Fishing The New: It's Not Just A Whitewater River

Every summer, well over 100,000 folks climb into a rubber raft or ducky and paddle their way down the New River. From mild to wild, the New offers a trip for most any age group or adventure appetite. Plenty of people know about the fun and excitement the New River offers rafters, but not many are aware of how good a fishery the New River is.
In addition to being one of the most prolific smallmouth bass rivers on the east coast, the New River holds many other species including walleye, muskie and catfish along with a few largemouth bass, striper and Kentucky spotted bass. And one of the best ways to go fishing on this river is to climb aboard a raft just like the whitewater crowd.

This could be you!

Float Fishing
Why is fishing from a raft the best way to fish the New River?
The New is such a large river that it would be hard to effectively fish it from the bank. Fishing from a raft allows one to fish the entire river and take advantage of all the different fish habitat spots and forms of fishing structure. Most trips are 8 plus hours long and encompass anywhere between 5-8 miles of river. This allows fishermen and women plenty of time to reach all of the best areas where the fish they are targeting live.
Most of the float fishing trips on the New River target smallmouth bass. The New is a great smallmouth river and produced the current state record smallmouth for length in 1976. You can fish for walleye or muskie from a raft also, but due to a lower number these species the trips may not produce many of these fish.
A decent day of smallmouth float fishing for 2 fishermen should produce at least 50 or so fish. There are exceptional days where a single boat with 2 good anglers can haul in close to 200 smallmouth. Remember though, this is rare. And most companies operate under a strictly catch and release policy.
How Does a Float Trip Work?
Float fishing uses the same type and size of rafts that many whitewater companies do. The difference is there is a large metal frame that fits onto the raft with a seat at the middle for the guide and one on each end of the raft for the anglers. The guide moves and steers the vessel with a long set of oars that attach to the frame.
From the ends of the raft the fishermen are able to stay away from each other and have great access to all the wonderful fish habitat. Most fishing companies have rods and reels for rent, but guests are also encouraged to bring their own gear, as long as it’s of the right kind and size to handle this type of fishing.
The bait is all artificial and varies according to water level or temperature. Again, the company usually supplies this but they encourage you to bring your own and will offer recommendations if you call before your trip.
The nicest part of a float fishing trip is just being out on the river enjoying the beautiful scenery of the New River Gorge. These trips are an excellent way to relax and enjoy the New River from the comfort of a raft.
Have you float-fished the New?