North Fork South Branch Potomac River - Fishing

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The North Fork of the South Branch Potomac River has some of the best trout fishing in the area.

Written by

Jason Devaney


0.1 miles

Destination Distance From Downtown

111.2 miles


1 of 5 diamonds

This section of the Potomac River is pretty quiet. Your best bet is to go in with waders, because there are some sharp rocks just under the surface that could cut into a canoe.

Time To Complete

0 hours


All Seasons

Dog Friendly


Fees Permits


Land Website

Fly Fisherman



The Potomac River is one of the largest rivers on the East Coast of the United States—it has dozens of tributaries and occupies a drainage area of nearly 15,000 square miles. The North Fork of the South Branch Potomac River measures 43.6 miles, and flows through West Virginia before hooking up with the South Branch of the Potomac in Cabins, WV. The fishing in this quiet stream is excellent, so anglers will enjoy casting their lines here.

What Makes It Great

The trout fishing in this river is some of the best in the area. You can find both rainbows and browns here, which makes it a particularly fun spot for fly fishing. Smallmouth bass also call the North Fork of the South Branch Potomac River home. Downstream in the South Branch, an angler caught the state record smallmouth in 1971, which weighed in at a whopping 9.75 pounds! Bring lots of flies and some extra line, though, because overhanging branches along the shore tend to catch wayward casts and gobble them up.

You will most enjoy fishing in the North Fork of the South Branch Potomac River with a pair of waders and a fly rod. But if you're more into canoeing and spin reels, the river is suited for that too. Just be aware of the rocks just below the surface of the water.

Another good thing about this river is that there are access points and parking areas everywhere. So no matter which section of the 43.6-mile river you plan to fish, you're pretty much guaranteed to find a parking spot, and an easy way to get into the water. Several boat launches line the river as well—get more information from the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources.

Who is Going to Love It

Fly fisherman will love stepping into a pair of waders and casting their lines in the North Fork of the South Branch Potomac River. Trout fishing here is some of the best in the state. Folks who prefer spinning reels can have some fun too, since you can find numerous other fish, including smallmouth bass, in these waters.

And if you prefer to fish from a boat instead of off the shore or a few feet out in waders, you can do that here, too. There are several places to park your car and launch a boat.

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

There are so many good segments of the North Fork of the South Branch Potomac River, you really can’t go wrong. But, if you want a really good starting point, check out the Seneca Rocks Discovery Center in Seneca Rocks. Aside from a place to launch your boat or fish with waders, there's also a cool history museum worth exploring.

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North Fork South Branch Potomac River

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