjoy a fishing trip. Whether you’re casting a line in a serene state park lake or floating down a scenic river, a fishing adventure not only gives you a chance to reel in an unforgettable catch but gives you the opportunity to appreciate the splendor and beauty of West Virginia’s lakes and streams. So, grab your tackle box and fishing license and visit your favorite fishing spot or plan one of the adventures included below!

Family Fishing in State Park Lakes

With their scenic views and incredible fishing lakes and ponds, West Virginia’s state parks are a great place to celebrate West Virginia Day and enjoy a family fishing adventure. You can catch a variety of fish at state park lakes, including bass, sunfish and even trout. And just in time for summer, the following state park lakes will be stocked with catchable channel catfish, ensuring a fun and rewarding experience for anglers of all ages.

Whichever park lake you choose to cast your line in, make a day of it by exploring the park’s amenities, such as picnic areas, hiking trails and playgrounds, ensuring a full day of outdoor fun for the entire family. You can even plan a weekend getaway by staying in one of the park’s lodges, cabins or campgrounds. With so many activities available, state parks offer the perfect blend of relaxation and adventure.

Pro Tips: Channel catfish are more active in the late evening and even after dark but can be caught at any time of day. Sporting goods vendors typically stock a variety of bait for catfish, but worms also work well. Check pages 18-19 in the West Virginia Fishing Regulations Summary for special regulations and restrictions.

Float Fishing in Warmwater Streams

For those who enjoy float trips through serene settings, check out the Cheat River or South Branch of the Potomac River. These rivers flow through picturesque landscapes and offer excellent opportunities to catch smallmouth bass, rock bass and other fish. Make sure everyone is wearing their personal floatation device (PFD) to have a safe and fun fishing experience.

For the South Branch, consider checking out the following sections, which provide excellent float trips with WVDNR maintained fishing and boating access sites along the entirety of the stream’s length:

  • Petersburg to Welton Park (Upstream)
  • Brighton Park to Old Fields
  • McNeil to Harmisson’s Landing (The Trough)
  • Blue Ford North to Indian Rocks (Downstream)

The Cheat River is a beautiful mountain river that has three distinct sections: the Upper Cheat, Cheat Narrows and the Cheat Canyon. For a unique adventure, consider checking out the Cheat River Water Trail, which provides nine public access points over 40 miles, ensuring plenty of spots to start your adventure.

Pro Tips: Pay close attention to river levels, especially during summer months. To avoid dragging kayaks and canoes through shallow riffles during periods of low flow, it is recommended not to float if the river flow is less than 400cfs (cubic feet per second). The recommended maximum flow to efficiently fish the Upper Cheat River is no more than 1,000cfs. For real time river flow data, click here.

Buy your license and plan your trip!

Plan a trip and make the most of West Virginia Day with the catch of a lifetime. To learn more about these fantastic fishing locations and to get directions to specific public access sites, visit our interactive fishing map at mapwv.gov/huntfish. Anglers can also call their local WVDNR district office and speak with a fishery biologist for more tips and suggestions. Just make sure you have a West Virginia fishing license before you cast a line. Consider upgrading to one of our new durable license cards for an enhanced angling experience.