Step Outside - West Virginia WELCOME TO STEP OUTSIDE! Find the best outdoor fun near you! en-us 30 Step Outside - West Virginia 144 144 Thu, 18 Apr 2019 19:20:10 -0500 8 Best Ski Destinations for Families in West Virginia Nothing quite captures the feeling of winter than by snapping into a pair of skis and heading out for a family vacation. Ski the slopes together, hit the snow tubing park, then finish off the day with hot cocoa in front of roaring fireplace. Here are the best ski destinations in the Mountain State.  

For fun in the snow and memories that will last a lifetime, Snowshoe Mountain Resort in Snowshoe, West Virginia, is a great place for a winter family vacation. The Appalachian Mountains is home to some of the best snow around for wintertime activities like skiing, sledding, tubing, and snowboarding, and this resort is on over 250 acres of skiable country. With 60 trails from which to choose, you’ll have to see it to believe it. There are so many things to do here, the only problem you’ll have is deciding what to do. And dining won’t be a problem either because there are several places that serve up great cuisine and yummy kid-friendly foods. 

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the best shredders you’ll meet

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Ghent, West Virginia, is where you and your family can celebrate all things winter on your next vacation. This popular resort has it all—tubing, skiing, snowboarding, great dining, amazing scenic views, and more. If you’re new to winter sports, you can take a lesson from one of the knowledgeable instructors, and lessons start for those as young as five. There’s even a Frosties Kinder Care program for children from six months to four years-old. Open from December through March, you’ll have over 90 acres to explore with slopes for every skill level. Night skiing is a great alternative, and Winterplace has the largest snow tubing park in the Mountain State.

Timberline Four Season Resort in Davis, West Virginia, is the place to be this winter with your friends and family. Called the Jewel of the Highlands, you’ll understand why when you travel to the top of the mountain at this family-owned and managed resort in the heart of the Allegheny Mountains. For 30 years, people aged four and up, beginners and experts, have been enjoying this amazing mountain and all it offers. There are special discounts available and several adventures for little ones, like Timber Adventures for ages four to seven years, and Mountain Safari for ages eight to 12. There are group and private lessons for older kids and adults that will boost your confidence and safety.

Almost a household name, Canaan Valley in the eastern part of West Virginia, offers great family fun. You can choose skiing and snowboarding, snow tubing, cross-country skiing and showshoeing, ice skating, and other fun activities for all ages. There’s a lodge, but if you prefer, there are cabins and cottages available year-round, too. Forget something at home or not sure if you want to invest in expensive equipment before knowing how your young ones like the snow? You can rent skiing and snowboarding equipment. New to outdoor winter activities? Take a lesson from one of the qualified and very patient ski or snowboarding instructors. The ski school offers a package deal that includes a one-day lift ticket, ski or snowboard rental, and a lesson for ages seven and up.

Davis, West Virginia, is home to White Grass Ski Touring Center. What’s a touring center you might ask? This unique place is one of the first of its kind in the Mountain State and has cross-country and regular skiing with cross-country gear, backcountry, Telemark, and skating skis. You can even rent a pull behind sled for the little ones. Stop by the ski school and brush up on the basics, and don’t forget to eat at the natural foods café.

Even when it doesn’t snow, it snows at Oglebay Resort in Wheeling, West Virginia, and every day can be a snow day. Open mid-December to March, you and your family will have a (snow)ball when you spend the day or the weekend skiing, snowboarding, or tubing. Season passes are available, and lessons include rental equipment for the day and a discount on your lift ticket. 

Want to get away with the family this winter for some unusual winter fun? Go to Elk River Touring Center located in Slatyfork, West Virginia, and get exploring. Deep in the Monongahela National Forest, Elk River is the perfect answer to the winter blues. Winter in the mountains is magical, and with an average of 180 inches of the white stuff each year, this is one of the best cross-country ski destinations in the state. If you don’t have your own equipment, you can rent sleds, snowshoes, and skis in sizes that fit children and adults. 

In the beautiful Allegheny Mountains just miles from Deep Creek Lake and Morgantown, you and your family will have so much fun at this mountaintop vacationland. Open year-round, the area was opened in the 1960s as a hunting and fishing club, but was later converted to a public wonderland that includes a lodge and dining facility for up to 250 guests, an indoor swimming pool, fitness center and game room, and an annual snowfall over 100 inches, making it a great place for cross-country skiing on the seven trails there. 

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5 Best Ice Skating Rinks in West Virginia A chill in the air, the sound of skates carving the ice—is there a better way to enjoy the winter season? From Learn-To-Skate sessions for those just finding their skating legs to participating in adult hockey leagues, being inside a rink is invigorating. From South Charleston to Morgantown, the first-rate ice skating rinks of West Virginia will give you what you’re looking for. Here are our favorites.   

Looking for a great place to spend a few hours with friends or family? Visit South Charleston’s own Memorial Ice Arena for some frosty fun. Admission is $8 per person and skates can be rented for $2. If you want to stay all day, you can do that for just $13 per person. Group rates are available, and the rink can be rented by your church or school group most evenings. Parents can sit in the heated waiting area. Other amenities include lockers and an onsite concession stand that sells a variety of snacks. If you’re looking for somewhere to have your next birthday, look no further. You can rent the large party room for a reasonable price. If you have a toddler who you’d like to introduce to the ice, they have a Totcicles program on Friday mornings that includes story time, snacks, and hot chocolate. 


