MASON COUNTY — The outdoors are an intrinsic part of life in Mason County, and many in the area are taking advantage of the warm weather to enjoy fishing in Mason.
While the county does not have a large number of fish-able ponds and lakes, it does have a large selection of fish-able rivers and waterways – the Ohio and Kanawha rivers and their tributaries.
According to West Virginia District 5 Fisheries Biologist Jeff Hansbarger: “The Ohio River is definitely a destination for Mason County [fishing],” explaining that the West Virginia record for Blue Catfish came out of the Ohio just below the R.C. Byrd Locks. “That’s a huge burgeoning fishery right now.”
In the rivers anglers can target several different species of catfish like blues, shovelheads, flatheads, and channel cats. Also plentiful in the major waterways are several species of sunfish, largemouth and smallmouth bass, hybrid and striped bass, and other smaller fish. During certain times of the year, muskie and pike are also targetable in the rivers.
Aside from the main navigable waterways, several creeks and tributaries can be fished as well. Across Mason County the creeks include Crab Creek south on Route 2, 18 and 13 mile creeks, and Old Town near Camp Conley. Because these are the feeding sources for the larger waterways, anything can be found in them that is also found in the Ohio and Kanawha. There are also several creeks that increase in size with the rains, and can be fished in the larger pools through wading.
One of the most well known fishing hole in Mason County is Krodel Park, an easy access water that is stocked with trout in the spring. The lake is home to some catfish, bluegill, bass, carp, and of course trout in the spring and early summer. The trout are a catch and take fish, due to the warm temperatures in the summer and the trout needing a cold environment to survive.
Other ponds in Mason County that offer good fishing include the Cornstock Wildlife Area and McClintick Wildlife Management Area, both of which are prime for bass fishing.
“McClintick is intended as a waterfowl pond, so it’s not as accessible as others. But that is what makes it good bass fishing,” explained Hansbarger.
Hansbarger also gave several tips for catching the most fish.
“You have to think hard to dupe some of these fish, do what others aren’t.”
He went on to tell that fishing at times when the water is not typically fished increases odds, as well as fishing at dawn or dusk when the light is changing.
“Some of the best fishing I’ve seen is on a warm October day during deer season,” he said. “Some guys will catch fish all day.”
He also explained that, because fish are cold blooded creatures, they are not as active when the sun is out and the water is warmer, indicating that better fishing occurs at cooler temperatures when the fish are active and feeding.
To learn more about West Virginia Department of Natural Resources or fishing in West Virginia, visit wvdnr.gov.
Reach Morgan McKinniss at 740-446-2342 ext 2108.