Kanawha Falls is new hotspot for catching variety of lunkers


Kanawha Falls offers anglers a chance to catch different kinds of fish and plenty of them.

That’s according to Mark Scott, assistant chief fisheries biologist in Charleston, urges anglers to head for Kanawha Falls at Glen Ferris near Gauley Bridge.

“The New and the Gauley rivers come together to form the Kanawha River,” he says. “The falls serve as a barrier to the upstream movement of fish species. It’s a very productive section. Water quality is excellent.

“The fish come up and congregate at the base of the falls, where there’s a good food supply and excellent forage, including numerous minnows and crawfish and other aquatic insects.

“Some of the largest records and trophy fish come from this area.” The fisheries biologist adds proudly, “We recently measured a walleye that was 33-and-one-quarter inches long and weighed 16 pounds. The existing state record was caught at Kanawha Falls in 1976. We have a length record and a weight record was taken from there.”

In addition, Scott says, striped bass and hybrid striped bass records both came from the Kanawha Falls.

The falls area has produced some nice muskies in the 40-inch class. “We stock the area with fingerling musky too on an annual basis,” Scott says.

Here are some other popular area waters for fishing:

Tailwaters of the Bluestone Dam, including the area below the dam extending down to the State Route 3 bridge. “It’s a popular area for wading and using small Jon boats,” Scott explains.

“The water is shallow. Wading along the banks of the river is productive, and bank fishing is good. There’s access for small boats too.”


The tailwaters are popular for smallmouth, flathead catfish, channel catfish, panfish (rock bass and bluegills), and it also produces large carp, according to Scott.

The DNR fisheries biologist also recommends that anglers try a canoe float trip on the Greenbrier River from Caldwell near Lewisburg downstream to Ronceverte.

“It provides exciting fishing for smallmouth bass and rock bass,” Scott says.

Another spot that is teeming with fish is Hawks Nest Lake, a 250-acre impoundment on the New River.

“It produces excellent fishing for smallmouth bass, spotted bass, crappie, panfish, channel cats, flathead cats, and striped bass hybrids,” Scott says emphatically.

Popular artificial baits for Hawks Nest include various color jigs, crankbaits, and spinners, but all species seemingly are attracted hellgrammites, large creek chubs, minnows, lizards (salamanders), earthworms and nightcrawlers.

And if you are looking for thrilling trout-fishing adventures this fall, chances are you will not have to travel far to find them.

They are waiting for you in the cool limestone waters of southeastern West Virginia. In fact, some of the most famous trout waters in the Eastern U.S. are limestone streams. And they extend all the way from upstate New York to West Virginia.

Folks in the Mountain State can take a measure of pride in knowing that sinking spring creeks of the Greenbrier River Valley contain water quality, aquatic insects, and well-oxygenated chilly water like the larger limestone streams found in the Northeastern U.S.

These limestone streams run underground. When streams do suddenly appear, they provide a mystical experience for anglers—especially those who pursue their prey under catch-and-release, fly-fishing only regulations.

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“If you’re in the area and plan to go fishing, you owe it to yourself to try one of these ghost streams,” said Scott. “They’re cool, limestone-enriched underground waterways that create ideal habitat for trout.”

Hatcher, meanwhile, has other ideas when it comes to fishing. He has caught more than one hundred trophy-size channel catfish on chicken livers during the past 15 years.

He has nailed forty smallmouth and largemouth bass citations during the past five years at Stephens Lake, Sandstone Falls and Summersville Lake.

The resolute angler caught twenty of the citation-size bass last season.

Hatcher’s philosophy of fishing is simple: “Stay at it. You cannot catch them if you are on the couch.”

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>