Throughout the 20th century,the U.S. government spent lots of money building dams across the state. Although they were intended to control flooding, these projects came with an awesome side effect—impoundment lakes for swimming, boating, and some seriously good fishing. Here’s a look at five little lakes that are hotspots for anglers.
A 970-acre impoundment just off Interstate 79 in Braxton County, this lake features crappie, bluegill, and three species of bass: largemouth, smallmouth, and spotted. Avoid this lake during the hottest days of summer, however. The water is relatively shallow and bass tend to get lazy when the thermometer starts climbing.
Located about 25 miles northeast of White Sulphur Springs in the Monongahela National Forest, this 165-acre lake, built in 1958, features bluegill, channel catfish, tiger muskie, and trophy-sized largemouth bass. A National Forest stamp is required for fishing, and only electric boat motors are allowed.
Monroe County’s 140-acre Moncove Lake (pictured) is home to large channel catfish—some weighing in at eight to 10 pounds—and trophy-sized largemouth bass. For the best chance at bagging a big bass, visit in late spring or early fall and use a deep runner lure.
This 300-acre Ritchie County impoundment stretches more than eight miles from North Bend State Park through the town of Harrisville. The water contains bluegill, channel catfish, crappie, muskie, as well as largemouth, smallmouth, and spotted bass, although the bass are subject to catch-and-release regulations.
Just upstream of Grafton, this 1,750-acre lake was formed in 1938 when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dammed the Tygart Valley River. Now a popular destination for anglers, the tailwaters of Tygart Lake are stocked with trout once a month from February through May and twice in October.
Photographed by Carla Witt Ford