West Virginia Fly Fishing

West Virginia is a lush and fertile land of beautiful hilly countryside blessed with a glut of lakes, ponds, streams, and rivers.

From the West Fork running north toward the Pennsylvania border to Summersville Lake nestled in the southern central portion of the state, there is plenty of water throughout in which to indulge all of your sporting desires.

In fact, there is so many public fishing spots scattered throughout this natural wonderland that it’s difficult to know where to begin.

The state DNR engages in stocking activities throughout more than 150 bodies of water all over the state. In addition to trout, WV stocks warm water fish to help replace populations that have suffered the effects of habitat destruction and pollution.

West Virginia Fishing Map

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WV - Elk River: 38.534294, -80.147369
WV - Greenbrier River West Fork : 38.617910, -79.807906
WV - Second Creek: 37.612396, -80.443825
WV - Seneca Creek: 38.851005, -79.490161
WV - Shaver's Fork River: 38.663564, -79.863052
ABRAM CREEK AT OAKMONT, WV: 39.366766, -79.178924
NORTH BRANCH POTOMAC RIVER AT BARNUM, WV: 39.445111, -79.110806
NORTH BRANCH POTOMAC RIVER AT LUKE, MD: 39.478972, -79.063778
PATTERSON CREEK NEAR HEADSVILLE, WV: 39.443149, -78.821965
SOUTH BRANCH POTOMAC RIVER AT FRANKLIN, WV: 38.635672, -79.337820
N F SOUTH BRANCH POTOMAC RIVER AT CABINS, WV: 38.984555, -79.233651
SOUTH BRANCH POTOMAC RIVER NEAR PETERSBURG, WV: 38.991221, -79.175871
S F SOUTH BRANCH POTOMAC RIVER AT BRANDYWINE, WV: 38.631507, -79.243650
S F SOUTH BRANCH POTOMAC RIVER NR MOOREFIELD, WV: 39.012331, -78.956139
SOUTH BRANCH POTOMAC RIVER NEAR SPRINGFIELD, WV: 39.447039, -78.654182
WAITES RUN NEAR WARDENSVILLE, WV: 39.042722, -78.598333
CACAPON RIVER NEAR GREAT CACAPON, WV: 39.582316, -78.309731
WARM SPRINGS RUN NEAR BERKELEY SPRINGS, WV: 39.640583, -78.218944
BACK CREEK NEAR JONES SPRINGS, WV: 39.512042, -78.037222
MILL CREEK AT BUNKER HILL, WV: 39.334625, -78.053436
HOPEWELL RUN AT LEETOWN, WV: 39.354639, -77.933611
OPEQUON CREEK NEAR MARTINSBURG, WV: 39.423710, -77.938608
TUSCARORA CREEK ABOVE MARTINSBURG, WV: 39.469543, -77.971387
ROCKYMARSH RUN AT SCRABBLE, WV: 39.483083, -77.831833
BULLSKIN RUN BELOW KABLETOWN, WV: 39.211583, -77.834861
SHENANDOAH RIVER AT MILLVILLE, WV: 39.282046, -77.789161
TYGART VALLEY RIVER NEAR DAILEY, WV: 38.809275, -79.881734
TYGART VALLEY RIVER BELOW INLET WORKS, ELKINS, WV: 38.915019, -79.874919
TYGART VALLEY RIVER ABOVE OUTLET WORKS, ELKINS, WV: 38.921258, -79.868389
TYGART VALLEY RIVER BELOW OUTLET WORKS, ELKINS, WV: 38.921069, -79.869500
TYGART VALLEY RIVER NEAR ELKINS, WV: 38.923717, -79.878959
TYGART VALLEY RIVER AT BELINGTON, WV: 39.029269, -79.935908
MIDDLE FORK RIVER AT AUDRA, WV: 39.039545, -80.068135
