Tips for Fishing in the New River Gorge

Under the shadow of our iconic bridge swims a treasure trove of WV fishing fun.


Your whole family can enjoy a fishing trip in the New River Gorge. If you're new to the sport, it's easy to pick up the basics.

Here are some beginner tips for fishing in the New River Gorge:

1. When to go

Spring and fall are the times the fish are most active. (Summer's a bit too hot, and winter a bit too cold.) And the early morning hours and late evening are the peak time for fish to be on the prowl for food.

2. Where to go

Explore the landscape of the mighty New River from below, hiking into the gorge to find your spot. Babcock State Park and Hawk's Nest have some great fishing lakes. Along the New River, there are popular access points by Thurmond, Cunard and Fayette Station.

3. Make it a journey

Of course, the banks provide a full day of casting out your line, but if you really want to get close to the catch, a float trip will position you right in the center of the flowing waters.

You'll want to let a pro guide you through the rapids. In addition to ensuring safety through the river's swelling waves, you'll also get the inside scoop on best fishing spots, and top-quality gear will be provided.

Some of the best area outfitters include:

4. What you'll catch

In the New River, there are plenty of finned creatures to reel in. Some common ones:

  • Bass- The gorge is actually one of the best smallmouth bass fishing spots in the country. These feisty fish are a prize catch!
  • Walleye- You can find these fish lurking in the deeper waters when the water is really cool.
  • Trout- These WV delicacies are stocked regularly into many of the New River's tributaries.
  • You may also reel in a musky, crappie, bluegill, carp or even catfish, depending on your bait and locale.

5. Stay Safe!

The most important thing about fishing is staying safe. The rivers and lakes in the New River Gorge are often shared recreation spots, so be conscious of others around you. Try to stay far from boat launch areas.

If you want to get your feet wet fishing along the banks, don't wade in too far into the New. Its powerful flow can shove you under if your foot is trapped.

It's always best to fish with a friend or two, just in case. Besides, it's a great time to relax and spend some quality time together.

Where's your favorite spot to fish in the New River Gorge?