4 hidden trout hotspots

Follow the locals down to these hidden trout-teeming hotspots in the Mountain State:

1. Second Creek – Monroe County

This 1.5-mile long stretch of stream is 1 of 6 state spots designated for fly-fishing only. It’s stocked every April, and local anglers divide the river into 2 sections: above and below the water bridge (Note: This bridge is private property and open to foot traffic only, no vehicles).

Second Creek is about 25 feet wide and an easy wade, packed with mayfly nymphs and scuds on the surface and a respectable population of brown trout, with an occasional rainbow, below. It’s about 5 miles south of Ronceverte.

2. Rt 28/55 – South Branch Potomac

Although it’s best known for its smallmouth bass population, the North Fork of the South Branch Potomac River boasts a mix of rainbow and brown trout, the occasional brook trout and West Virginia’s magical golden trout. The stretch along Rt. 28 is narrower than other parts of the river, which makes it a perfect spot to perfect your short casts. Locals recommend using dry-flies and nymphs.


3. Elk River

Some folks consider this the best trout fishing in the East. The Elk River offers anglers brookies, browns and rainbows, with rumors of 22-plus inch catches. The catch-and–release section of the river starts at the headwaters in Slatyfork and extends about 5 miles downriver.

After disappearing into underground caves for several miles, the river reappears in the form of 3 huge underground springs where rainbows as large as wild salmon have been spotted. Nymphing is the recommend course of action along this river, and locals know that the best catches happen after dusk.

4. Buffalo Fork Lake

This 22-acre lake is stocked once in February, every 2 weeks from March through May and then twice in October, with some of the trout remaining year round. It’s best suited for boat casting, but there is also a trail circling the lake for bank fishing.

Buffalo Fork Lake is closed to swimmers, so you don’t have to worry about unruly splashing scaring off your next big catch. Night fishing is allowed, so you can practice your cast under the stars of Pocahontas County’s famous dark sky.

Reminder: You’ll need a West Virginia license and trout stamp, along with a National Forest Stamp for some rivers.

Where are you catching the next big one?


This post was last updated on July 27, 2020