The Birthplace of Rivers…Fun On and Around the Water of Nature’s Mountain playground

Mike Moore

With a moniker like The birthplace of Rivers, it should come as no surprise that water sports in Pocahontas County play a key role in making Nature’s Mountain Playground a major travel destination in West Virginia.  Fly fishing, canoeing, kayaking, and tubing float trips are just a few of the ways visitors enjoy the eight rivers that find their headwaters here in Pocahontas County.  And now that warmer weather is on the horizon, it’s the perfect time to plan your next river or lake getaway.  So, with that in mind, here’s a few suggestions and photographs for getting you motivated and out on the water in Nature’s Mountain Playground.



woman fly fishing in west virginia

When it comes to fishing in West Virginia, whether it’s trout, catfish, or a possible Bassmaster contender, Pocahontas County has a little something for everyone.  For all you scientific anglers out there, considering water temperature, leader and line weight, as well as presentation (in other words, fly fishermen), the streams of Nature’s Mountain Playground offer some of the best trout fishing anywhere in the state.  Thanks to the efforts of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources and programs like West Virginia Gold Rush, a state-wide initiative to stock more than 50,000 golden trout throughout the lakes and streams of West Virginia, as well as general fish stocking in West Virginia, the streams and lakes of Nature’s Mountain playground will be primed and ready for springtime trout fishing.  For those of you introducing youngsters to the fun of fishing, the lakes at Watoga State Park or Seneca State Forest would make a great choice.  With a healthy population of bass and bluegill, these lakes are the perfect setting to introduce anyone to the thrill of fishing.  And for those experienced with the art of fly fishing, looking to land a nice trout or two, the Williams River and Cranberry River rarely disappoint. 


When it comes to one of the best places to kayak in West Virginia, you’ll have a hard time finding anywhere better than Pocahontas County.  For those learning how to kayak or for anyone looking for some relaxing paddle time in flatwater conditions, check out Watoga Lake.  Located in the heart of Watoga State Park, this 11-acre lake is ideal for a quick day trip out on the water.  And if you’re looking for a little more adventure and the possibility of some mild, white-water action, the Greenbrier River may be the ticket.  And for those of you with a fishing kayak and the hopes of wetting a line, you’ll find plenty of opportunities at either Watoga lake or the Greenbrier River.  So, stock up on your favorite baits, be sure you’ve got your fishing license, and cast away.  Who knows, that big one could be just around the bend.     


So, what’s the difference between kayaking and canoeing?  Fundamentally speaking, not much.  Both are typically human-powered, small watercraft propelled by paddle.  The key differences are in the design of the two crafts.  Typically in a kayak you are seated much lower to the water and the majority of these are powered by a single occupant.  A canoe places you higher above the water’s surface and is most commonly powered by two occupants.  The open design of canoes makes it easy to load them up with packs and coolers, making the canoe the perfect mode of transportation for a lakeside picnic.  Again, Watoga Lake or Seneca Lake would be ideal for this kind of outing.  So, get that picnic basket filled and head out to that perfect spot.


The number of ways to enjoy the waters of Pocahontas County are just about endless.  Whether you’re fishing from the banks of a backcountry stream, floating down river in a kayak; letting the current take you where it will, or quietly canoeing one of our pristine lakes, the time you spend on or around the waters of Nature’s Mountain Playground is always special.  With the headwaters of eight rivers finding their origins here, it’s no wonder Pocahontas County is called The Birthplace of Rivers.  So, check it out for yourself.  Grab your rod and reel, load up the kayak or canoe, and jump in, the water is fine.