Pipestem State Park’s trout fishing package shouldn’t be a secret. With doting coverage by West Virginia Game & Fish magazine on at least three different occasions and a full episode of TV’s Fly Rod Chronicle filmed there, the word is out. Or at least, it should be. It’s high time Mountain State residents join in on some of the action. After all, it’s not just for folks from several states distant to have and to hold just for themselves.
It’s with that backdrop and a hint of excitement that Ed Wooton of State Parks called the Banner and asked to get the word out. Pipestem is sister to our Chief Logan, southern coalfields state park and just a couple hour drive, easily accessible off the WV-Turnpike’s Athens Exit between the towns of Beckley and Princeton.
Ed advises that there are plenty of carry-over rainbow trout from last fall’s stocking to augment the recent truckload of big ‘bows. That is, the fish are a size again above the run of the mill. Better yet, you might just call them jumbo’s.
There’s only one way to find out, but we must advise that the waters are managed under DNR’s delayed harvest, catch and release rules. So if you’re not tied down by spring gobbler hunting and want to try an entirely different fishing experience, or at least have some basic fly-fishing skills, this one’s for you.
They ask that fly-fishing techniques be employed on a voluntary basis and are able to help with either equipment or basics. The special trout project was done in cooperation with WVU, the aquaculture industry, DNR, Parks and some local outfitters.
Trips run two days for groups of as many as ten. You can hitch up with others groups if yours is smaller. And hitch up, we do mean literally since it’s on horseback that you’re taken down and out of the special one-mile reach of Bluestone River.
All that’s because the park’s famed aerial tram down into the Bluestone Canyon is closed at this time of year. Once down in the canyon, you stay one night at the Mountain Creek Lodge conveniently located stream, or make that riverside. It’s there where your group has it and the fishing essentially all to themselves.
The horse wranglers double as cooks, providing some great meals. A fishing outfitter comes with the group helping to point out the hot holes, fly selection and of course, a little storytelling. If you can’t make the special spring “wrangler” package, a day trip is also possible come June when general catch and keep regulations apply and the aerial tram may be open to catch a ride down.
For current conditions, pricing and other details and possibilities, give Wooton a call at 304-466-1800, Ext. 393 or ring up Pipestem on the web.