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Morgantown, West Virginia, is home to the Morgantown Ice Arena, where fun is the name of the game. Adult admission is $5 and kids are $4 with skate rental being $3, so it’s a great deal. Group rates are discounted, and family passes are available. Sundays are specials days at the arena because it’s Family Day. Up to four family members can skate between 1:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. for $10 without skate rental or $20 with skate rental. Lockers are available, and you and your family can learn to figure skate together by signing up for one of the sessions taught by the Mason-Dixon Figure Skating Club. 

The Wheeling Park Memorial Skating Rink in Wheeling, West Virginia, provides fun on the ice from mid-October to mid-March each year. Friends and family can enjoy the public skate times on weekends for just $6.25 per person for kids aged three to 12 and $7.25 for ages 13 and up. You can bring your own skates or rent a pair there for $4. If you love skating but need to improve your skills, you can sign up for private lessons. 

I want a whole (freshly smoothed) rink to myself. ⛸❄️

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Overnight guests of the Greenbrier Resort have complimentary use of the cool new 70-foot by 140-foot ice skating rink that has lights, music, and a great fire pit. Add yourself and watch the fun begin! Don’t have your own skates? No problem because you can rent them there. All ages can enjoy this state-of-the-art facility. Friends of guests can also enjoy the rink for $20 a day plus skate rental, which is $27 for adults and $17 for kids 12 and under.

Canaan Valley may be well known for its skiing and snowboarding, but if you love ice skating, there’s no better place than here. Located in Davis, West Virginia, glide across this covered outdoor ice rink and view the amazing panoramic views of the Allegheny Mountains. If you get cold, you can take a break by the warm outdoor fireplace and enjoy a cup of hot cocoa. If you get there and discover you’ve forgotten something, you can pick it up at the sporting good shop nearby. Two-hour skating is only $7 for adults and $5 for children and seniors. Skate rental is $3.

Skate Date! ⛸

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8 Best Apres Ski Activities at Snowshoe Mountain The aptly named Snowshoe Mountain provides its visitors with some of the best winter fun in West Virginia. With some of the best terrain for winter activities in the mid-Atlantic area, there are 18 trails and six lifts to explore. After hitting all of the trails you’re going to work up a hearty appetite, maybe a craving for a stiff drink, or you might still have the bug for more adventure. Whatever you prefer, here are some of the best apres ski activities around Snowshoe Mountain. 

You’ve never been tubing until fly down one of the eight lanes available at this exciting six-story hill. Tickets on the main tubing hill are good for two hours of non-stop fun for anyone over age three, and there’s a special smaller hill for tubers under three.  

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Made with people of all ages in mind, you’ll have a ball at this indoor/outdoor heated pool. There’s a sauna and hot tub available for those who literally want to sit and soak, but if you crave more adventure, you can master the elements as you fly down the indoor/outdoor slide. Admission is free for guests who booked their lodging though Snowshoe Central Reservations, and only $15 for others. 

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This spa is a great way to relax after a day of skiing on the mountain. The stress on your tired muscles will melt away with any of the special body treatments, facials, or ultimate massages designed to put you in a heavenly state of mind in the Almost Heaven state. 

Escape to a different reality in the Woods Escape Room, one of the most intense escape rooms in the area. You and your group will be locked in a remote mountain cabin trying to unlock the mystery of monsters that lurk in the strange and mysterious woods surrounding it. Will you be able to solve the mystery before time runs out? 

Signatures of Snowshoe is just one of the many stores in the village where you can buy anything you forgot to bring, grab a gift to take home, or pick up a unique souvenir in memory of your trip. Toys, clothing, glassware, cards, and more.

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If you’re looking for a bar, Old Spruce has you covered. With a tavern, a draft house, and a brewery in the works, you’ll be in hops heaven! If you’re looking for strictly beers, the draft house serves up 12 different craft beers on tap, as well as 32-ounce growlers if you choose to take some home. The tavern also offers the best beer selection–over 50 bottled/canned brews—as well as a menu full of homemade soups, hearty salads, and tasty sandwiches.

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Take a tour through the wintery wonderland on a snowmobile. There are several tours available for both daytime and evening adventures, and there’s nothing more beautiful and thrilling than venturing deep into the forest surrounding the area. No previous ATM or snowmobile experience is necessary but is recommended. Tours are typically two hours in length, weather permitting. 

Designed to help you find your inner balance, classes are held in the Greenbrier Room of Allegheny Springs in the Village and are suited to all skill levels. Whether you’re a regular yoga enthusiast or this is your first time, you’ll learn how to build better posture and endurance.  You can join a class before skiing on Saturday or Sunday, or after skiing on Monday or Friday.

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Best Winter Weekend Getaway at Coopers Rock State Forest Looking for a great destination for a fun-filled weekend this winter? The Mountain State has everything you could want inside and outside. Pay a visit to Coopers Rock State Forest for trips to the botanical garden, the chance to glimpse incredible wildlife, and finish off the day in a cozy cabin. Don’t let the colder weather slow you down. 

Coopers Rock State Forest near Morgantown is the perfect winter destination for fun, adventure and time away. Located near Morgantown, West Virginia not far from the Pennsylvania border, you’re not far from lodging, lakes, great restaurants, and other activities that can be enjoyed even on the snowiest days. There are 14 geocache sites in the part, and plenty of winter activities nearby. 

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Offering year-round opportunities to camp, set your RV, or stay in a cozy cabin, Chestnut Ridge Park and Campground is the ideal place for a winter weekend getaway for folks who love being outdoors. There are so many things to do in this county-owned park. Klaer Lodge has room for up to 20 overnight guests and has a fully equipped kitchen. The lodge has a fireplace and wood stove, but also has propane furnaces upstairs. Bring your own linens and food. Pyles Cabin sleeps up to nine and Casey Cabin can accommodate up to five people. Both cabins have the same amenities as Klaer Lodge. 

