Exploring Parkersburg’s Waterways: Boating and Fishing Spots

Parkersburg, West Virginia, is a hidden gem for water enthusiasts. Whether you’re into boating, fishing, or just enjoying the great outdoors, this area has something for everyone. From serene lakes to the mighty Ohio River, Parkersburg offers numerous spots to cast a line or paddle away. Let’s dive into some of the best places to explore.

Key Takeaways

  • North Bend Lake is ideal for catching bass and muskies, and offers night fishing for the adventurous.
  • Blennerhassett Island Historical State Park can only be reached by a sternwheeler riverboat, adding a unique twist to your visit.
  • The Ohio River and local streams provide excellent fishing spots for both beginners and experts.
  • Camping options near Parkersburg are plentiful, with top-rated campsites offering amenities like potable water and campfires.
  • Wildlife enthusiasts can enjoy bird watching and spotting aquatic life while boating and fishing.

Discovering North Bend Lake

Fishing for Bass and Muskies

North Bend Lake is a fantastic spot for fishing enthusiasts. Anglers can expect to catch bass and muskies in its clear waters. The lake is well-stocked, making it a prime location for both beginners and experienced fishers. Don’t forget to bring your favorite lures and bait to increase your chances of a big catch.

Night Fishing Adventures

For those who enjoy a bit of adventure, night fishing at North Bend Lake is a must-try. The calm and quiet of the night provide a unique fishing experience. Make sure to bring a good flashlight and some warm clothes, as it can get chilly after the sun goes down.

Exploring the Surrounding Area

Beyond fishing, North Bend Lake offers plenty of activities. You can hike the nearby trails, enjoy a picnic by the water, or simply relax and take in the beautiful scenery. The area is perfect for a day trip or a weekend getaway with family and friends.

North Bend Lake is a hidden gem that offers something for everyone, whether you’re there to fish, hike, or simply relax by the water.

Blennerhassett Island Historical State Park

Blennerhassett Island boating fishing

Accessing the Island by Sternwheeler

To reach Blennerhassett Island, you need to take a charming sternwheeler riverboat. This unique mode of transport adds a touch of adventure to your visit. The boat ride itself is a delightful experience, offering scenic views of the Ohio River.

Colonial Life Exhibits

Once on the island, you can explore exhibits that showcase colonial life. These displays provide a fascinating glimpse into the past, with artifacts and reenactments that bring history to life. It’s a great way to learn about the area’s rich heritage.

Fishing Opportunities

Blennerhassett Island is also a fantastic spot for fishing. The waters around the island are teeming with fish, making it a popular destination for anglers. Whether you’re a seasoned fisherman or a beginner, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to cast your line and enjoy a relaxing day by the water.

Visiting Blennerhassett Island Historical State Park is like stepping back in time. The combination of historical exhibits and natural beauty makes it a must-see destination in Parkersburg.

Top Fishing Spots in Parkersburg

boating and fishing in Parkersburg

Parkersburg is a haven for fishing enthusiasts, offering a variety of spots to cast your line and enjoy the great outdoors. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or just starting out, you’ll find plenty of places to explore and fish in this charming city.

Camping and Fishing Near Parkersburg

Looking to go camping near Parkersburg, West Virginia, and love fishing? Look no further than Hipcamp! With over 1,147 options available in the area, you’ll find the perfect campsite to cast your line. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or just starting out, there’s something for everyone. Check out top-rated campsites like Fruitdale Farm (352 reviews), The Lake at the Flying J Farm (319 reviews), and The Turkey Hollow Campground (239 reviews). Plus, enjoy popular amenities like potable water and campfires.

Boating Adventures on the Ohio River

Motorized Boating

The Ohio River is perfect for motorized boating. There are many public boat ramps with plenty of parking. Some ramps even have ADA-compliant facilities. Boaters can enjoy a sense of remoteness because trees along the riverbank often block views of homes and roads. This makes for a peaceful and scenic ride.

Human-Powered Boating

For those who prefer a quieter experience, human-powered boating like canoeing and kayaking is ideal. You can pull your canoe or kayak onto the shore and explore the islands on foot. These islands are part of the Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge. Paddling along the river lets you feel close to nature and history.

