Mountain Mama Vacation Homes

Fishing in Harpers Ferry: All You Need to Know

Fishing enthusiasts will be thrilled to learn that there are ample fishing opportunities when they choose a vacation in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia!

This small town’s location at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers makes it an angler’s paradise. So if you are looking for a beautiful mountain cabin getaway where you can relax with a fishing line, Harpers Ferry is a perfect choice.

Outdoor Adventures in Harpers Ferry

Photo Credit: Nicole Glass Photography

Harpers Ferry is a charming and historic town nestled in the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia. Located only a short drive from Washington, DC., Harpers Ferry is popular with outdoor enthusiasts and history buffs, and families looking for adventure.

Well known for its outdoor recreation scene, especially hiking, and its important role in the American Civil War, it is also growing in popularity for foodies and wine and beer connoisseurs.

The town is best known today for being the halfway point of the famous Appalachian Trail, a 2,200-mile hike from Georgia to Maine. Historically, Harpers Ferry was the stage for numerous Civil War battles and revolts, including the John Brown Revolt. Visitors will enjoy the historic sites and museums scattered around the town and its surroundings.

Harpers Ferry is also a fantastic destination for water sports, offering opportunities for whitewater rafting, kayaking, paddle boarding, and tubing.

This mountain town is located at the confluence of the Potomac River and Shenandoah River, so it comes as no surprise that water activities are popular here. However, if you are looking for a relaxing way to spend your day, consider going fishing at one of the numerous locations in Harpers Ferry!

Fishing in Harpers Ferry

Photo Credit: Lissandra Melo

There are many great places to fish in Harpers Ferry. Since it is located at the confluence of two mighty rivers, you don’t have to look far in any direction to find a good fishing location.

Even some of the smaller tributary creeks provide a nice spot to cast a line. There are many great opportunities to try fly rod or light tackle fishing amongst its waters. Catch can range from rock bass to panfish and carp on your fishing adventures!

Top Spots for Fishing

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park

Photo Credit: Kelly vanDellen

Fishing is allowed in the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, providing a very scenic and quiet location to cast your line. One of the best spots to cast your line is on the bank along the Shenandoah River at the River Access area off Shenandoah Street. Parking here is limited, so arrive early to secure a spot.

Please note that fishing is prohibited from the nearby Goodloe E. Byron Memorial Pedestrian Walkway.

Shenandoah River

Photo Credit: Hans Wagemaker

Anywhere you can find a quiet spot along the Shenandoah River is a good option for fishing. If you opt to wade into the river or fish from a boat, always use caution as the river is fast-flowing and can be dangerous.

Potomac River

Photo Credit: Jon Bilous

Similar to the Shenandoah, the Potomac River offers plenty of great fishing opportunities. But, again, exercise caution when entering the water, either by wading or by boat. There are numerous rapids along these rivers that can be dangerous if you are unprepared.

Fish Species

This Harpers Ferry area has a diverse ecosystem, and you have a good chance of getting a bite when you fish here! The most commonly caught fish in the Harpers Ferry area are largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, channel catfish, bluegill sunfish, and walleye.

A total of 43 types of fish have been found in the park’s rivers, creeks, and ponds. Each type of fish has different regulations that determine whether you can keep them or not, their minimum size, and how many you can keep. It may not be a good idea to eat these fish since. Unfortunately, they may be contaminated with mercury or other pollutants. We recommend you check the latest sportfish consumption advisories from the state, which can be found here.

Check the local fishing regulations or ask your guide for clarification.

Local Fishing Regulations

Photo Credit: TeodorLazarev

There are a few guidelines to keep in mind before heading out to cast your line in Harpers Ferry.

  • Fishing License: A license is required for fishing in West Virginia, both for catch and release and for catch and keep.
  • Age Restrictions: Anyone over the age of 15 who is fishing must have a fishing license and a valid ID.
  • Species Limits: Each species of fish has different regulations, such as the daily keep limit and size requirements. Some locations have specific regulations for bait types and which fish you can keep.
  • License: Purchase your West Virginia fishing license and find the full list of fishing regulations from the West Virginia DNR.

Equipment Rental and Guide Services

Photo Credit: K_E_N

Whether you are a novice or just want a knowledgeable local guide, Harpers Ferry has many great guide services and tours available.

King Fisher Guide Services

Contact King Fisher Guide Services to book one of their fantastic guided fishing trips in Harpers Ferry. Offering a Potomac and Shenandoah float fishing trip, a Potomac winter fishing trip, beginner fly fishing instruction, and a scenic float trip, King Fisher can accommodate a wide variety of fishing excursions.

Mark Kovach Fishing Services

  • Website:
  • Phone Number: 301-588-8742

Mark Kovach Fishing Services is one of the premier guide services for smallmouth bass fishing in Harpers Ferry. Offering fly fishing lessons and private guided fishing trips, this is a great option for anyone hoping to get a good bass catch during their vacation.

White Fly Outfitters

White Fly Outfitters offers guided fishing trips as well as fishing equipment and whitewater boats and equipment. They are a great all-around shop for all of your Harpers Ferry water sports needs.

What to Pack

Photo Credit: Suzanne Tucker

You’ve already arranged your packing list for your mountain getaway, but you’ve decided you want to add fishing to your itinerary – these are the additional pieces of clothing and equipment you will need to add to the list!


Dress accordingly for the season, and always bring spare clothing in case you get wet or the temperature changes. Summers in Harpers Ferry are hot, so loose, synthetic clothing will help you stay cool and dry. Winters in Harpers Ferry can be cold, so dress in plenty of warm, waterproof layers, and don’t forget a hat and gloves.


If you rent gear from a local outfitter or take a guided tour, they will likely have everything you need for your fishing trip. If not, be sure to create a list before you pack to ensure you don’t forget things like extra lines, hooks, and bait.

But don’t fret; if you forgot anything, you can visit one of the wonderful local outfitters to pick up any gear you need!

Other Necessities

Depending on if you are fishing from a boat or the shore, there are a few things you’ll want to have to make your day as enjoyable as possible. Always make sure you have sunscreen, bug spray, and a hat. Polarized sunglasses are ideal for fishing, as they reduce glare and can help you see fish below the surface.

If you are fishing from shore, don’t forget a comfortable camp chair! A cooler with snacks and drinks is also a great addition to your relaxing day of fishing in Harpers Ferry.

A Fishing Getaway in Harpers Ferry

Take your Harpers Ferry cabin getaway up a notch when you add a fishing trip to your itinerary. Harpers Ferry’s location at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah makes it an unforgettable fishing destination.

Whether you decide to do it yourself or book a guided fishing trip, Harpers Ferry is sure to bring a bite to your line!


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