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West Virginia Angling Guide: The Biggest Fish in The Mountain State

west virginia

West Virginia may not be the first state that comes to mind when thinking about fishing destinations, but this hidden gem has a surprising number of fishing opportunities. From rivers to lakes, West Virginia offers a variety of fishing locations where anglers can find some of the biggest fish in the area.

1. Musky

The muskellunge, commonly known as musky, is one of the biggest fish species found in West Virginia. These fish can grow up to 5 feet in length and weigh over 50 pounds. Musky are predatory fish that are found in rivers and lakes throughout the state, including the Ohio River, Kanawha River, and Stonewall Jackson Lake.

2. Catfish

Catfish
Source: britannica.com

West Virginia is home to two types of catfish that can grow to be massive in size: channel catfish and flathead catfish. The state record for channel catfish was set in 1984 when a 40-pound, 8-ounce fish was caught in the Ohio River.

The state record for flathead catfish was set in 2000 when a 52-pound, 8-ounce fish was caught in the Ohio River as well. These giant catfish are commonly caught in the Ohio River and its tributaries, but can also be found in other rivers and lakes throughout the state.

3. Striped Bass

Striped Bass
Source: pressherald.com

Striped bass, also known as stripers, are another large fish species found in West Virginia. These fish can grow up to 4 feet in length and weigh over 50 pounds. Stripers are often found in the Ohio River and its tributaries, but can also be found in other rivers and lakes throughout the state. The state record for striped bass was set in 1994 when a 49-pound, 4-ounce fish was caught in the Ohio River.

4. Trout

While not as large as some of the other species on this list, trout are still a popular game fish in West Virginia. Rainbow, brown, and brook trout are all found in the state’s streams and rivers. The state record for rainbow trout was set in 2018 when a 19-pound, 8-ounce fish was caught in the North Fork South Branch Potomac River.

5. Walleye

Walleye
Source: idfg.idaho.gov

Walleye are another species of fish that can grow to be quite large in West Virginia. These fish are predatory and are often found in rivers and lakes throughout the state. The state record for walleye was set in 1997 when an 18-pound, 8-ounce fish was caught in Summersville Lake.

If you’re an avid angler seeking thrilling fishing adventures, read this article on our website.

6. Blue Catfish

Blue Catfish
Source: themeateater.com

Blue catfish are a species of catfish that are found in West Virginia’s rivers and lakes. These fish can grow up to 5 feet in length and weigh over 100 pounds. The state record for blue catfish was set in 2014 when a 59.74-pound fish was caught in the Ohio River.

7. Carp

Carp may not be the most glamorous fish species, but they can grow to be quite large in West Virginia. The state record for common carp was set in 2011 when a 50-pound, 2-ounce fish was caught in the Ohio River. Carp are commonly found in rivers and lakes throughout the state.

8. Smallmouth Bass

Smallmouth Bass
Source: ndow.org

Smallmouth bass is a popular game fish in West Virginia that can grow to be quite large. These fish are often found in rivers and streams throughout the state. The state record for smallmouth bass was set in 1977 when a 9-pound, 4-ounce fish was caught in the New River.

9. Largemouth Bass

Largemouth Bass
Source: news.yale.edu

Largemouth bass is another species of bass that can grow to be quite large in West Virginia. These fish are often found in lakes and ponds throughout the state. The state record for largemouth bass was set in 1994 when a 12-pound, 4-ounce fish was caught in the Monongahela River.

10. Sauger

Sauger
Source: mdc.mo.gov

Saugers are a species of fish that are closely related to walleye. These fish are found in rivers and lakes throughout West Virginia. While they may not grow as large as some other species, sauger can still provide a fun challenge for anglers. The state record for sauger was set in 2002 when a 7-pound, 5-ounce fish was caught in the Ohio River.

Conclusion

West Virginia offers a diverse range of fishing opportunities. Several species of fish that can grow to be quite large. Anglers can try their luck at catching massive ones and brag about it to their mates. With so many options available, West Virginia is a great destination for both novice and experienced anglers. Anyone looking for a challenge and the chance to catch a trophy-sized fish is welcome.

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