BUCKHANNON RIVER AT ALTON, WV: 38.820103, -80.215080
BUCKHANNON RIVER AT BUCKHANNON, WV: 39.005376, -80.209249
SAND RUN NEAR BUCKHANNON, WV: 38.963989, -80.152581
BUCKHANNON RIVER AT HALL, WV: 39.051210, -80.114525
TYGART VALLEY RIVER AT PHILIPPI, WV: 39.150375, -80.038691
TYGART VALLEY RIVER AT TYGART DAM NR GRAFTON, WV: 39.319815, -80.025078
THREE FORK CREEK NR GRAFTON, WV: 39.336481, -79.993409
TYGART VALLEY RIVER AT COLFAX, WV: 39.435087, -80.132579
WEST FORK RIVER AT WALKERSVILLE, WV: 38.868709, -80.457866
WEST FORK RIVER BL STONEWALL JACKSON DAM NR WESTON, WV: 39.004528, -80.473361
WEST FORK RIVER AT WESTON, WV: 39.029306, -80.473750
WEST FORK RIVER AT BUTCHERVILLE, WV: 39.090648, -80.467592
WEST FORK RIVER NEAR MOUNT CLARE, WV: 39.238702, -80.358979
WEST FORK RIVER AT ENTERPRISE, WV: 39.422308, -80.275919
BUFFALO CREEK AT BARRACKVILLE, WV: 39.503973, -80.172023
MONONGAHELA RIVER AT OPEKISKA LOCK & DAM (UPPER), WV: 39.563972, -80.051182
MONONGAHELA RIVER AT OPEKISKA LOCK & DAM (LOWER), WV: 39.564528, -80.050626
MONONGAHELA RIVER AT FLAGGY MEADOW, WV: 39.563056, -80.021667
MONONGAHELA RIVER AT HILDEBRAND LOCK & DAM (UPPER), WV: 39.581750, -80.009512
MONONGAHELA RIVER AT HILDEBRAND LOCK & DAM (LOWER), WV: 39.582861, -80.010068
MONONGAHELA RIVER AT MORGANTOWN LOCK & DAM (UPPER), WV: 39.619804, -79.969509
MONONGAHELA RIVER AT MORGANTOWN LOCK & DAM (LOWER), WV: 39.620082, -79.968953
DECKERS CREEK AT MORGANTOWN, WV: 39.629248, -79.952563
DRY FORK AT HENDRICKS, WV: 39.072329, -79.622837
BLACKWATER RIVER NEAR DAVIS, WV: 39.140108, -79.419772
BLACKWATER RIVER AT DAVIS, WV: 39.127052, -79.468385
SHAVERS FORK NR CHEAT BRIDGE, WV: 38.617058, -79.869785
SHAVERS FORK BELOW BOWDEN, WV: 38.913163, -79.770342
CHEAT RIVER NEAR PARSONS, WV: 39.122884, -79.681174
CHEAT RIVER AT ALBRIGHT, WV: 39.494810, -79.644497
BIG SANDY CREEK AT ROCKVILLE, WV: 39.621750, -79.704556
KINGS CREEK AT WEIRTON, WV: 40.435623, -80.592572
OHIO RIVER AT PIKE ISLAND DAM NR WHEELING (UPPER), WV: 40.152849, -80.699802
OHIO RIVER AT PIKE ISLAND LOCK & DAM (LOWER), WV: 40.149794, -80.701469
WHEELING CREEK NEAR MAJORSVILLE, WV: 39.953333, -80.540000
WHEELING CREEK AT ELM GROVE, WV: 40.044518, -80.660912
OHIO RIVER AT WHEELING, WV: 40.057295, -80.728415
MIDDLE ISLAND CREEK AT LITTLE, WV: 39.475076, -80.997054
OHIO RIVER AT PARKERSBURG, WV: 39.268131, -81.563736
LITTLE KANAWHA RIVER NR WILDCAT, WV: 38.743434, -80.525367
LITTLE KANAWHA RIVER AT BURNSVILLE, WV: 38.865095, -80.676208
LITTLE KANAWHA RIVER AT GLENVILLE, WV: 38.932972, -80.838222
LITTLE KANAWHA RIVER AT GRANTSVILLE, WV: 38.922031, -81.097612
WEST FORK LITTLE KANAWHA RIVER AT ROCKSDALE, WV: 38.844254, -81.222617
LITTLE KANAWHA RIVER AT PALESTINE, WV: 39.058969, -81.389564
SOUTH FORK HUGHES RIVER BELOW MACFARLAN, WV: 39.078969, -81.212337
EAST RIVER AT WILLOWTON, WV: 37.348500, -80.886083