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Located near Cheat Lake and not far from Morgantown, the West Virginia Botanical Garden is like no other garden you’ve seen. Open year-round, there are indoor and outdoor educational exhibits that show visitors about the variety of plants that grow in the Appalachian Mountains. You’ll come away with a more knowledge and a great appreciation of the beauty that surrounds you in the Mountain State. 

Dedicated to preserving an area in the state for licensed hunters, Snake Hill Wildlife Management Area (SHWMA) is a primitive area with unmaintained trails, but most people love the area. There are no water sources or public toilets, and hikers, skiers, and climbers often frequent the region. If you love the idea of exploring SHWMA, it’s advisable to check the hunting season dates which usually last for a couple weeks around Thanksgiving. The website also gives directions, trail descriptions, suggestions, and weather conditions for skiing.  

An awesome place to start your day or end it after a great day outdoors is the Blue Moose Café. They have a great selection of organic and flavored coffees, hot cocoa, and hot specialty beverages. Browse through this fun and quirky coffeehouse to see the local art exhibits, listen to book readings, join in with the groups for karaoke, and enjoy other live music events. Check out their website for a calendar of events when you’re planning your trip. 

Before starting off on your weekend adventure, grab some delicious freshly made scones, pepperoni rolls, or other yummy baked goods to take with you for a quick and filling snack. This amazing artisan bakery serves traditional hearth-style baked goods made to perfection to eat in or take out. 

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Love the outdoors no matter what season it is? Then you have to take a hike at White Park, a 170-acre park with miles upon miles of wooded trails and winter fun. This recreational park is operated by the City of Morgantown and has an ice rink, baseball fields, and a mountain bike path, amongst others. Open year round. There’s a hidden gem of a waterfall on the trail that’s great for those photo lovers.

Home of the great pub grub, specialty cocktails, and West Virginia craft beer, Iron Horse Tavern should not be missed on your weekend getaway. Whether you’re stopping for a leisurely lunch or celebrating the end of a great day, there are daily drink specials. Bring your friends or make new ones. 

No adventure would be complete without taking home a memento to remember the trip. Appalachian Gallery is filled with beautiful crafts, handblown glass, jewelry, pottery, woodworking, books, and original art made by talented West Virginia artists. There’s something for everyone!

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10 Best Archery Outfitters in West Virginia Archery isn’t just for hunters. People of all ages are choosing archery as a recreational and professional sport that deserves high-quality gear and training to be the best. Most of the great archery outfitters started out of someone’s passion for the sport and desire to offer the best gear and service around. If you’re new to the sport or looking to add to your existing equipment, stop by any of the 10 awesome Mountain State outfitters for the best brands and customer service. 

Over 30 years of experience is what you’ll find at the Bow Shop in Hepzibah, West Virginia. Home to several archery champions, the Bow Shop takes this experience seriously and builds it into the mission of the shop—they provide high-quality archery products and opportunities. A local community supporter, the Bow Shop hosts various challenges like the “Take Aim for the Cure” to raise awareness and donations for breast cancer. Looking for the right gear or shooting instruction, you’ll find it here, and if they don’t have it, they’ll find it for you. 

Nothing's prettier than a brand new purple bow 😏❤️🎯 #elitearchery

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Boone’s Bow Shop located in Parkersburg, West Virginia, has trusted brand names known in the archery business. Brands like Bear, Mathews, and more can be purchased in-store at great prices, often at less than online orders from other stores. Along with these top-notch items, the customer service can’t be beaten. Stop by the indoor shooting range to sharpen your skills since it’s open year-round. 

What started out in a garage nearly 40 years ago has become one of the area’s best known and trusted sources for all things related to archery. Located in Winfield, West Virginia, Addington’s Bowhunter Shop takes a giant leap to encourage people of all ages and abilities to step outside, try a new sport, and find a favorite activity that can be shared with friends and family. Whether you’re getting ready for the hunting season or looking at a new hobby, you’ll find everything you need at Addington’s Bowhunter Shop.

Getting some bow shop time in with the boys!💙

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Bow-Listic Archery Shop, located in Cabin Creek, West Virginia, is a great place to check for your archery needs. Whether you’re young or old, you’ll find a helpful and patient staff that will make sure you understand what you’re getting and get you setup correctly. Open daily except on Sundays, they’ve been in business for about 12 years.

In business for over 40 years as a local community one-stop shop for all things related to hunting, fishing, and archery, Mr. Clean Archery Shop in Glenville, West Virginia, has been under the management of Freddie Hall for the past seven years. Open every day except Sunday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., you can find the brands you know and trust like Bowtech, and archery products like cross and compound bows, releases, and arrows. 

Featuring great products from Martin, TenPoint, Wicked Ridge, Carbon Express, and more, Middle Mountain in Elkins, West Virginia, hits the mark with quality and service. A trusted source for crossbows, compound bows, and traditional bows, they also carry a full line of targets, arrows, and bolts. The helpful and knowledgeable staff will help you sharpen your shooting skills and be ready for the season whether you’re new to bow hunting or a seasoned pro. 

It’s not a coincidence that you’ll shoot straight with products purchased at Crooked Creek Archery. Located in Williamstown, West Virginia, you’ll find great brand names like Quest, Hoyt, and Diamond, as well as a large selection of arrows, broadheads, targets, and other items. Crooked Creek is devoted to archery and open every day except Sunday. Stop by and visit with the knowledgeable staff. You’ll be pleased with the service and prices.