Scenic Routes to Explore

The Ohio River has many scenic routes to explore. You can see the rich engineering history of the river from the Water Trail. The trail offers views of wildlife, including nearly 200 species of birds and over 100 species of fish. Whether you are in a motorized boat or a kayak, the Ohio River provides a beautiful and diverse experience.

Wildlife Viewing While Boating and Fishing

Bird Watching

The Ohio River is a haven for bird watchers. The Water Trail lies between two major bird migration routes, leading to a high diversity of species. Nearly 200 types of birds, including osprey and bald eagles, visit the river each year. Bird watching while boating can be a thrilling experience as you might spot these majestic creatures in their natural habitat.

Aquatic Life

The Ohio River is home to over 100 species of fish, such as spotted bass, sauger, freshwater drum, and catfish. While fishing, you can observe these fish in their natural environment. Aquatic life in the river is abundant, making it a great spot for both fishing and wildlife observation.

Best Times for Wildlife Spotting

Early morning and late afternoon are the best times to spot wildlife. During these times, animals are more active and easier to see. Whether you’re boating or fishing, keep your eyes peeled for the various species that call the Ohio River home.

Enjoying the natural beauty of Parkersburg’s waterways adds an extra layer of excitement to your boating and fishing adventures.

Fishing Regulations and Licenses

If you’re new to fishing in West Virginia, the first step is to get your fishing license. The easiest way to do this is by visiting the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources website. All anglers aged 15 and older must have a fishing license, which is valid for the calendar year. Once you have your license, you’re ready to catch bass, catfish, trout, walleye, and more.

Fishing in Parkersburg comes with a set of rules to ensure the sustainability of fish populations and the safety of anglers. Here are some key regulations:

  • Always carry your fishing license with you.
  • Follow the daily catch limits for different fish species.
  • Use only approved bait and tackle.
  • Respect seasonal fishing restrictions.

Practicing catch and release helps maintain healthy fish populations. Here are some tips to do it right:

  1. Use barbless hooks to minimize injury to the fish.
  2. Handle the fish as little as possible and always with wet hands.
  3. Release the fish back into the water quickly and gently.
  4. Avoid fishing in extremely hot or cold temperatures to reduce stress on the fish.

Remember, following these guidelines not only helps the environment but also ensures that future generations can enjoy fishing in Parkersburg.

Seasonal Fishing Tips

Fishing in Parkersburg is a year-round activity, with each season offering unique experiences. Whether you’re cooling off in the summer or trying your hand at ice fishing in the winter, there’s always something to enjoy.

Spring Fishing

Spring is a great time to fish as the waters warm up and fish become more active. Look for bass and trout in local streams and lakes. Make sure you have your license and gear ready for a successful trip.

Summer Fishing

Summer is perfect for fishing in secluded streams to escape the heat. There are many other activities available that you can choose from like hiking, birdwatching, horseback riding, swimming and so on. Enjoy your summer and be prepared with sunscreen and insect repellent.

Fall and Winter Fishing

Fall offers cooler temperatures and less crowded fishing spots. Winter fishing, including ice fishing, can be a thrilling experience. Always dress warmly and bring a dry change of clothes just in case.

No matter the season, Parkersburg’s waterways are stocked with a variety of fish, making it a prime location for anglers year-round.

Family-Friendly Fishing Spots

Safe and Accessible Locations

Parkersburg offers several fishing spots that are both safe and easy to get to, making them perfect for families. North Bend Lake is a favorite, with its calm waters and well-maintained facilities. Another great option is the Ohio River, where you can find designated fishing areas that are safe for kids.

Kid-Friendly Fishing Tips

Fishing with kids can be a fun and rewarding experience. Here are some tips to make it enjoyable:

  1. Choose a spot with easy access to the water.
  2. Use simple gear like a basic rod and reel.
  3. Bring plenty of snacks and drinks.
  4. Be patient and keep the experience light-hearted.

Picnic Areas and Playgrounds

Many of Parkersburg’s fishing spots also have picnic areas and playgrounds, making it easy to spend the whole day outdoors. Blennerhassett Island Historical State Park is a great example, offering both fishing and family-friendly amenities. Pack a lunch and enjoy a day of fishing, playing, and exploring the surrounding area.

