If you have ever seen images of West Virginia, Babcock State Park should look familiar. Babcock is home to one of the state’s most iconic landmarks: the Glade Creek Grist Mill. This mill, built in 1976 from pieces of former historic mills, has appeared in numerous publications throughout the years and a simple online search will produce dozens of picturesque images. Depending on availability and stream conditions, the mill also offers freshly ground cornmeal for visitors to purchase as a souvenir.
Babcock State Park covers 4,127 acres of rugged beauty in Clifftop, W.Va. and is adjacent to the New River Gorge National River. The park is very rural, creating a serene atmosphere where you can really connect with nature. Glade Creek, a fast flowing stream in a boulder-strewn canyon, flows through the park providing further charm.
Cabins and camping are located within the park if you need a place to rest your head for the night. The park headquarters contains a gift shop and there are numerous picnic shelters, hiking trails, and overlooks in the area.
What Makes It Great
Babcock State Park offers two fishing options: Boley Lake and Glade Creek.
Boley Lake covers 19 acres on top of a nearby mountain ridge. Though it may not always be the most reliable location, the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (WVDNR) does stock it with trout. These stockings occur once per month, February – May, and each angler is allowed six per day. Largemouth bass and bluegill also lurk beneath the surface.
The lake is non-motorized which in this instance makes it all that more tranquil. Bring your jon boat with trolley motor, no gas powered motors, and discover the nooks and crannies of this waterway. The only other people likely to cross your path are explorers with paddleboats, kayaks, or stand up paddleboards. If you prefer to travel by foot, a trail zig-zags along the hillside, following the shoreline offering numerous access points for fishing.
Since the lake is located within a state park, this allows support staff and resources if needed. Say you need information about proper bait or suggestions on the best shoreline locations. Simply stop by the park headquarters before venturing off on your own. They are always willing to help.
Glade Creek offers an alternative to casting on a lake. This trout stream snakes through the hillsides, passing by the park headquarters and grist mill. This creek is also stocked, sometimes year round. Reaching the water can be difficult so you will need to be cautious when navigating the shoreline.
Who is Going to Love It
Fishing Glade Creek requires generally good physique as there is hiking, climbing, and scrambling involved to reach an ideal spot. Boley Lake, however, is great for beginners, especially families. It is the quintessential fishing trip. A secluded setting, simple boat, trusty pole, and a little bait is all you really need. The lakeside trail requires some endurance, but is manageable.
This location is also great for anglers looking to enjoy a quiet, relaxing day. Boley Lake is far from civilization, with the exception of park amenities down below. If you aren’t a fan of crowds, but enjoy having support nearby, this is the place for you.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
Boley Lake closes for the winter, usually at the end of October, and remains closed until the first trout stocking around February. The gate will be locked at this time, but those wishing to fish can still park at the grist mill and walk the half mile up to the watershed. In season, designated as the Saturday prior toMemorial Day through Labor Day Monday, parking is available directly adjacent to the lake.
As previously mentioned, this lake is non-motorized. There are no boat ramps available and swimming is also not allowed. Paddleboat and canoe rentals are available in the summer. Life jackets are mandatory.
All anglers must maintain a West Virginia Fishing License either at the WVDNR’s website or at a local Walmart store. Mill worms and night crawlers are typical bait for this location, but live minnows are prohibited.
To reach Babcock State Park, take US-60 East off of Route 19 and follow until you reach WV-41 South. Continue on WV-41 South for approximately four miles then turn onto Babcock Road in Clifftop, W.Va.