Appomattox River

River Overview

The Appomattox River, a significant tributary of the James River, originates in Appomattox County and meanders southeastward towards Petersburg and Hopewell. Notably, Lake Chesdin, situated just west of Petersburg, stands as a prominent reservoir formed along its course.

Diverse Fishery

Offering a diverse range of aquatic species, the Appomattox River presents ample opportunities for anglers. Among the various catches are largemouth, smallmouth, and spotted bass, alongside redbreast sunfish, bluegill, flier, crappie, pickerel, and fallfish. Additionally, seasonal runs of striped bass and walleye originating from Lake Chesdin add to the river's allure.

Access Points

Access to the Appomattox River is primarily limited to bridge crossings. Given its remote setting, individuals venturing onto its waters should possess considerable boating experience to navigate effectively and safely.

Safety Advisory

Navigating the Appomattox River demands caution and expertise due to its remote and potentially challenging conditions. Only experienced boaters should undertake journeys along its tranquil yet formidable waters.

Blackwater River

River Overview

Originating in Prince George County, the Blackwater River flows eastward through Surry County before merging southward into the Nottoway River, ultimately forming the Chowan River.

Diverse Fishery

The Blackwater River boasts a varied fishery, featuring seasonal runs of river herring, shad, and striped bass during the spring months. Additionally, anglers can enjoy excellent redbreast sunfish angling in the spring, along with opportunities to catch largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie, flier, and chain pickerel. Bowfin and gar are commonly found in the lower reaches of the river.

Access Points

Access to the Blackwater River is facilitated by ramps located in the City of Franklin and at Routes 611 and 603 off Route 258. Canoe access is available at several bridge crossings, while bank fishing is limited to select bridge crossings, state boat ramps, and designated canoe access areas.

Chickahominy River

River Overview

Flowing eastward from Henrico and Hanover Counties, the Chickahominy River joins the James River east of Jamestown. Notably, Chickahominy Lake, positioned along the New Kent/Charles City County line, serves as a significant man-made reservoir along its course.

Abundant Fishery

Renowned for its scenic cypress-lined shores, the Chickahominy River below the lake is celebrated for its nationally recognized largemouth bass fishery. Anglers can also expect good fishing for crappie, bowfin, yellow perch, channel catfish, longnose gar, and blue catfish.

Access Points

Access to the Chickahominy River is facilitated by several key points, including Chickahominy Riverfront Park, the WMA landing on Morris Creek, and Brickyard Landing west of Toano off Route 610. Private ramps such as Rock-a-Hock Campground and River’s Rest offer additional access options for boaters.

Clinch River

River Overview

Emanating from its source near the town of Tazewell, the Clinch River stretches southwestward for 135 miles, carving through the mountainous terrain of the region before crossing into Tennessee.

Diverse Sport Fishery

The Clinch River is renowned for its diverse sport fishery, offering anglers the opportunity to target a wide array of species. Native game fish such as smallmouth bass, spotted bass, walleye, and sauger abound, alongside largemouth bass, rock bass, redbreast sunfish, longear sunfish, and bluegill. Moreover, musky, black crappie, and freshwater drum are also prevalent, while both channel and flathead catfish offer excellent fishing opportunities. In the lower stretches, migratory species like striped bass and white bass can be found, making for an exciting angling experience.

Conservation Focus

Noteworthy for its rich biodiversity, the Clinch River is home to numerous rare species of mussels and a diverse array of minnows and darters, highlighting its significance as a conservation area alongside its reputation as a premier fishing destination.

Dan River

The Dan River, born amidst the rugged terrain of Patrick County's eastern Blue Ridge Mountains, carves a path eastward until it meets the expansive Kerr Reservoir, also known as Buggs Island Lake, near Clarksville, Virginia.

Fishery Insights

In the mountainous expanse of Patrick County, anglers encounter a blend of wild and stocked trout fishing opportunities. Notably, two special regulation areas enhance the fishing experience. Moving westward toward Danville, the Dan River slows, presenting opportunities to reel in catfish, largemouth bass, and various sunfish species. As the river progresses east of Danville, the landscape transitions, heralding the arrival of landlocked striped bass fishing. Further downstream, the lower river beckons with migratory fish from Kerr Reservoir, featuring flathead and blue catfish. The seasonal rhythm unfolds with walleye migration starting as early as January, followed by white perch and white bass in April, and the much-anticipated striped bass run commencing in late April through May.

