Fishing and Boating
You can pack some power into your visit and discover all 13 miles of beautiful Cheat Lake on a jet ski or motorboat; don’t forget the skis and tubes! Boaters can launch from two lake marinas: Edgewater and Sunset, as well as the Port of Star City that accesses the Mon River. Plus, the backwaters of Cheat Lake and Little Sandy Creek are prime spots for anglers!
Fishermen will especially love the fish cleaning station available at the Cheat Lake Swimming Area at Millstone Point Beach. Find more information below.
Located just south of Grafton, WV, Tygart Lake State Park features a 10-mile, 1,750-acre lake that’s open to the public for fishing, boating, jet skis and more. Set sail from one of two public launch ramps around the perimeter of the lake and reserve your spot at the Tygart Lake Marina for a refuel. The Tygart Lake Marina offers rentals on fishing boats as well as 10-person pontoon boats and offers themed dinner cruises out onto Tygart Lake.
As with much of North Central West Virginia, Tygart Lake is stocked with a wide variety of bass, walleye, catfish, and more. Visitors with a valid West Virginia Fishing License are invited to sail out to the backwaters for deep-boat fishing or cast out from the shore. Don’t miss out on your chance for a prize fish! The Tygart Lake Dam is regularly stocked with trout by the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources and is a key stocking location for the annual WV Gold Rush.
Big Bear Lake
Bring the whole family out to Big Bear Lake and Camplands located in Bruceton Mills, WV. This 35-acre lake is surrounded by forested trails with cabins and campsites available for overnight trips. The lake itself is regularly stocked with native fish and trout by the WV Department of Natural Resources.
Dixon Lake and Mason Lake
Located in Core, WV, the five-acre Dixon Lake and 14.5-acre Mason Lake accommodate fishing for trout, bass, sunfish and bluegill. Mason Lake is stocked with trout from February until May and is equipped with a boat ramp. Both are wheelchair-accessible fishing trails. The lakes are part of the 766-acre Pedlar Wildlife Management Area, managed by the WV Division of Natural Resources.
Where to Buy a West Virginia Fishing License
Interested in fishing the waterways of Mountaineer Country? Everyone age 15 or older must have an active fishing license from the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources before casting out onto the water. West Virginia residents and nonresidents have a few license options to choose from – check out the full list here. Go online today to purchase your license before your next trip to Mountaineer Country, or buy it in person at one of the state’s approved locations.
Pro Tip: Purchasing a lifetime fishing license will ensure that nothing stops you from reeling in your next prize catch. And when you’re out on the water, be sure to have a form of identification with you at all times. Happy fishing!
Bearfoot Springs at Big Bear Lake
Overnight campers at Big Bear Lake’s Beaver Creek Village can receive exclusive access to the newest water attraction in Preston County. Bearfoot Springs is a private pool featuring two 350-foot waterslides and a 400-foot lazy river. Enjoy hot and cold snacks from the covered concession stand or catch some sun from the zero-grade entry splash zone.
Cheat Lake Swimming Area
The Millstone Point Beach is a public swimming area at Cheat Lake that is open Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day Weekend. Visitors to Cheat Lake can access this beach via the Cheat Lake Trail. Picnic tables, fishing platforms and public restrooms are also available at this beach, making it great for family outings and gatherings.
Audra State Park
Dip your toes into the clearest waters of West Virginia. Audra State Park, located in Barbour County, WV, is a popular swimming hole destination for locals and travelers alike. The paved beach and smooth stone shore of the Middle Fork River are perfect for lounging and catching a bit of sun. The designated swimming area features shallow kid-friendly waters as well as deeper sections with gentle currents, perfect for lounging in an innertube.
Head to the Suncrest neighborhood in Morgantown, WV, for this hidden gem. Krepps Park is a 36-acre park filled with wooded trails and outdoor space. Visitors can enjoy the community pool, diving board, beach area and aquatic play area for kids under twelve. Lockers and concessions are available throughout the public season.
Marilla Park, located in Sabraton, WV, is a 45-acre outdoor recreational area featuring a skate park, baseball fields and one of the largest public outdoor pools in the area. The pool features two waterslides, a beach area, as well as concessions and lockers available for day use. Marilla Park also has easy access onto the Deckers Creek Trail, one of three trail systems that make up the Monongahela River Rail Trail.
The Aquatic Center at Mylan Park
Swim year-round at The Aquatic Center at Mylan Park, located in Morgantown, WV. Families and community members can enjoy the indoor Huntington Community Pool, featuring water slides, six 25-yard lap lanes, and a kid-friendly play area. More competitive swimmers are invited to try out the state-of-the-art Competition Pool & Diving Well. This Olympic-sized, 50-meter pool is open to the public for select swim hours, so check the schedule before you go!
Kayaks and Paddling
Crystal clear mountain streams and long, lazy rivers are perfect for canoeing, kayaking and whitewater rafting. Find a list of recommended rafting routes throughout Mountaineer Country with our White Water Rafting and Kayaking Guide.
Paddlers can drop in for flatwater kayaking and canoeing from almost anywhere along the Monongahela River in Mountaineer Country. Between each lock and dam, the waters are calm and clean, with slow-moving currents and lots of room to paddle. The entire Monongahela River stretches 128-miles, connecting Fairmont, WV and Pittsburgh, PA, with a unique north-flowing current. Multiple put-in and take-out points along the riverbank allow for each access to restaurants, shopping, rest points and more outdoor destinations in Mountaineer Country.
