Today, the Meadow River is marketed to tourists as a brisk little stream that offers a variety of opportunities for anglers and kayakers alike.
The Meadow’s shaded summer pools keep anglers returning year after year, and its lower reaches attract a growing number of kayakers in the spring when the creek raises its White water high heel shoes
And while the little river between Fayetteville and Summersville has been something of a sleeper when it comes to fishing in the past, that’s no longer the case today.
With DNR repopulation and a growing interest in wetlands along Interstate 64, the Meadow River is rapidly becoming known throughout the eastern United States.
Many species of warm-water fish inhabit the Meadow River: smallmouth bass, spotted bass, rock bass, flathead catfish, carp, bluegill, white suckers, and chubs are The most common.
It also has a good musky population, according to Mark Scott, chief’s assistant fisheries biologist with the DNR in Charleston.
“Local fishermen have frequently caught 30- to 35-inch muskies in the river,” Scott says. “Some fish have been reported in the 40-inch class.”
David scott richmond of Grandview fishes on the Meadow River with several of his fishing buddies.
the avid fisherman Use a variety of top water lures and homemade spinners. Occasionally it will throw a “woolly bastard” or some other minnow imitation made by hand with your fishing rod.
“I use whatever works right now,”richmond he says with a laugh. “I am one of those people who never seem to have enough equipment. I never know what I may find or need.”
richmond he is the first to recognize that Meadow River’s characteristics belie its aquatic resources. “It looks like a stream of nothing, slow and muddy, in the upper reaches,” he says. “However, towards the Gauley River, it steepens and becomes a small-mouth stream.”
Several anglers in the area learned the basics of musky fishing on the Meadow River.
Jason Robert of Hello recalls taking some sizeable musks from the Meadow River in the Teddy bear near WV 41, but says bass fishing is just as exciting.
“I’ve seen fly fishermen down there throwing their dry flies,” he says, adding that fishing for bass and rock bass in the Meadow River in the downstream gorge area of Rainelle is a highlight for many anglers.
A DNR stocking program supports a healthy muskellunge fishery in the Meadow River between Rupert and Teddy bear.
Biologists first planted muskellunge in 1963, according to the DNR. Since 1974, this section of the river has been stocked with musk fry each year.
“Anglers often catch a considerable amount of musk in the creek,” Scott Explain. “The eggs of these fish are sourced from upstate New York and raised at our (DNR’s) Ridge Fish Hatchery in Morgan County.”
The says public fishing access sites on the Meadow River are located at the Tommy Hall Road bridge near Rupert and at the Division of Highways Roadside Park in Charmco, both in Greenbrier County.
the access sites are suitable for bringing small boats to the river. Undeveloped fishing access is available along US Route 60, which parallels the river between Rainelle and Rupert.
The steep section of the gorge downstream of Rainelle to the mouth of the creek, neverthelessnot suitable for float trips due to dangerous whitewater conditions.
“Bank fishing and wading is recommended for this remote area.” Scott Explain. “During periods of low water, wading becomes more feasible for anglers fishing in the gorge.”
Although public fishing access to the Meadow River Gorge can be reached from the U.S. Route 19 bridge, the trail is long and steep, the biologist says.
Two tributary streams of the Meadow River, Big Clear Creek and Little Clear Creek They stock up on trout from February to May.
Big Clear Creek also receives a fall trout population in mid-October in conjunction with the opening of squirrel hunting season.
The low grade of the upper section of the river from Dawson to Rainelle makes the fishery suitable for a variety of float fishing trips and offers good bank fishing. ScottHe says.
Downstream of Rainelle, the characteristics of the Meadow River change dramatically, as the once-slow-moving stream drops 30 miles through a gorge into the Gauley River.
This section is No recommended for the average boater. “Only the most experienced kayaker should attempt to navigate this part of the river,” Scott he adds, pointing out that within the area of the gorge, the Prado becomes inhospitable.
“The river is threatening” he says. “It is the best experience for kayakers. It’s fast one after another. You don’t have the long pools that you have at New River.
“There are times, with its high rocks, when it is dangerous for anyone. Some call it the ‘kamikaze’ of the East.
“The extremely dangerous rapids and exposed rocks in the gorge make the river life-threatening to boaters, so only the most experienced kayakers should attempt to navigate it.”
The Meadow River, named for the abundant meadows in its upper reaches, begins in eastern Summers County near Grassy Meadows and flows more than 50 miles to the Gauley River at Carnifex Ferry.
Most of the Meadow River’s waterfront is privately owned.
The lowest five and a half miles range, however, is within the Gauley River National Recreation Area and is designated the River Meadow Wild and Scenic.
“From its beginnings on Red Spring Mountain to Rainelle, the Meadow River is a low-grade stream that meanders through wide agricultural valleys and drains the extensive wetlands that lie in its headwaters.” He says Scott.
“Interstate 64 runs through the Meadow River wetlands between Dawson and Sam Black Church in western Greenbrier County.”
The Meadow River region is enhanced by three nearby public recreation facilities, and the DNR is actively seeking public access sites for future development on the river.
The largest lake in the state, the 2,700-acre Summersville Lake offers excellent warm-water fishing for bass and walleye.
Year-round trout fishing is available on the Gauley River below Summersville Dam.
Babcock and Hawks Nest State Parks offer an additional 4,400 acres of public recreation land.
“The Kanawha Falls Wildlife Management Area is located near the Gauley Bridge and offers some of the best warm-water fishing in the state,”according to scott. “various special needsFacilities have been developed to accommodate the physically handicapped.”
the biologist foresees the roads leading to the Meadow River fill with traffic as fishing becomes an even bigger attraction in the years to come.
“If you want to go back in history,” Scottadd, “drive the famous Midland Trail (US Route 60) to the Meadow River Valley.
“You will discover that it is one of the hidden treasures of the state.”
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