West Virginia fishing guide

Welcome to your key source for all fishing-related information in West Virginia. Discover not only the prime fishing spots but also learn about the diverse species inhabiting these waters. Stay informed about the latest fishing regulations and licensing requirements for fishing in West Virginia

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9 waterbodies
11 cities
26 fishes

What kind of fish can you catch in West Virginia

Below are 26 types of fish that can be caught in West Virginia. The data have been collected based on fishing reports from West Virginia and have undergone serious moderation. Explore the map of West Virginia to find out where a particular type of fish is biting.

Lakes and reservoirs for fishing in West Virginia

Below are the largest and most popular lakes, reservoirs, and bays for fishing in West Virginia. Each West Virginia body of water includes information on fish species, analytics, and a map with fishing spots

Licenses for Fishing in West Virginia

West Virginia offers a variety of fishing licenses for residents and non-residents, catering to different age groups and preferences. There are also specific stamps and licenses for certain types of fishing, such as trout fishing.

For the most accurate and detailed information, and to purchase a fishing license online, visit the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources website.

License Type Resident Price Non-Resident Price Details
National Forest Hunting/Trapping/Fishing (Class I) $2.00 - Required for licensed anglers except holders of Class XXJ
Trout Fishing Stamp (Class OO) $16.00 $16.00 Required for trout fishing
Apprentice Junior Hunting/Trapping/Fishing (Class AAHJ) $16.00 - For ages 15-17, includes Class XXJ privileges
Senior Hunting/Trapping/Fishing License (Class XS) $25.00 - For residents aged 65+, includes trout stamp
Combination Hunting, Trapping, and Fishing (Class AB-L) $805.00 - Lifetime license for residents
Fishing (Class B-L) $552.00 - Lifetime fishing license for residents
Trout Fishing (Class O-L) $230.00 - Lifetime trout fishing license for residents

Fishing Regulations in West Virginia

Prohibited Gear and Fishing Methods
  • Use of explosives, poisons, or electrical devices for fishing is illegal.
  • Fishing with nets, traps, or seines is allowed only with specific permits and in designated areas.
  • Use of live fish as bait is limited in certain waters to protect native species.
  • Snagging fish is not allowed except in designated areas during specific seasons.
  • Spearing and bowfishing are permitted for certain species in specified waters.
Catch Limits
  • Trout: Daily limit varies by area, often 6 fish, with size restrictions in some waters.
  • Bass (Largemouth, Smallmouth, and Spotted): Daily limit of 6, with a minimum length of 12 inches.
  • Walleye: Daily limit of 6, with size restrictions in some waters.
  • Muskellunge: Daily limit of 2, minimum length of 30 inches.
  • Channel Catfish: Daily limit of 4, no size limit.
  • Panfish (Bluegill, Sunfish, Crappie): No daily limit, no size limit.
  • Northern Pike: Daily limit of 6, with size restrictions in some waters.
  • Chain Pickerel: Daily limit of 6, no size limit.
  • Carp: No daily limit, no size limit.
  • Striped Bass and Hybrid Striped Bass: Limits and size restrictions vary, especially in reservoirs and rivers.
Restrictions on Access to Water Bodies
  • Access to some waters may be restricted for environmental conservation or public safety reasons.
  • Fishing on private property requires explicit permission from the landowner.
  • Special regulations for fishing in state parks and wildlife refuges.
  • No fishing zones enforced around certain infrastructures like dams and fish hatcheries.
  • Seasonal access restrictions in certain areas for fish spawning and habitat management.
Zones of Special Regulation
  • Catch-and-release areas for certain species, especially trout.
  • Areas with gear restrictions, such as artificial lures only or fly fishing zones.
  • Slot limits for bass and other species in certain lakes and rivers.
  • Special regulations in waters with high fishing pressure or ecological sensitivity.
  • Trophy fisheries with enhanced size and bag limits in selected areas.
Protection of Rare Species
  • Fishing for endangered or threatened species is strictly prohibited.
  • Special regulations in habitats of rare or sensitive aquatic species.
  • Research fishing for rare species requires special permits.
  • Reporting accidental catches of rare species is important for conservation efforts.
  • Areas with significant ecological value may have additional fishing restrictions.
Seasonal Restrictions
  • Closed seasons for specific species during spawning or migration periods.
  • Ice fishing regulations, including shelter and gear restrictions, during winter months.
  • Seasonal closures in sensitive ecological areas for species protection and habitat restoration.
  • Temporary closures during environmental events or for population studies.
  • Special regulations for early and late fishing seasons in certain areas.

Most popular cities for fishing in West Virginia

The largest and most popular fishing cities in West Virginia. Cities in West Virginia include information on fishing, as well as a map with fishing spots. Explore the cities to know what fish are caught and in which bodies of water.