INDIAN CREEK AT RED SULPHUR SPRINGS, WV: 37.529250, -80.770194
BLUESTONE RIVER NEAR PIPESTEM, WV: 37.544008, -81.010368
GREENBRIER RIVER AT DURBIN, WV: 38.543727, -79.833115
GREENBRIER RIVER AT BUCKEYE, WV: 38.185953, -80.130623
GREENBRIER RIVER AT ALDERSON, WV: 37.724287, -80.641468
GREENBRIER RIVER AT HILLDALE, WV: 37.640120, -80.805083
NEW RIVER AT HINTON, WV: 37.670397, -80.892587
PINEY CREEK AT RALEIGH, WV: 37.760671, -81.162321
NEW RIVER AT THURMOND, WV: 37.955113, -81.076488
WILLIAMS RIVER AT DYER, WV: 38.378999, -80.483974
GAULEY RIVER AT CAMDEN ON GAULEY, WV: 38.365943, -80.600923
CRANBERRY RIVER NEAR RICHWOOD, WV: 38.295390, -80.526475
LAUREL CREEK NEAR FENWICK, WV: 38.163611, -80.588056
GAULEY RIVER NEAR CRAIGSVILLE, WV: 38.290945, -80.640924
GAULEY RIVER BELOW SUMMERSVILLE DAM, WV: 38.215110, -80.888154
MEADOW RIVER AT NALLEN, WV: 38.112613, -80.876207
PETERS CREEK NEAR LOCKWOOD, WV: 38.262607, -81.023158
GAULEY RIVER ABOVE BELVA, WV: 38.233440, -81.180942
KANAWHA RIVER AT KANAWHA FALLS, WV: 38.138163, -81.214275
ELK RIVER BELOW WEBSTER SPRINGS, WV: 38.597326, -80.490364
ELK RIVER AT SUTTON, WV: 38.663156, -80.709541
BIRCH RIVER AT HEROLD, WV: 38.574823, -80.800933
ELK RIVER NEAR FRAMETOWN, WV: 38.592322, -80.884547
ELK RIVER AT CLAY, WV: 38.460657, -81.087609
ELK RIVER AT QUEEN SHOALS, WV: 38.470932, -81.284006
KANAWHA RIVER AT CHARLESTON, WV: 38.371484, -81.702070
CLEAR FORK AT WHITESVILLE, WV: 37.966219, -81.524278
BIG COAL RIVER AT ASHFORD, WV: 38.179822, -81.711511
COAL RIVER AT TORNADO, WV: 38.338983, -81.841518
POCATALICO RIVER AT SISSONVILLE, WV: 38.526204, -81.631238
HURRICANE CREEK AT HURRICANE, WV: 38.445367, -82.006803
OHIO RIVER AT POINT PLEASANT, WV: 38.843970, -82.139589
GUYANDOTTE RIVER NEAR BAILEYSVILLE, WV: 37.604000, -81.645110
CLEAR FORK AT CLEAR FORK, WV: 37.623166, -81.707334
GUYANDOTTE RIVER AT MAN, WV: 37.740385, -81.876786
GUYANDOTTE RIVER AT LOGAN, WV: 37.842326, -81.975957
GUYANDOTTE RIVER AT BRANCHLAND, WV: 38.220923, -82.202642
OHIO RIVER AT HUNTINGTON, WV: 38.413415, -82.500434
EAST FORK TWELVEPOLE CREEK NEAR DUNLOW, WV: 38.011833, -82.305972
TWELVEPOLE CREEK BELOW WAYNE, WV: 38.248974, -82.434319
TUG FORK DOWNSTREAM OF ELKHORN CREEK AT WELCH, WV: 37.441224, -81.599830
DRY FORK AT BEARTOWN, WV: 37.395390, -81.802614
PANTHER CREEK NEAR PANTHER, WV: 37.445556, -81.871111
TUG FORK AT WILLIAMSON, WV: 37.673157, -82.280141
TUG FORK AT KERMIT, WV: 37.837319, -82.408758
NEW RIVER BELOW HAWKS NEST DAM, WV: 38.113720, -81.142327
Dog Run Lake: 39.299300, -80.558400
Elk creek: 39.273700, -80.336600
Big Sandy: 39.687900, -79.628800
Trout Pond: 39.659600, -79.789500
Honey hole: 39.274600, -80.315800
Smally: 39.274388, -80.336437
Thorn Farm: 38.868462, -80.126827
Elk river fly shop: 38.534000, -80.146800
Elk river: 38.534500, -80.147700
Harmons: 38.967000, -79.285900