Learn more about the Monongahela River →
The Cheat River is 78-miles of free-flowing river that produces everything from flatwater paddling to Class III, IV and V white water rapids. Paddlers and kayakers alike love the ever-changing landscape of the West Virginia Appalachian Mountains. Winding waters that flow northward produce a one-of-a-kind outdoor experience for all water sports enthusiasts.
Drop into the headwaters of the Upper Cheat River Water Trail for the first 38-miles of the Cheat River. Located just north of Morgantown, WV, these calm, flat waters are perfect for a relaxing day on the water and are a great way to introduce beginners to the water. The Upper Cheat River Water Trail takes paddlers south through the Cheat Canyon towards Kingwood, WV.
You’ll feel the intensity ramp up as you head into the Cheat Narrows, rushing just outside of Rowlesburg, WV. Though this short-run makes up only 5-miles of the Cheat River, the Class II-II+ and Class II rapids make it a wild ride. From here, paddlers will enter the Cheat River Water Trail to complete the final 40-miles of the Cheat River, reaching the terminus at Parsons, WV.
Learn about half and full-day whitewater trips, available through several of the area’s local outfitters. Find more information below.
Tygart Valley River at Valley Falls State Park
The Tygart Valley River flows through Valley Falls State Park in Fairmont, WV. Four sets of cascading waterfalls give this State Park name its name and are a natural draw for kayakers and paddlers alike. Known as the “Last Waters in West Virginia,” the water levels and current of the Tygart Valley River stay strong throughout most of the year. Take on 1.5-miles of Class II to Class IV rapid before taking on the falls. Some expertise and technical skill is recommended for these rapids. All visitors looking to take on the Tygart at Valley Falls are advised to check-in at the park superintendent’s office.
Learn more about Valley Falls State Park →
Find Guided River Trips
Meet up with this local flatwater paddling group focused on promoting and developing social, relaxed kayaking, canoeing, and paddleboarding in the Morgantown area. The group holds regular group outings on the water, as well as beginner classes and adventure trips.
Bringing adventure and outdoor recreation opportunities to Grafton since 2016, the Taylor County Adventure Club is one way the community of Taylor County and surrounding counties are giving back to their local communities.
Discover the best whitewater rafting on the Cheat River in Northern West Virginia! And don’t miss their rock climbing, wild caving and paintball programs. Choose between Class V whitewater rafting on the spectacular Cheat Canyon and Big Sandy, Class III whitewater rafting on the Cheat Narrows and family-style rafting all summer long–wild to mild. There are also kids and group rates. Open March through November and located 12 miles south of I-68. Call 1-888-99-RIVER.
Now at McFly Outdoors: guided fishing trips through the rivers and waterways in North Central West Virginia. Choose between full-day, half-day, or hourly fishing trips for two or more anglers, lead by experienced guides. Explore the Tygart River and the mighty Monongahela, or choose to wade along the Cheat River and beyond. Add-on hiking to your guided trip for even more outdoor adventure!
Kayak & Boat Rentals
Now open at Tygart Lake, Lakeside by HardCore Hunters is a family-owned and operated one-stop-shop for fun on the water. Choose between stand-up paddleboard rentals, kayak rentals, inner tube rentals and pull behinds! Reservations are recommended. Visit on Facebook and call today to save your spot this summer. Call 304-903-8026.
Fun on the water for all ages and skill levels is available at the family-owned Padlz Canoe & Kayak Rentals. The flat waters of the Big Sandy River and the small Bruceton Lake provide views of wildlife and perfect shores to make a picnic. Located in Bruceton Mills. Call 304-777-3665.
New to Cheat River in Rowlesburg, WV, River House Boats offers a new kayak rental and shuttle service to any location on the Upper Cheat River Water Trail. We will transport your boat or our rental boats to any designated access point on the Water Trail, and pick up the returning boats in Rowlesburg at the Riverwalk or Rowlesburg Park. Call 978-270-3847 for details, or see our website.
Find everything you need for a day on the water at Cheat Lake when you visit Sunset Beach Marina. Visitors can rent a ski boat, large or small pontoon, as well as canoes, and double or single kayaks. Add some fun with skis, wakeboards, and tube rentals, or take it easy when you rent a stand-up paddleboard.
Planning a trip to Tygart Lake? Reserve your boat rental from Tygart Lake Marina so that you’re not stuck on shore! Pontoon and fishing boat rentals are available with prior reservations highly recommended. Rentals are usually booked up to four weeks in advance, especially during peak season. Full and multi-day rentals are available for lessors age 21 years or older. Ask for multi-day discounts when you call to reserve your boat today.
Shop Local Gear
McFly Outdoors is a family-owned business with three locations located in Bridgeport, Fairmont, and Morgantown, WV. Find carefully selected and abundantly stocked gear for all your outdoor adventures, from fly-fishing, hunting, camping, hiking and more!
Shop West Virginia’s largest independent outdoor retailer. Established in 1973 and centrally located in downtown Morgantown, Pathfinder of WV offers a wide selection of kayaks, canoes, gear and apparel.
Shop the midwest’s largest sporting goods chain. Every location offers the choice of top name brands at the lowest prices possible, ranging from traditional sporting goods to active and casual sports apparel & footwear.
Popular Events and Attractions
Every spring, the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources stocks the lakes, rivers and streams of West Virginia with over 50,000 prized golden rainbow trout. Anglers young and old renew their fishing license just for the chance to reel in one of these brightly colored and unmistakable beauties.
WV Bass Tournament
If you’re a fisherman at heart, you will want to catch the WV Bass Tournament when it comes through Morgantown in the spring/summer months.