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Fishing in the New River

While you are on your West Virginia rafting trip, be sure to set aside a little bit of time for another great water activity; fishing! The New River has a wide variety of fish that live in it, making it a great destination for experienced and new fisherman alike. Some of the fish local to the river include bass, walleye, crappie, flathead, and catfish; to name a few.  Fishing is a great way to let those tired rafting muscles rest while still enjoying the beauty and nature of the river.

The best times to fish the New River are during the spring and the fall. At this time, the water is transitioning between cool and warm, causing the fish to be more active and aggressive. It is recommended that fishing trips either take place early in the morning or at dusk for the biggest variety and number of available fish. This is partially due to the fish’s prey being more energetic.

Lots of different baits and lures are utilized for these fishing adventures; depending on the characteristics of the water and other environmental factors.  Certain fish are also more attracted to certain baits than others.  Some common baits including nightcrawlers and hellgrammites, which is a many legged, large bug. Artificial lures, such as spinner bait and minnows, are a popular alternative to crawly bugs. It is recommended that dark lures are used in murky water and light colored lures in clear, bright water.

The New River abides by a catch and release policy for certain fish in order to maintain the natural balance and beauty of the water; in addition to guaranteeing this resource for future generations.  To make sure that the fish survives his release back into the water, it is important to be careful when removing the hook and to make sure that it is done as quickly, but as safely, as possible.  Don’t forget to move the fish back and forth when it goes back into the river to make sure water travels over its gills.

Anyone fishing in the parks is required to have a West Virginia fishing license. These can be purchased at many local sporting goods stores and bait shops.  Licenses are available in 3 day passes for the tourist, or on an annual basis.

For more information about fishing in the New River, please visit:


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