WV’s most unique fishing opportunity

Fishing the Bluestone in Southern West Virginia feels more like a Western trout stream than an Appalachian river.

The Bluestone River runs through some of the most beautiful and inaccessible wilderness in West Virginia. Shallow, clear, and flanked by steep cliffs, its last 10.5 miles are protected as a National Scenic River, and it borders Pipestem and Bluestone State Parks.

The Bluestone has warmwater fish like smallmouth bass, rock bass and bluegill. In the winter, you’ll find stocked rainbow trout.

However you like to fish, the Bluestone River has something for you:

  • If you like to fly fish for trout and smallmouth, wading in the fast, clear waters near Pipestem is great fun.
  • Good canoe and kayak fishing lies in the peaceful flatwater upstream of Bluestone State Park, and several state-record holding fish have been caught on the stunning Bluestone Lake.

The fishing is difficult when the water is low during the driest parts of summer.

Pipestem Resort State Park’s “Trout Wrangler” program has one of the most unique fishing opportunities in the state. In the spring and fall, you take a horseback riding trip from the canyon rim to the river to spend 2 days with a guide, fly fishing for stocked rainbow trout. You get to spend the night on the river in high comfort: Pipestem’s Mountain Creek Lodge, with all the meals and equipment included.

You can also head out on the Bluestone on your own. Unless you have a craft capable of negotiating swift, potentially hazardous Class III rapids, your best bet is to hike or ride Pipestem’s aerial tram (a unique experience; call ahead to see if it’s running) from the canyon rim to the river.

The riverside Mountain Creek Lodge in Pipestem Resort State Park has lodging and a restaurant on the otherwise remote and undeveloped river.

A trail runs along the river from Pipestem to Bluestone State Park, where Bluestone Lake begins. These deeper waters have catfish, carp, all sorts of bass, panfish and musky.

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This post was last updated on July 17, 2020