Upper James River

Originating from the merging currents of the Jackson and Cowpasture rivers in Alleghany County, the James River embarks on an eastward journey toward Richmond.

Immersive Fishery Experience

The James River, divided into mountain and piedmont sections, offers a diverse range of fishing experiences. Upstream from Lynchburg, anglers revel in smallmouth bass and muskie fishing amidst scenic mountain backdrops. Downstream, between Lynchburg and Richmond, the river continues to mesmerize with its abundance of channel catfish, flathead catfish, and a variety of sunfish species, including redbreast, bluegill, and rock bass.

Access Points

Navigating the James River's waters is best done by canoe, although jet motor and jon boats find their place at select access points. With numerous sites available, exploring the river's beauty is accessible to all. Additionally, bank and wade fishing opportunities abound, ensuring ample access for enthusiasts of all preferences.

Lower James River

Prolific Fishery Abounds

The lower James River boasts a nationally recognized largemouth bass fishery. Upstream from Hopewell, anglers find prime largemouth bass habitats nestled within old river channels and abandoned gravel pits. Moving downstream to Hog Island, bass fishing flourishes in larger tributary creeks and vast expanses of vegetated tidal flats. The tidal James River holds prominence for blue catfish fishing, offering enthusiasts a chance to reel in impressive catches. Crappie fishing thrives in oxbows upstream of Hopewell, while white perch populate the river's expanse.

Seasonal Highlights

Spring heralds the arrival of hickory shad, creating a buzz among anglers from late March through early May within the Fall Line. The anadromous striped bass, locally known as "rockfish," also make their seasonal appearance near the I-95 Bridge in Richmond during this timeframe, promising an exciting fishing expedition.

Maury River

Confluence of Waters

In a picturesque display of nature's convergence, the Maury River emerges as the Calfpasture and Little Calfpasture rivers unite just before embarking on their journey through the renowned Goshen Pass. Exiting the turbulent embrace of the pass, the river cascades into the valley toward Lexington, ultimately joining the James River at Glasgow.

Diverse Fishery Realm

The Goshen Pass segment boasts an exceptional stocked trout fishery, inviting anglers to cast their lines amidst breathtaking scenery. From the headwaters to the river's mouth where it meets the James, opportunities abound to reel in the elusive smallmouth bass. The Maury River teems with spirited redbreast sunfish and harbors a population of rock bass. Additional catches include carp, catfish, and suckers, promising a varied and engaging fishing experience for enthusiasts.

New River

Ancient Waters, Timeless Beauty

Originating in North Carolina, the New River charts a course northward for 160 miles through Virginia before transforming into Bluestone Lake in West Virginia. Revered as the oldest river in North America and the second oldest globally, its waters whisper tales of bygone eras as they meander through diverse landscapes.

Rich Sport Fishery Realm

The New River stands shoulder to shoulder with esteemed counterparts like the James and Rappahannock rivers as a premier sport fishing destination in Virginia. Anglers are treated to a veritable feast of fish species, including smallmouth bass, spotted bass, largemouth bass, rock bass, striped bass, hybrid striped bass, muskellunge, walleye, black crappie, channel catfish, flathead catfish, yellow perch, redbreast sunfish, and bluegill. The river's storied waters hold state records for musky, smallmouth bass, and walleye, attesting to its allure for anglers seeking record-breaking catches.

Accessible Adventure

Whitewater enthusiasts find plenty to entice them along the New River's course, with thrilling Class II–III rapids beckoning the adventurous at heart. For those seeking a more leisurely pursuit, ample stretches of flatwater cater to motor boaters and canoeists alike. With numerous access points dotting its banks, embarking on a New River adventure is as accessible as it is exhilarating.

North Fork Holston River

Source to Southern Border

Beginning its journey in Bland County, the North Fork Holston River meanders over 100 miles through the picturesque landscapes of Southwest Virginia before gracefully crossing the Tennessee state line near Yuma.

Abundant Fishery Resources

The North Fork Holston boasts an exceptional population of smallmouth bass, with a notable concentration of specimens ranging from 14 to 18 inches. Impressively, one-third of these smallmouth bass exceed the 14-inch mark, while over 10% stretch beyond 17 inches, promising exhilarating angling experiences. Additionally, rock bass and several species of sunfish thrive in these waters, providing ample opportunities for varied fishing pursuits. Anglers also encounter channel and flathead catfish, adding further diversity to the river's vibrant ecosystem. However, it's essential to note a mercury fish consumption prohibition in effect from Saltville downstream to the Tennessee line, ensuring the safety of both fish and angler.

