Paddle and Fish Hardy County’s Rivers, Runs, and Lakes
Kayaking, canoeing, or floating? Spinning or fly fishing? Hardy County, WV offers seasonally
gentle or whitewater rivers, as well as lakes and mountain runs waiting to be fished.
Tributaries wind down the mountain slopes feeding Hardy County’s six rivers to offer some of the best paddling and fishing in West Virginia. Fed by the North Fork and South Fork, the South Branch of the Potomac River is a favorite, and, whether fishing or floating the river, the Trough should definitely be a destination. This historic six-mile gorge features towering rock walls that can only be accessed by water. Known for its great bass fishing and abundance of rainbow, brown, and brook trout, you can also watch bald eagles soar overhead.
Hanging Rock is a favorite casting spot on the 30-mile Lost River. Disappearing underground at Lost River Sinks, the river emerges as the Cacapon River. Flowing north through two more counties to the Potomac River, the Cacapon is a great distance-paddling river. The Cacapon and its tributaries are known for their brook trout habitats, and nearby Warden Lake offers easily accessible fishing. The longest grass carp on record (53.1″) was landed at Warden Lake this year.
North River flows east from its headwaters at 3,000 feet and skirts the northern boundary of Hardy County before turning north to flow to its confluence with the Cacapon. Like so many of the mountain runs and man-made lakes, the North is stocked throughout the season. Upper Cove, Kimsey Run, and Parker Hollow Lakes are well-known fishing spots, with Parker Hollow’s submerged, standing trees creating great fish habitat.
Hardy County is the area which encompasses the most condensed number of fishable streams—it is absolutely one of my favorites!Curtis Fleming, host of Fly Rod Chronicles
The 17-acre Rockcliff Lake at Trout Pond Recreation Area offers a tranquil setting for canoeing, a beach area for swimming, and incredible fishing from the river’s tree-lined shore or by boat. Channel catfish, largemouth bass, and trout are regularly caught at Rockcliff but, while night fishing is permitted, there are special boating and fishing limit regulations. Nearby is Trout Pond, at times not more than a large puddle, it is the only natural lake in West Virginia.
So, come for the day but plan to stay the night at one of the many inns, bed and breakfasts, and vacation cabins or at a more tradition hotel or motel in Hardy County. Find a complete list of accommodations, restaurants, and shopping, plus river access points and trail maps, at visithardywv.com.
Float the South Branch!
Check out Breezewood Adventures, outfitters located just south of Moorefield. Raised in the Appalachian Mountains, the proprietors (brothers) respect the wild yet fragile waterways and
have returned home to share their experiences. You can rent kayaks and canoes for paddling or fishing the South Branch. They also offer a variety of river trips with shuttle service and host private camping trips featuring waterfront sites, river access, and adventure activities.