Virginia boasts some of the best fishing on the East Coast. Whether you’re looking to wrangle monster catfish or explore 2,800 miles worth of trout streams, there’s something for anglers of all varieties. The fishing holes across the Commonwealth have you covered and here are a few of our favorites.
Bear Creek lake in Cumberland, Virginia, is only an hour away from Richmond and offers some of the most spectacular views and serene waters in the Old Dominion. The 40-acre lake offers boat launches, fishing pier, and boat rentals. The park opens at 8 a.m. and closes at dusk, so make sure to time yourself accordingly. Species include largemouth bass, bluegill, redear sunfish, black crappie, and channel catfish.
Lake Anna is one of the largest freshwater inland lakes in Virginia, covering over 20 square-miles across three counties. With over 30 unique fish species, Lake Anna is prime fishing real estate. The most sought after fish in include the channel catfish, white perch, and bluegill, among others. The surrounding park has picnic areas and boat launching ramps. For bait and other supplies, stop in at Fish Tales in Mineral, Virginia, before you hit the water! They’ll have everything you’ll need from live bait to other fishing equipment.
The James River cuts its course directly through the heart of the urban downtown Richmond area. Nestled between steel buildings and concrete, the river oasis provides for a welcome burst of natural beauty, history, and excellent fishing. Small mouth bass is most commonly fished for, although flathead, blue, and channel catfish are present throughout. Nine fishing spots exist all along the river and have various access points with slightly different fish present. Need to gear up with some supplies before you hit the water? Stop in at Fin and Skin Bait and Tackle right in Richmond.
Lake Moomaw in western Virginia is a man-made lake covering 2,530 acres and is great for winter fishing. The lake is stocked with both warm water fish, like bass, sunfish, crappie, and catfish, and cold water fish, such as trout. Trout varieties include rainbow, brown, and brook trout. Alewives, too, are present. Trout fishing at Moomaw doesn’t require a license or a National Forest stamp. Regulations for different sizes of fish exist, so make sure to check the website before taking any home.
Mossy Creek is famous for its incredible fly fishing. Even expert fly fishers may have trouble at this challenging limestone creek, as fish must be caught from the banks instead of from the water itself. The brown trout that live in the creek can be up to 25 inches, and are stocked regularly. Head to Harrisonburg’s Mossy Creek Fly Shop if you are in need of fly fishing gear. This shop also provides guide services so you can make the most of your fishing adventure! Anglers must have a Virginia fishing license and signed permit card with them to fish the creek.