Sean Whishart originally moved to the New River Gorge over 20 years ago to be a whitewater rafting guide, but he instead ended up falling in love with the fishing scene. The remoteness and the accessibility are two factors that Sean says makes the Gorge a great place to cast a line. Whether its smallmouth, largemouth or spotted bass, muskie, walleye, catfish, carp or panfish, there’s a likely chance you’ll be able to reel one in thanks to the Gorge’s variety of rivers, lakes and streams.
Here are some of Sean’s top picks for a perfect day on the water.
To book a guided fishing trip, check out our local outfitters.
Hike the Glade Creek Trail along this rushing body of water for three miles of the best catch and release trout fishing in the Gorge. The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources keeps Glade Creek stocked each spring with golden, rainbow, brook and brown trout. The wooden pedestrian bridge over Glade Creek is a wheelchair accessible fishing area. Hikers, swimmers and whitewater kayakers also enjoy Glade Creek. Be sure to take in your surroundings, along the trail you’ll see cascades, waterfalls and one of the state’s most iconic landmarks — the Glade Creek Grist Mill.
Babcock State Park
The peaceful, secluded 19-acre Boley Lake is an excellent fishing opportunity at Babcock State Park for those that want a relaxing experience. Chances are you’ll find some largemouth bass, bluegill, catfish and trout here. Boat rental is available, and private boats can be launched for a nominal fee. There is also bank fishing access. Additional park amenities include a gift shop, picnic shelter, hiking trails and overlooks. Campground spots and cabins are available for rent.
Hawks Nest Lake
Spend a relaxing day on the water at Hawks Nest State Park fishing for bass or catfish. The lake can be reached by taking the Hawks Nest Aerial Tramway from the lodge to the marina at the bottom of the Gorge. Bank fishing access is limited but there is also a concreted boat ramp and boat rental available.
Bridge Brew Works
After a day on the water, visit Bridge Brew Works and tell tall tales of the day’s catches over a pint of locally crafted beer. The taproom is open seven days a week and offers a number of year-round beers as well as a variety of seasonal offerings. Not sure which to order? A flight is also an option as is a growler, so you can take home your favorite.