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Best Places to Fly Fish in West Virginia

From popular, easily accessible locales to tiny, tucked away streams that require a bit of work for the reward, you’ll find a wide range of options for your West Virginia fly fishing adventures.

The North Fork of the South Branch Potomac River

This awkwardly named run rambles all the way through the state, passing between Virginia and Maryland, and finally emptying out into Chesapeake Bay. If you wade in off of Route 28/55, you’ll encounter a good mix of rainbows and browns, as well as some of the hybrid trout called golden rainbow – or palomino rainbow. Head south and you’ll find plenty of public access points with ample parking. This part of the river is on the narrow side so you’ll be able to practice your shorter casts. Just be careful if you’re taking a boat, as there are large rocks in the water that can be missed when the levels are high.

If you’re planning a little getaway, check out Harman’s North Fork Cottages in Cabins, WV. This little town is located within the Spruce Knob-Seneca Rocks National Recreation Area, and the private stretch of the South Branch which runs along Harman’s property is kept stocked with rainbows for the people who stay there. The surrounding woods and striking cliffs make for an unbeatable fly fishing experience as you soak in the natural beauty of the landscape while casting your line.

Cranberry River

Tucked within the Monongahela National Forest is this two-part waterway that harbors browns, brookies, rainbows, and goldens. While some are wild, most of the inhabitants are the result of stocking. The backcountry – which is the 16-mile upper portion, is difficult to reach and does not have any vehicle access. The lower portion of the Cranberry features plenty of public access via the nearby roads. There are three designated catch-and-release areas, with the local favorite being the mile-long section between Woodbine and Camp Sprinter.

Shavers Fork of the Cheat River

Shavers is an 88.5 mile run that ultimately helps to form the Cheat River, when it collides with Black Fork at Parsons. Set upon a backdrop of the scenic Allegheny Mountains, this river is stocked along a 43-mile stretch from Bowden to Beaver Creek. If you follow Route 33, you’ll find that the river accompanies the highway for many miles, making it a popular site for anglers who prefer the easy access. Deep pools, riffles, and boulders characterize this waterway, and the abundant aquatic insects do an effective job of nourishing the fish population.

Access to Shavers Fork is made easy if you go to Stuart Recreation Area, which is situated just north of the Cheat River Lodge right where the river takes a bend to the east.

Elk River

This is another prominent local favorite, with the most popular access being via the little town of Slatyfork. The Elk, dubbed the Lady by locals, runs right through the middle of the state and is made up of the Big Spring Fork and Old Field Fork converging through the Allegheny Mountains. The Elk is widely considered in the fly fishing community as one of the best trout fishing spots in the Eastern United States.

The beauty of the Elk is that it’s packed with browns, brookies, rainbows, and goldens, some of which measure 20 inches or more. While you can certainly use a guide on the Elk, you don’t have to – there is adequate access for the average angler to manage on their own. The combination of shallow riffles and deep pools will keep you on your toes as you exercise various techniques.