With the belief that great customer service is what sets the tone for any retail shop, J & L Archery in Whitman, West Virginia, wants to be your one-stop shop for archery equipment and supplies. With brands like Hoyt, PSE, and Elite in stock, if they don’t have what you’re looking for, they’ll try to find it. Need your bow restrung? No problem. Bring it down to J & L and get a fair quote. 

Opened in 2010, Mountain Heritage Outdoors & Taxidermy is a local business that specializes in bringing you the best in hunting gear and supplies. Products from Bear, Hoyt, GlenDel, and Velocity are just some of the great deals that can be found at this archery shop located in Priceton, West Virginia. For all your archery needs, check out Mountain Heritage Outdoors.

Trying out my first and new to me bow! #bow #newhobbie

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In business since 1990, St. Albans Gun & Archery in St. Albans, West Virginia, is open every day except Sunday to help you find the right gear, equipment, and supplies for your archery needs. Carrying a great line of bows and accessories like Bowtech and Parker, the staff is helpful and knowledgeable. They’re also very helpful in finding what you need if they don’t have it in stock. 

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9 Best Bait and Tackle Shops in West Virginia There’s nothing better than taking the weekend, packing your gear, and heading to your favorite fishing spot. With the dozens of places in the state that offer catch-and-release and fly fishing locations, stocked trout streams, and public fishing lakes, West Virginia is the perfect place to kick back and relax. No matter what you’re hoping to catch, you’ll want to stock up on bait, lures, and other accessories to go with your rod and reel. Here are the best bait and tackle shops in the state. 

If you’re looking for a small-town bait and tackle shop with big store selection, PC Outdoors in Hinton, West Virginia, should be your next stop. More than just a fishing store, this place has great customer service, and if they don’t have it, they’ll help you find it. Whatever your needs are to make your next fishing trip the best, you’ll find everything you need here. Open every day at 9 p.m. to serve your fishing needs.

West Virginia Outdoors in Poca, West Virginia, is a local kayak and fishing supply store that carries great and trusted brands like Z Man, 412 Bait Co., Bass Mafia, and Plano. Open every day except Sunday, West Virginia Outdoors has the gear, live bait, rods and reels, and everything to make your fishing trip fun and successful. If you have questions, they have the answer, and take the time to make sure you leave satisfied. #shopwvoutdoors #hobie #hobiekayak #hobiefishing

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If you love fishing for catfish, trout, or bass, stop by Riversedge Bait and Tackle Shop in Chester, West Virginia, for all your necessities. This fully-stocked bait and tackle shop has a great selection of live and frozen bait and if they don’t have it, the fish in the Mountain State don’t eat it. Whether you’re a first timer or you’ve been fishing your entire life, this is the place to visit. Open every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. except Friday when they close at 5 p.m.

Located in Princeton, West Virginia, Reel Catch offers fun family fishing. No matter what your age, you’ll have so much fun here and there’s no fishing license required to participate in the weekend catfishing tournaments hosted in their stocked lake. Established in 2014 as place where people could come and fish all day and enjoy the great outdoor beauty of the area, Reel Catch is the real deal when it comes to finding everything you need for fishing. Open every day.

The name of this shop located in Summersville, West Virginia, says it all. Friendly Bass & Buck Shop is the friendliest place to buy just about everything you need for your next hunting or fishing trip. With over 1,800 square-feet of shopping space, you can find a great selection of products and supplies. 

Angler’s Xstream in Parkersburg, West Virginia, is a fisher’s paradise. Offering a full line of everything for fly fishing to rods, reels, and all the essentials, they carry trusted brands like Orvis, Hareline Dubbin, and more. They even offer classes on fly fishing and tying flies. For the best in fly fishing supplies and information, check out Angler’s Xstream for extremely useful answers. 

When Jay and Josh Smith decided to open Jay’s Bait and Tackle in Old Fields, West Virginia, in the late 1980s, they knew they wanted to help people enjoy the great outdoors. Old Fields is a small community on the South Branch of the Potomac River and offers some of the best opportunities for fly fishing in the state. What better place to have a bait and tackle shop that carries the supplies and equipment you need. Open every day except Sunday, stop by Jay’s Bait and Tackle when you’re planning your next fishing trip. 

Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, is home to White Fly Outfitters, and one of your best bait and tackle shops for bass, trout, walleye, muskie, carp, and panfish. This great location is on the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers and is a short stop for your fishing destination after you get everything you need at the shop. Open Wednesday through Sunday, the shop carries products from Simms, Redington, and Patagonia with a large selection of gear, apparel, rods and reels, fly tying materials, tackle, and accessories. 

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With a bait selection that includes minnows, night crawlers, and other live bait, Reel Deal also has a nice selection of brand names like Rapala, South Bend, and Strike King. Close to several rivers and creeks where you can try out your fishing skills for bass, catfish, crappie, trout, muskie, walleye, and blue gill, there are also two state parks nearby that allow fishing. Open every day except Sunday.

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Best Places to Fish in the East This Fall A smorgasbord of baitfish is served up to striped bass in the fall as they make their way south along the Atlantic coast from Maine to their wintering waters in the mid-Atlantic.

Hot Spots To Fish: Deservedly, Montauk, NY at the eastern end of Long Island is considered a storied mecca for striped bass fishermen. If you’re not going surf fishing on the beach or fishing from a jetty, Gone Fishing Marina (631-668-3232, can set up a charter trip for you. If it’s booked up, try Star Island Yacht Club (631-668-5052, or Montauk Marine Basin (631-668-5900,

Find the best fishing spots near you:

Down south, talk to the folks at Captain Hogg’s Charter Service (757-876-1590, about fishing around the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel. Overdrawn Charters  (252-202-4623, in Manteo, N.C. can help as well.

