New River Gorge National Wild & Scenic River

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Meadow Creek Waterfall at New River Gorge National River
Meadow Creek Waterfall at New River Gorge National River (courtesy, National Park Service)

Fishing can be a rewarding part of a visit to New River Gorge National River. However, there are a few basic tips you should know in order to improve your chances of success. It is important to have some understanding of the fish you are seeking and the area in which you want to fish. The New River is a warm-water fishery providing excellent smallmouth bass and walleye fishing, but trout are only found in the cooler tributary streams. During hot summer days, fish become less active and lurk in deep pools, feeding at night or cooler times of day. Fish also like to linger around natural structures such as weeds, fallen trees, and drop-offs.

Choose baits carefully. Take the time to ask around and see what the fish are feeding on. You may then select a live bait or artificial lure. During murky conditions, darker colored lures such as black, brown, and dark purples are often used. Clear water conditions require brighter colored lures. It takes practice in order to imitate a fish's natural foods.

Common Park Fish
Spotted Bass
Smallmouth Bass
Rock Bass
Largemouth Bass
White Bass
Green Sunfish
Channel Catfish
Native Brook Trout
Rainbow Trout
Brown Trout

Common Baits and Lures - Bass

flies (large)
spinner bait

Common Baits and Lures - Trout
salmon eggs
spinners (small)

Always be cautious when approaching the water. Whenever possible, approach from downstream. Fish tend to face upstream and have a blind spot directly behind them, so they are less likely to see you if you are downstream. Wear neutral-colored clothing when fishing shallow, clear waters. Always be considerate of other fisherman and other river users. With practice and patience, you will find yourself learning and catching more fish.

All persons fishing in the park are required to have a West Virginia fishing license. Year long and three-day tourist licenses are available at many locations throughout the park.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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