Spending time outdoors fishing and playing can create lasting memories for the whole family. Explore hiking, biking, kayaking, and wildlife in Parkersburg’s outdoor gems.

Fishing Gear and Tackle Shops in Parkersburg

Local Shops to Visit

When you’re in Parkersburg and need fishing gear, there are several local shops worth visiting. These stores offer a variety of equipment to suit both beginners and seasoned anglers. One popular spot is Angler’s Haven, known for its friendly staff and wide selection of tackle. Another great option is Fisherman’s Corner, where you can find everything from rods to bait.

Essential Gear for Beginners

If you’re new to fishing, it’s important to have the right gear. Start with a basic rod and reel combo, which is easy to use and perfect for beginners. Don’t forget to pick up some hooks, sinkers, and a tackle box to keep everything organized. Live bait like worms or minnows can also be very effective for catching fish in the local waters.

Specialty Equipment for Advanced Anglers

For those with more experience, specialty equipment can make a big difference. High-quality rods and reels, designed for specific types of fishing, can improve your chances of a good catch. Lures and flies, tailored to the fish species in Parkersburg, are also essential. Advanced anglers might also invest in electronic fish finders to locate the best fishing spots.

Exploring Parkersburg’s waterways offers a unique blend of adventure and relaxation. Whether you’re fishing or just enjoying the scenery, the local shops have everything you need to make the most of your trip.

Fishing Events and Tournaments

boating and fishing in Parkersburg

Annual Fishing Competitions

Parkersburg hosts several exciting fishing competitions throughout the year. These events are perfect for both seasoned anglers and beginners looking to test their skills. One of the most anticipated events is the Parkersburg Bass Classic, which draws participants from all over the region. Competitors vie for the top spot and a chance to win impressive prizes.

Community Fishing Events

Community fishing events are a great way to bring people together and enjoy the sport of fishing. These events often include fun activities for kids, making them perfect for family outings. Look out for the annual Kids’ Fishing Derby, where young anglers can learn the basics of fishing in a friendly and supportive environment.

How to Participate

Participating in these events is easy and fun. Here are a few steps to get you started:

  1. Check the event schedule on the Parkersburg community website.
  2. Register online or at designated local shops.
  3. Make sure you have the necessary fishing gear and a valid fishing license.
  4. Arrive early to secure a good spot and meet fellow anglers.

Participating in fishing events and tournaments is a fantastic way to improve your skills, meet new people, and enjoy the beautiful waterways of Parkersburg.


Exploring Parkersburg’s waterways is a delightful adventure for both boating and fishing enthusiasts. With spots like North Bend Lake and the Ohio River, there’s no shortage of places to cast a line or set sail. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a beginner, the area offers something for everyone. Don’t forget to check out the local history and enjoy the beautiful scenery. So pack your gear, gather your friends and family, and head to Parkersburg for a memorable outdoor experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

What types of fish can I catch at North Bend Lake?

At North Bend Lake, you can catch bass, muskies, catfish, and crappie. It’s a great spot for a variety of fish.

How can I reach Blennerhassett Island Historical State Park?

You can only reach Blennerhassett Island by taking a sternwheeler riverboat. It’s a unique and fun way to get there.

Are there any night fishing opportunities in Parkersburg?

Yes, North Bend Lake offers night fishing. It’s perfect for those who enjoy fishing under the stars.

What are some top-rated campsites near Parkersburg?

Some top-rated campsites include Fruitdale Farm, The Lake at the Flying J Farm, and The Turkey Hollow Campground. They have great reviews and amenities.

Where can I get a fishing license in Parkersburg?

You can get a fishing license at local shops or online through the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources website.

What should I know about fishing regulations in Parkersburg?

It’s important to follow local fishing regulations, including size and bag limits. Always check the latest rules before you go fishing.

Are there any family-friendly fishing spots in Parkersburg?

Yes, there are several safe and accessible locations perfect for families. Some spots even have picnic areas and playgrounds for kids.

When is the best time for wildlife viewing while boating or fishing?

The best times for wildlife spotting are early morning and late afternoon. You’ll have a better chance of seeing birds and other animals during these times.

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