Tackle You’ll Need: Stick with 30- to 50-pound braid or monofilament and a 60-pound-test shock leader of fluorocarbon, with saltwater-ready spinning tackle heavy enough to handle 10- to 14-foot rods. Penn, Quantum and Okuma specialize in fairly inexpensive surf-fishing rods, and reels to match. If you have a reel, but no rod yet, the new Black Inshore Rods from Lamiglas are up to the task. The five spinning and five casting models range from a 6-foot, 10-inch light finesse spinning rod to a 7 ½-foot casting rod rated for lures from 3 to 12 ounces in weight.

Quick tip: The most successful anglers are those who spot gulls or other wheeling seabirds feeding on baitfish driven to the top by stripers and who then cast into the melee without dispersing the bass. From a boat, the trick is to approach schools carefully and take advantage of wind or tide to drift to within casting range. The stripers will stay up as long as the baitfish are hemmed against the surface.


Best Lures/Baits: The 4 1/2-inch Acme Kastmater XL spoon, the 1 ½-ounce Odin Popper, and the 5-inch pencil popper from Tsunami are popular artificials up and down the Atlantic seaboard. Other popular options include the 6- or 7-inch Savage Gear Sandeel Swimbait, 9-inch Sassy Shad swimbait and the 6-inch Rapala X-Rap SubWalk.

Find the best bait and tackle shops near you:

For anglers who’d rather soak baits from a boat or in the surf, live or cut bait, such as Atlantic menhaden (peanut bunker), herring, porgies, eels, bloodworms, anchovies and mullet, can flip the switch on chaotic striper blitzes.

Photograph Courtesy of Maine Office of Tourism The classic approach to surf fishing is still a great way to take advantage of the striper run along the Atlantic coast. Thu, 11 Oct 2018 00:00:00 -0500
Best Places to Fish in the South This Fall Redfish are starting to move inshore and set up at the mouths of bays, inlets and deltas as their annual spawning run commences. The bottom line for fishermen is outstanding fishing from late September through November in the northern Gulf.

Likewise, bass fishing is starting to pick up again as the weather begins to cool. Huge schools of threadfin shad are starting to filter away from open-water ledges into bays and tributaries where feeding conditions and water temperatures are more optimum.

Bass follow the food, first setting up on ledges at the mouths of inlets and creeks to waylay shad, then migrating back toward shallower water to keep up with their quarry.

Fall Script for Southern Bass

Bass rule in Dixie and cooler weather brings out an army of anglers who go after them. Whether largemouth, smallmouth or spotted bass, they’re available in most waters and sometimes all three varieties are present in a fishery, ready to aggravate or gratify those who seek them.

Hot Spots To Fish: When it comes to the South’s best lakes for fall fishing, the big TVA impoundments fit the bill. Because this is bass tournament country, dozens of YouTube videos and Facebook sites of pro anglers offer useful advice on where and how to catch autumn largemouths. Likewise, guide services are plentiful; just Google “fishing guides” for the lake you’re visiting or type in the town nearest the lake you wish to fish on the interactive map on this page.

Tackle You’ll Need: A 7-foot medium/heavy rod such as the St. Croix Premier Cranking, a baitcasting reel like the Abu Garcia Revo Winch and 10- to 14-pound-test monofilament makes a good combination to fish downsized lures.

Quick tip: This is strictly a match-the-hatch deal. Use lures that are about the same size as wandering shad. If young-of-the-year threadfins are on the bass menu, try small swim baits fished on drop-shot rigs.


Best Lures/Baits: Shad-colored, shallow- and medium-diving square-billed or coffin-billed crankbaits are autumn standouts. Popular lures include the Strike King 6XD, Bandit 100 or 200, Duo Realis M65, Livetarget Magnum Shad BaitBall Squarebill, Megabass S-Crank, Lucky Craft Squarebill 2.5, Storm Arashi and Rapala Shad Rap.

Fish them around shoreline cover and on the flats between creek drop-offs and the bank. Other fallback baits include spinnerbaits like the Booyah Super Shad, Stanley Vibrashaft and Nichols Pulsator. Good buzzbait options can be found from Lunker Lure, Damiki, Santone and Dirty Jigs.

Rendezvous With Redfish

Along the northern Gulf Coast from Carrabelle, FL, to Grand Isle, LA, the redfish season begins in late September and continues in stages through December. Some anglers fish in the surf with cut bait, while others station themselves on area piers or in boats on relatively shallow flats near channel cuts.

Hot Spots To Fish: For boating anglers, a couple of spots stick out. Pensacola Bay Pass is a must-fish for boaters. Anchor up on the broad flat between old Fort Pickens and the channel, set out lines as the tide changes to incoming, and hang on. Need more help? Redfish University Pensacola Fishing Charters (850-748-4368, specializes in the big drum.

At Grand Isle, LA, book a trip with Gotta Go Fishing Charters (225-921-3642, The marshes and inshore waters around Venice, LA, are primo redfish haunts as well. Captain Mike Frenette (504-782-0924, or ( is a top guide here.

Photograph Courtesy of Strike King Lure Company 
Louisiana’s coastal waters are ground zero for the hottest autumn redfish action along the northern Gulf Coast. A variety of natural baits and artificials get the job done.