West Virginia Hatches

As always, fly fishing success is about matching the hatch. The general West Virginia rivers hatching schedule contains a bevy of critters, including the following:

  • Little black stone – early March through mid-April
  • Little blue-winged olive – March 20 – April 24
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    Blue quill – April 15 – May 10
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    Little black caddis – mid-April to mid-May
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    Sulphurs – mid-May to late June
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    Green caddis – mid-May to late July
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    March brown – mid-May to mid-June
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    Blue-winged olive – end of May to end of June
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    Light cahill – mid-June to late July
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    Tricos – early July to mid-September

Of course you can always tie your own, but hitting up local fly shops can help immensely in getting imitations that most closely match native insects. Plus, supporting the local industry helps to keep the hobby thriving in the area.

Best Time to Fish in West Virginia

West Virginia offers year-round fishing. Spring and fall are generally the most lucrative, while summer is good depending upon the water level. Spring is especially favorable due to the hatches that are occurring. Winter is typically a good time at Shavers Fork, while summer usually brings waters that are too low and too warm. Seneca Creek is known for staying cool most of the summer, and of course spring and fall can be rewarding as well. In the fall, the brook trout spawn, plus you’re surrounded by the stunning colors of the turning trees. Winter at Seneca Creek may not yield very good results. Fly fishing on the Elk River is good all year round.

The important thing to remember when angling in summer is that you must maintain a low profile. The calm waters and sun’s ability to cast shadows easily make it more difficult to avoid disturbing the water. The stealthier you are, the less likely the little critters are to get wise to the fact that you’re not actually giving them something yummy.

West Virginia Fly Fishing Gearing

When making your packing list of what you'll need for your fishing trip, start with the basics:

  • Chest waders
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    Boots
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    Polarized sunglasses
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    Wide-brimmed hat for sun protection
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    Rain jacket with a hood
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    Sunscreen
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    Insect repellent
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    Hydration
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    Camera

A good choice for all the local trout fishing is an 8.5-foot rod in a 5 weight with a 9-foot leader and 5X tippet. You could go one size either way, depending upon your preferences.

West Virginia Fly Box

For flies, you should keep a wide variety of nymphs and dry flies on hand, including hare’s ear, blue-wing olive, caddis, and pheasant tails. Streamers can bring good results at Shavers Fork, and a long leader will help keep your line deep enough when the water levels get high. For the Elk, you may want Eastern green drake and little winter stonefly nymph imitations.

West Virginia Fishing Regulations

Fishing licenses are available through the West Virginia DNR. A regular fishing license costs $19 for residents and $37 for non-residents. A trout stamp is available for $10 for residents and $16 for non-residents. You can also purchase lifetime licenses for $805, and non-residents may obtain a one-day fishing license for $3. Children under age 15, those who are totally blind, active military members on leave, and residents who turned 65 prior to January 1, 2012 do not require a West Virginia fishing license.

Make sure to go over the state’s fishing regulations carefully before you set out on your expedition. There are specific limits and rules for various bodies of water, including a catch-and-release season and protection for certain species like the shovelnose sturgeon and hybrid striped bass.

West Virginia Fishing Trip Planning

There’s almost nothing that West Virginia doesn’t have to offer in the way of fly fishing experiences. From large rivers like the Potomac to tiny streams like the Seneca Creek, you can be as exposed or secluded as you want. Pull off of the highway and toss your line in right by the side of the road, or hike, bike, or horseback ride 10 miles up the backcountry of the Cranberry River, camp overnight, and truly embrace the wilderness experience.


When that extravagant vacation is feeling just a little too far out of your reach just yet, a rustic fly fishing trip throughout the hills and forests of West Virginia can be just the cure, and at a cost that won’t pinch your wallet too hard. Choose from cottages with all the comforts of home or crude shelters off the beaten path. Hire a guide to show you the hidden secrets and treasures of the state’s fly fishing community or explore on your own, hitting your own lucky pools as you go.