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Fishing For Catfish In West Virginia

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Guide to fishing for flathead, blue and channel catfish in WV

By AA-Fishing Staff Writers

West Virginia offers fantastic opportunities for catfish anglers, with its abundant rivers, lakes, and reservoirs. The purpose of this page is to share basic information about catfish fishing and catfish waters in the state. Anglers can target three main species of catfish in the state: channel catfish, flathead catfish, and blue catfish.

Channel catfish are the most commonly targeted catfish species in West Virginia. They can be found in various bodies of water, including the Ohio River, Kanawha River, and many lakes throughout the state. Channel catfish prefer areas with slower currents and tend to congregate near structures such as fallen trees, rock formations, and deep holes. Anglers often use a variety of baits such as cut bait, worms, and stink baits to attract channel catfish. Night fishing can be particularly productive for these nocturnal feeders.

Flathead catfish, also known as yellow cats, are another popular catfish species in West Virginia. They are known for their large size and powerful fights. Flatheads prefer deep, slow-moving rivers and reservoirs with plenty of cover, such as logjams and undercut banks. Live bait, such as small fish or large nightcrawlers, is commonly used to target flathead catfish. These fish are often caught during nighttime hours when they are more active and prowling for prey.

Blue catfish, known for their massive size and impressive strength, are a prized catch among catfish enthusiasts in West Virginia. They can be found in larger rivers such as the Ohio River, Kanawha River, and Big Sandy River. Blue catfish prefer deep, swift currents and can often be found in deep holes and near underwater structures. Anglers typically use live or cut bait, such as shad or skipjack, to entice blue catfish. These fish can reach weights exceeding 50 pounds, providing anglers with thrilling battles and memorable catches.

When catfish fishing in West Virginia, it's important to familiarize yourself with state regulations regarding size limits, bag limits, and fishing seasons for catfish. It's also crucial to handle catfish with care, practicing proper catch-and-release techniques to ensure their survival and the preservation of catfish populations for future generations. With its diverse catfish species and ample fishing opportunities, West Virginia is a haven for catfish anglers seeking exciting adventures on the water.

Catfish fishing in West Virginia

Flatheads, channel and blue catfish swim in many of the waters in West Virginia. Most of the big ones tend to be caught in rivers and the lakes tend to serve up the best eating catfish. Find catfish in ponds, creeks, rivers and lakes across the state including major lakes like Beech Fork Lake, Bluestone Lake, Burnsville Lake, Cheat Lake, East Lynn Lake, Jennings Randolph Lake, Moncove Lake, Mount Storm Lake, O’Brien Lake, Stonewall Jackson Lake, Summersville Lake and Tygart Lake.

Fishing Boats For Rent In West Virginia

Catfish in West Virginia

Channel Catfish

Channel catfish

World record: 58 lbs 0 oz

State Record: 33.42 lbs

Flathead Catfish

Flathead catfish

World record: 123 lbs 9 oz

State Record: 70.0 lbs

Blue Catfish

Blue catfish

World record: 143 lbs 0 oz

State Record: 59.74 lbs

Click the images and links above for species details.

What's the best bait for catfish in West Virginia?

Choose from the top 5 all-time catfish baits and try them on local waters. Appealing to the keen sense of smell and taste could turn a so-so day into a memorable event.

West Virginia State Record Catfish

The state record channel catfish was caught from Patterson Creek.

The state record flathead catfish came from the Little Kanawha River.

The state record blue catfish came out of the Ohio River.

Amber with her catfish

Caught by Amber Rae Jones, at Kanawha river near the boat ramp in Poca, this West Virginia Channel Catfish weighed in at 8 pounds and was 25" long.

There are many species of catfish and even more ways to catch them. Adults range in size from less than a pound to hundreds of pounds. Catfish are found in all types of water including ponds, streams, lakes and rivers throughout West Virginia. There are even species which spend a limited amount of time on dry land. Big giant catfish put up a very noble fight once hooked.

Catfish Fishing Video

Most catfish are considered bottom feeders to one extent or another. They will generally eat anything that can get in their mouth. Their strongest sense is smell which they use to locate potential food sources. Capitalizing on this sense is the primary weapon in your search for these creatures. Aggressive catfish have been caught on most types of fast moving bass lures so don't under estimate their ability to catch live bait.

Additional catfishing information resources.

Catfish Conservation Group

U.S. Catfish Anglers Tournaments

Planet Catfish


Information for states with catfish.

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