Tackle You’ll Need: “Rat” reds of 3 pounds and up, or real bruisers weighing in excess of 20 pounds require a range of tackle options. Bass fishing tackle – whether spinning or baitcasting – is perfect for handling smaller fish and for casting jigs or swimbaits that weigh less than an ounce. A Shimano Stradic spinning reel and 7-foot medium-action Shimano Compre rod with 14-pound-test monofilament.

For bigger fish, consider a Penn Battle II BTLII5000 with 20-pound-test monofilament or 40-pound-test braid, and a 30-pound-test fluorocarbon leader. A 7-foot medium-heavy spinning rod (such as the Penn Battalion BATIN1220S70) should handle any bait rigs or lures and wear down a bull redfish in short order.

Quick Tip: Incoming tides in late evening or at night are primo times for reds as the fish free-spawn then in the mouths of coastal bays and estuaries. If you can’t fish any other time, make sure you fish the incoming tides.


Best Lures/Baits: Redfish aren’t particular about their dietary requirements and will eat anything from blue crabs to halved mullet. Swimming spoons such as the Johnson Sprite (, swimbaits and jigs or even topwater poppers, such as the Heddon Saltwater Spook, will elicit strikes.

Photograph Courtesy of Strike King Lure Company Photo By Garrick Dixon Shallow- to medium-running crankbaits probably account for more bass than any other lure in the fall when the fish are on the prowl for shad in feeder creeks and coves. Thu, 11 Oct 2018 00:00:00 -0500
10 Best Outdoor Fall Activities in West Virginia One day in the beautiful hills of the Mountain State will be enough to convince you that West Virginia, like in John Denver’s song, is called “almost heaven” for good reason. There’s an almost unlimited list of things to do outside like hiking, backpacking, rock climbing, fishing, hunting, camping, photography, boating, skiing, and more. Fall is a great time to explore the hundreds of trails that are perfect for first-time hikers and experts. Here are some of our favorite fall activities in the state. 

Seneca Rocks is near Elkins, West Virginia is one of the state’s most popular landmarks, and is a great place to start your fall adventure. Open year round, Seneca Rocks is situated in the Monongahela National Forest and is an amazing geological attraction of underground caverns and caves. No visit is complete without a stop at nearby Seneca Caverns where you can mine for gems and take a cave tour to see the stalactites and stalagmites. It’s fun for the whole family. 

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If you have been craving a hunting adventure, the folks at Mountain Meadows Hunting Preserve in Greenville will give you the best hunting experience of the season. Situated on a 600-acre high fenced preserve, they offer a vast amount of species ready to hunt. Get ready to harvest some of the largest whitetail deer, buffalo, red stag, hog, antelope, wild boar, rams, and so many others all maintained by the preserve. They pride themselves on being “the Birthplace of Hunting Memories that Last a Lifetime!” Schedule your package and you’ll see why.

Yokum’s Seneca Rocks Stables offers a great chance to see the countryside on horseback with guides who know the area and can point out the special places of interest. It’s a good idea to make a reservation because of the popularity of the stables. You’ll travel down country trails, across bridges, and maybe even ford a stream if the water isn’t too high. Children aged six and up are welcome to accompany parents on the trail, too. 

Dolly Sods Wilderness Area is not far from Seneca Rocks and is the highest elevation in the eastern part of the United States. This unique plateau provides a chance to bike, hunt, hike, and sightsee, and you’ll get the chance to see flora and fauna that is similar to what’s found much further north in Canada. The history of Dolly Sods dates back to World War II where the military used the mountains for training. It is impossible to survey every square inch of this vast wilderness, so follow marked trails, and camp at existing campsites to avoid risk of finding a potentially dangerous unexploded shell. 

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Not far from Dolly Sods Wilderness Area is Blackwater Falls State Park in Davis, West Virginia. The view from this 57-foot waterfall, that has slightly black-tinted water due to the hemlock and red spruce needles, is one of the most photographed sites in the state. You can bike, hike, fish, go geocaching, or just sit and admire the birds and other wildlife. 

The Durbin and Greenbrier Valley Railroad is located in the mountainside town of Elkins, West Virginia. Open between April through December, you’ll feel like you’re stepping back in time as you sit back and leisurely enjoy the ride on this historic steam-powered train through the valleys and remote areas where other vehicles can’t go. Make sure your camera has enough memory so you can take beautiful photos of the countryside out of the train’s windows. Don’t forget to bring a sweater or light jacket, it gets chilly in the valley. 

Smoke Hole Caverns and Log Cabin Resort is within walking distance of hiking trails and the streams in the North Fork of the South Branch of the Potomac River. It is a popular place to fish for trout in the cooler months, so bring your poles. At night, you can relax in comfort in one of the log cabins, quaint cottages, beautiful rooms in the log motel, or park your RV. Charming, cozy, and perfect for the quintessential fall weekend, or week. 

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The West Virginia Botanic Gardens in Morgantown offer an abundance of beautiful flowers and plants in bloom, but in the fall your eyes will be feasted with colors off the spectrum! Check out the almost 82-acre grounds, full of all things beautiful and growing. A trip in October makes for a relaxing experience; bring a thermos full of hot apple cider and spend your afternoon walking around the many paths full of golden leaves. Walking through the paths can be a great way to welcome the brisk air rolling into the cooler months.

If you want something a bit more secluded, you can find overnight accommodations in the form of cabins at Middle Mountain Cabins not far from the Greenbrier Ranger District in Barlow. These historic cabins situated right in the mountains were built nearly 90 years ago as sleeping quarters for Forest Service workers. This rustic getaway represents what life in the mountains is really like. You will be in awe experiencing the changing of the leaves at this spot. 

