Fishing at Sleepy Creek Lake


If you’re looking for a place to take the family for some bluegill fishing fun or for some serious largemouth bass trophy fishing, look no further than Sleepy Creek Lake near Berkeley Springs, WV.

On Sunday, July 7th, I celebrated my birthday by taking my family on an adventure to Sleepy Creek Lake.  I had read about it online a few times and wanted to do a quick drive-through to look at potential hunting, camping and fishing locations.  Oh, yeah, and to give my wife and kids a chance to get outside and have some fun.


The three older kids caught their fair share of bluegill at Sleepy Creek Lake, WV.

Sleepy Creek Lake is a 205 acres impoundment known for its trophy bass fishing.  According to the WVDNR, “no other lake in the state, regardless of size, has come close to equaling the number of citation bass yielded by this unique 205-acre lake built in 1962.”  But when I read one of their suspected reasons for such a high volume of trophy bass, I immediately had to visit this lake.  The WVDNR indicates that one of the reasons for the large number of bass is how difficult the lake is to get to.  Before they improved the road conditions, even aggressive four-wheel drive vehicles had a difficult time getting there in rainy weather.  Even now, with improved roads, it’s a long drive down a winding gravel road before you even see the lake.  You definitely get the feeling of being pretty deep in the woods.

The lake is located in the middle of the 22,928 acres, Sleepy Creek Wildlife Management Area.  I didn’t actually put boots on the ground here scouting for deer, but based on what I saw from the road, from Google Maps, and from accounts I’ve read on the web, this WMA may become my go-to for bowhunting.  I’ll stay away during rifle season to avoid the crowds common on public hunting grounds.

The campgrounds were pretty bare but I’m certain that they will make for a nice place to camp.  There is little more than a place to park, a place to put up a tent, and a fire ring at each site.  But the sites are remote and secluded from each other.  I imagine that this will be a go-to location for solitary nights or for the occasional family outdoors adventure.


Dad’s tend to do a lot more tending to kids’ fishing poles than actual fishing – even on their birthday!

Of course, any man knows that taking four children and a wife fishing means that he is going to have little time to fish for himself.  I think that I managed to cast the Ugly Stik five times.  I wasn’t expecting to do much fishing anyhow.  I was quite pleased to help the kids with catching bluegills – and bluegills there were many!  Fishing from the “pier,” each kid caught a fair amount and was pleased with their junior woodsman skills.  We used earthworms that I dug from our backyard the previous day and the bluegill were more than happy to take them, hook and all.  We ended up putting all of them back except our largest catch, my daughter’s pretty decent sized bluegill.  We offered it up to a family fishing on the other side of the pier and they gladly accepted.


Although he didn’t do any fishing, Turtle still enjoyed being outside. I have faith that he’s going to grow up to be a woodsman!

The wife and children all had a good time celebrating my birthday.  And I think I may have found my local bass fishing and deer hunting location.  Except for that whole getting old thing, it made for a pretty fantastic birthday!

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5 thoughts on “Fishing at Sleepy Creek Lake

  1. Does look pretty similar to good ol plum empty! Lakes are only 3 acres difference. However, there must be a larger section of woods there as plum only has about 3200 ac. I’d say the large population of blue gill help the trophy bass sit.

    • Yeah. It reminds me a lot of Plum Orchard as far and size – and lily pads. The woods seem like a pretty decent place for hunting. Been looking at Google maps and topo map trying to find a good place to start. Maybe we’ll chit chat about it some night soon. There are a lot of bluegill! But I’m pretty excited about getting out there on a canoe and trying my luck at some of those bass.

  2. I have a grand daughter that is going to arrive mid October. It will be a few years before she will hold her own rod and reel, but I look forward to that day. Hopefully, she will love it and want to come with Poppy on many adventures. Good times were had by all, I think.

    • Most of my favorite moments from my childhood were fishing with my grand father or “pa” as we all called him. I bet your grand daughter will love fishing with you just like all children love spending time doing anything with their grandparents. I read a few accounts of people kayak fishing here at Sleepy Creek. Couldn’t help but think that you should come out for a visit and see if you could get one of those trophies out from under those lily pads.

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