Spring in southern West Virginia means different things to different people. For some, it means wildflowers are starting to bloom and the hiking trails are exploding with vibrant color. For others, it’s the chance to paddle the area’s local rivers and creeks at exciting spring flows.
But to one group of outdoor enthusiasts, it simply means “Fish on!!!”
One thing that this area has no shortage of is streams. Big ones. Little ones. And most of them very productive fisheries. Whether it’s bass, walleye, musky or trout that bring you to a fever pitch, there are plenty of opportunities to soothe whatever itch you need to scratch.
At Opossum Creek Retreat, we understand having a passion for fishing. In fact, we embrace it. One of our favorite springtime activities is fishing for trout.
Our place, just so happens, is located mere minutes from some great southern West Virginia trout fishing. In fact, Mill Creek flows less than a mile from our front door, and is stocked by the WVDNR monthly from February through May.
Mill Creek is a sweet little stream that starts near Route 60 and winds its way into Hawk’s Nest Lake on the New River. It starts off fairly flat, meandering along the plateau through deep woods and laurel thickets, but as its journey approaches the New River, it becomes a steep pool-drop creek with large boulders and plunge pools. This diversity in stream hydrology is common among the creeks in this area and makes for some fabulous fishing.
Other local trout streams that are within a short drive of OCR are: Glade Creek, Dunloup Creek, Loop Creek, Piney Creek, Paint Creek and Manns Creek.
All of these streams are stocked throughout the spring by the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources with rainbow and brown trout. A nearby chapter of Trout Unlimited also adopts a few of these creeks as special projects, and stock them with fingerling brown trout on an annual basis.
These streams all vary in topography and terrain, and most are fairly accessible over a large percentage of their runs. All of them with the exception of Paint Creek and Loop Creek drain to the New River, and they all definitely have sections of them that are moderately steep. This means lots of big pools that can hold some impressive trout.
Now, we are pretty biased to our local area because there is just so much natural beauty here. And well, hell, it is our stomping grounds, so can you blame us? But as far as trout fishing goes, we will concede that some of the best waters in the state lie just a short drive to the north of us.
There is a small area of the West Virginia, located in the mountains in and around the Pocahontas and Randolph County vicinity, where a great many of the major streams in WV originate. From this region, the Gauley River, the Elk River, the Williams River, the Cheat River, the Tygart River, the Greenbrier River and the Potomac River all begin their sinuous journeys towards different destinations.
All of the headwaters sections of these streams are excellent trout fisheries. What is most enjoyable about them in our eyes is the level of peace and serenity you will find their remoteness. It’s a seclusion that you will only experience in few other places anywhere on the east coast.
There are very few incorporated towns with a population of more than 500 people in these areas, and Randolph County averages 29 people per square mile, while Pocahontas County only averages 9.
Some of the Mountain State’s best trout streams are either in this bunch we just listed, or they are tributaries of them.These streams are around an hour drive from The New River Gorge. They include the Elk River, the Cranberry River, the Williams River and the Cherry river.
The best part about fishing these streams is if the fish aren’t biting, you’re still hanging out in one of the most beautiful places around.
So, if trout fishing happens to be your passion, we hope you find the time to make a trip to our backyard and experience this wonderful area we call home. Perhaps we will see you on one of these streams this spring.
Which river in WV is your favorite for trout fishing?
–guest post by Ashley Thomas