Located at the highest pinnacle of the state, Spruce Knob has an overnight campground, more than 60 miles of hiking trails, not to mention excellent fishing conditions in streams as well as the lake. This is rustic camping at its finest; and since the weather will be a bit cold, bring warm clothing and extra blankets! This is also one of the most underrated times to go kayaking or canoeing, so bring along your watercraft and experience the golden color of the trees from a different perspective. 

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Hurricane Florence: {local_state_full} Shelters, Safety Tips and Resources. Formed by an intense tropical wave off the west coast of Africa, Hurricane Florence is now positioned to devastate the Carolinas, Georgia, Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, Washington, D.C., and Delaware. 

As the storm approaches, it is crucial to properly prepare and follow protocol set into place by your local officials. 

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper has ordered a mandatory evacuation of several coastal counties, click here to see if your area is being evacuated. South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster has also ordered mandatory evacuations for coastal counties, click here to see if you reside in one of these counties. 

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal has declared a State of Emergency for all 159 Georgia counties.  

Governor Ralph Northam has issued a mandatory evacuation for Zone A in Coastal Virginia. 

Governor Larry Hogan has declared a state of emergency for Maryland and Governor Jim Justice has declared a State of Preparedness for West Virginia

Mayor Muriel Bowser has declared a state of emergency for Washington, D.C.

Delaware has not delcared a state of emergency, but keep up with the latest on the DEMA website.  

Utilize a gas tracker to find the nearest available fuel, as some stations are running low. Be sure to follow road signs and not your GPS when evacuating.

It is important to be prepared. Be sure to check FEMA’s key safety tips. They have an app that you can download for your phone, as well. There are also a variety of other sources such as the National Hurricane CenterSave the and American Red Cross to aid you in finding shelter, food and water, emergency supply kits, and helping your children to cope with the impact of the storm. Stay updated with the NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards to follow the trajectory of Hurricane Florence.

To find shelters near you text SHELTER and a zip code to 43362 (4FEMA). For example, SHELTER 12345. You can also find a list of shelters from the following resources:

Register yourself as being safe and well or find missing loved ones:'s Hurricane Resources:

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Best Outdoor Festivals in West Virginia West Virginia is the outdoorsman’s dream come true. Whether you enjoy kayaking local rivers or dirt biking through the forest, there’s something for everyone. That’s why it’s no surprise that you can find some pretty amazing outdoor-themed festivals throughout the year. It’s a great way to connect with fellow lovers of the outside world while enjoying your favorite pastimes. Make sure to save the date for these amazing outdoor festivals in West Virginia!  

No, this festival isn’t about the Himalayan animal—it’s all about kayaking. This two-day event takes place in the flatwater capital of the state, offering kayakers of all skill levels a chance to enjoy the sport. Live music and artists will be on site, along with tons of kayak and outdoors vendors as hundreds of kayaks fill the Coal River for a fun group paddle. The event is sponsored by several businesses and non-profits, including the WQBE 97.5, Rotary Club of St. Albans, Warner Law Offices, PLLC, and Anytime Fitness.

If you relish in watching the leaves change colors in the fall, you’ll be in the perfect spot at this festival. During the last full weekend in September, you can gather in the beautiful mountain regions in Tucker County to feast your eyes on the vivid display Mother Nature creates each year. Cool weather creates the perfect environment for craft vendors, inflatables, exhibits, horseback rides, scenic chairlift rides, live music, and horse drawn wagon rides. 

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The only thing separating Sistersville from the state of Ohio is the broad expanse of the Ohio River, and this ferryboat festival can help take you there and back again. You can win prizes simply for riding the ferry between the two landings, or simply enjoy the music and vendors that will be present at the event. It’s a weekend-long celebration in July, and is an inexpensive way to enjoy the outdoors. 

This regatta is an anticipated event each year, offering the public a glimpse at gorgeous wooden boats and hydroplanes up close. Many of these boats were built in the 1920’s and onward, bringing a piece of the past to every race. This event is free and open to the public. WesBanco Bank proudly sponsors this exciting event.

If you like dirt biking, live music, bonfires, and camping, this event is calling your name. This three-day camping festival takes place in the scenic Big Bear Lake Trail Center. There are a swarm of expos and clinics taking place as well as various group rides each day. Yoga takes place every day, as well as music performances. You won’t want to leave this oasis! Brought to you by Happy Mutant CBD, Yeti Cycles, and Massanutten Bike Park.

This festival is one you fish lovers won’t want to miss out on. The Freshwater Folk Festival invites people of all ages to participate in hands-on activities, an art show, fish and wildlife exhibitions, and much more. On top of that, there will be food vendors, live music, and crafts. Best of all is the festival is free to attend, so feel free to bring along the entire family.

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A beginner’s guide: Ice fishing Vin T. Sparano, as excerpted from Complete Outdoors Encyclopedia: Camping, Fishing, Hunting, Boating, Wilderness Survival, First Aid



Ice fishing differs greatly from open-water fishing, and it is a demanding sport. It requires an understanding of and an ability to cope with winter weather, knowledge of the cold-weather habits of the fish, and the use of an unusual assortment of gear, most of it unique to ice fishing.

There are two basic ice-fishing methods: tip-up fishing and jigging. In general, tip-ups are usually used on larger fish—pike, pickerel, walleyes, trout, and such—that prefer bait and require the angler to play the waiting game. Jigging is usually preferred for smaller fish that tend to school up—bluegills, perch, crappies, and the like. But these are merely generalizations, not hard-and-fast rules. For example, jigging (sometimes called chugging) is often quite productive on big lake trout and salmon in the Great Lakes. 

