Stonecoal Lake Wildlife Management Area is located on the Lewis/Upshur County line south of U.S. 33 and 119. This area takes in a total of 2,985 acres and is no more than a 30-minute drive from Elkins.
The lake has an area of 550 acres. There are two concrete boat ramps, located at both ends of the lake, with accommodations for the physically handicapped. Motorboats are restricted to 10 horsepower. The lake has large populations of bass (large and small mouth), bluegill, channel catfish, crappie, muskellunge, trout and walleye. In West Virginia, the record Muskie pulled out of this lake in 2003 weighed 38.5 pounds and was 52.7 inches long. Stonecoal Lake also holds the state records for rainbow trout (11.74 pounds), golden rainbow trout (8.63 pounds) and carp (41.5 pounds)
A carp is one fish that will give any angler a good fight, and I have had friends tell me that they are good eating when caught in clean water. Since carp can live in polluted water, I would most likely throw it back if I caught it.
Stonecoal WMA is accessible from Lewis County Routes 15 and 36, along with Upshur County Route 7. Hardwood forests cover 80 percent of the area with the remaining area in wildlife clearings and brushy fields.
West Virginia Game and Fish Magazine thinks this area is one of the better hot spots to bag a spring gobbler. Lewis County ranks next on the best-bet list. Lewis County is the home of another productive public hunting and fishing area. Stonewall Jackson encompasses more than 18,000 acres of prime hunting opportunities.
This year, the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources will give out 100 anterless deer permits for Stonecoal Lake. Last year, I had a friend who received one of these permits. He told me the from the time he got out of his vehicle to when he was loading venison in his trunk was less than one hour.
In addition to deer and turkey, there is an abundance of squirrel and waterfowl. While camping, swimming and open fires are not permitted, there is a private campground located near the headwaters of the lake.
Stonecoal Lake is owned by Allegheny Energy Co., leased to, and managed by the WVDNR. Area sportsmen and women would do well to try this place sometime in the upcoming hunting season.