Also called tilts, these come in various styles, but they all perform two basic functions: they hold a baited line leading from a revolving-type reel spool, and they signal the bite of a fish. The most common type of tip-up consists of three strips of wood, each about 18 inches long. Two are cross pieces that form an X as they span the hole. The third piece is an upright; at its bottom end is attached a simple line-holding spool, while the upper end holds the signaling device. The signal is usually a piece of very flexible spring steel with a red (some anglers prefer black) flag on the end. After the hook is baited and lowered to the desired depth, the steel arm is “cocked”—bent over and down and hooked onto a “trigger.” When a fish strikes, an arm on the revolving spool releases the steel arm and it flies erect.

In this type of tip-up, the reel is positioned underwater. In other variations, the reel is positioned above the ice. Each type has its advantages. The above-the-ice reel can be more sensitively adjusted for light-biting fish, but the line tends to freeze on the reel once it gets wet. The underwater reel largely eliminates the problem of freezing, but the fisherman must remove the tip-up from the hole before he can grab the line.

Baits for tip-up fishing are usually live. In general, it pays to match the size of the bait to the size of the fish you’re after. Baits range from tiny maggots (often called mousies) and grubs for panfish, to worms and small minnows for walleyes, and up to 6-inch baitfish for pike. 

As done by ice fishermen, jigging is simply a method of imparting an up-and-down movement to a lure or bait. Jigging can be—and is—done with any sort of line-holding rod or stick. 

Some jigging rods—more appropriately called sticks—are simply pieces of wood 18 inches or so long, with U-shaped notches in each end. The line—10-pound-test monofilament is very popular—is wound lengthwise onto the stick around the U-shaped notches and is paid out as needed. There are other types of jigging sticks of varying designs, and many ice anglers use standard spinning or spincast rods or the butt half of a fly rod. 

Rods made specially for ice jigging are simple affairs consisting of a fiberglass tip section that is 2 or 3 feet long seated in a short butt. The butt may have a simple revolving-spool reel or merely a pair of heavy-wire projections around which the line is wound. The tip section may have two to four guides, including the tip guide. The shortness of such a rod lets the user fish up close to the hole and have better control over the lure or bait at the end of his line. 

There are many and varied jigging lures and baits, but flashiness is built into most of them. Others produce best when “sweetened” with bait. Two popular jigging lures are: an ungainly looking critter with a heavy body shaped and painted to resemble a baitfish, a hook at each end and a treble hook in the middle of its underside, and a line-tie ring in the middle of its upper surface; and a long, slim, three- or four-sided, silvery model with a treble hook at one end and a line-tie ring at the other. 

Jigging methods vary with the fisherman and with the fish being sought. However, a productive way to fish many jigging lures, especially flashier types, is to twitch the lure slightly and then jerk it suddenly upward with a quick upward movement of the arm. The proper interval between jerks is learned with experience. 

Popular jigging baits include a single perch eye (either impaled on a small hook or used to sweeten a tiny hair or rubber-bodied ice fly), worms, grubs, maggots, insect larvae, minnows, and cut bait (pieces of skin or flesh that are cut from the tail or body of such fish as smelt and perch). 

Jiggers tend to move around more than tip-up fishermen, boring holes in different areas until they find a productive spot. 

Like most other forms of fishing, ice angling requires some auxiliary equipment. Most ice anglers prefer to keep such gear to a minimum, for they have to haul it with them wherever they go on the ice. 

If you’re going to fish through holes in the ice, you need something to make those holes. The ice auger is a popular tool for this job. Augers come in different designs. One has a long handle with a U-shaped bend at the top, and a rounded cutting blade at the bottom. The handle is turned much like that of a manual drill, and the blade cuts a round hole through the ice. Another type looks like a giant ice drill with sharp, widely spaced threads. It is used in the same way. Gasoline-powered ice drills are also available. 

Then there’s the ice spud or chisel. This is a heavy metal handle with a large, chisel-type blade at the bottom. The spud’s weight helps the angler punch down through the ice, but the user must shape the hole once he has broken through. 

An indispensable item of accessory gear is the ice skimmer, a ladle-type device that is used to keep the hole clear of ice chips and chunks and to skim ice. A heavy sinker will serve the same purpose. 

Many ice anglers like to use an attached spring clip. It is attached to the fishing line and used to determine the water depth—an important factor because in winter most game fish are found on or near the bottom. 

Winter is the time of year when ice fishermen venture out onto frozen waters. Most will have fun, but a few will get into trouble because they don’t know how to make sure that the ice is safe. The first rule is never take chances. There are two periods when accidents are likely to happen: early in the season when slush ice doesn’t freeze uniformly and late in the season when ice melts at an uneven rate. It takes prolonged periods of freezing to make ice safe. Here are some rules to remember: 

Be cautious of heavy snowfalls while ice is forming. Snow acts as an insulator. The result is a layer of slush and snow on top of treacherous ice. 

Clear, solid river ice is 15 percent weaker than clear lake ice. 

River ice is thinner midstream than near the banks. 

River mouths are dangerous because currents create pockets of unsafe ice. 

When walking with friends, stay 10 yards apart. 

Lakes that have a lot of springs will have weak spots of ice. 





About the author:

Vin T. Sparano is the author of Complete Outdoors Encyclopedia as well as three other guides for Rizzoli

He has been an outdoor editor and writer for more than fifty years. He is editor emeritus of Outdoor Life, and has written and edited more than fifteen books about the outdoors. In 2013, he was inducted into the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame.

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