North Fork Shenandoah River

A Northern Odyssey

Spanning a journey of 116 miles from Rockingham County to Front Royal, the North Fork Shenandoah River traverses a scenic route before converging with the South Fork Shenandoah to form the illustrious Shenandoah River.

Bountiful Fishery Diversity

Anglers exploring the North Fork Shenandoah can anticipate encounters with smallmouth bass throughout its course. Additionally, the river plays host to an array of other fish species, including largemouth bass, redbreast sunfish, rock bass, bluegill, pumpkinseed sunfish, fallfish, muskie, American eel, white sucker, common carp, crappie, yellow bullhead, and channel catfish. Such diversity ensures that anglers of all preferences find ample opportunities to indulge in their favorite fishing pursuits along the North Fork Shenandoah.

Accessible Aquatic Adventure

Characterized by its relatively small and shallow profile, the North Fork Shenandoah presents an ideal setting for canoe enthusiasts. Its tranquil waters invite leisurely floats, providing a serene backdrop for exploration. Furthermore, the river's shallow depths make it easily navigable on foot, allowing anglers to wade into prime fishing spots with ease. Whether by canoe or on foot, the North Fork Shenandoah promises an accessible and rewarding fishing experience for all who venture its waters.

North Landing and Northwest River

Proximity and Contrasts

While the North Landing and Northwest rivers in the Tidewater area share geographical proximity and eventually converge in North Carolina, each boasts unique characteristics that set them apart.

North Landing River

Gateway to Waterway Wonders

As the larger of the two rivers, the North Landing River holds a significant portion of the Intracoastal Waterway. This navigable water route offers adventurers the opportunity to journey northward, tracing the path to the Elizabeth River and, ultimately, the majestic Chesapeake Bay. Conversely, southward exploration leads to the tranquil expanse of Currituck Sound in North Carolina.

Diverse Fishery Delights

The North Landing River teems with a diverse array of both freshwater and brackish fish species, catering to the preferences of discerning anglers. Largemouth bass, bluegill, pumpkinseed, yellow perch, white perch, and white catfish populate its waters, offering exciting fishing prospects. Notably, a resurgence of smaller striped bass, weighing up to 10 pounds, adds to the river's allure, promising thrilling angling adventures for enthusiasts.

Northwest River

A Tapestry of Darkness and Exploration

Emerging eastward from the depths of the Great Dismal Swamp, the Northwest River boasts a distinctively dark hue, earning it the moniker of "blackwater." Its acidic waters carve a mysterious path, inviting intrepid explorers to delve into its depths. Numerous small tributaries offer secluded havens, ensuring solitude away from the bustling traffic of larger vessels on the main river.

Abundant Fisheries Await

The Northwest River's rich ecosystem sustains a flourishing population of bluegill and pumpkinseed, offering ample opportunities for anglers to test their skills. Largemouth bass, redear, black crappie, chain pickerel, and occasional sightings of white perch and white catfish further enhance the river's diverse fishery, promising rewarding catches amidst serene surroundings.

Nottoway River

Journey from Highlands to Lowlands

Originating in the picturesque landscapes of Prince Edward and Lunenburg counties, the Nottoway River embarks on a southeasterly course, spanning 130 miles until its convergence with the Blackwater River at the North Carolina border, giving rise to the majestic Chowan River.

Bifurcated Fisheries

The Nottoway River's fishery undergoes a transformative shift at the Rt. 630 Bridge on the Greensville-Sussex County line. Above this juncture, anglers encounter numerous redbreast sunfish, smallmouth bass, and Roanoke bass, adding to the river's diverse ecosystem. Conversely, below Rt. 630, bluegill, largemouth bass, black crappie, and channel catfish dominate the fishery landscape. Spring brings a flurry of migratory activity, with blueback herring, American shad, hickory shad, striped bass, and white perch journeying upstream from North Carolina, enhancing the angling experience for enthusiasts.

Accessible Aquatic Adventures

Above the Rt. 630 bridge, canoeists revel in delightful float trips, navigating the shallow, clear, and swiftly flowing waters with ease. Conversely, below Rt. 630, the river's character evolves as it slows, deepens, and darkens, welcoming bass boats into its expansive embrace. Swamps dotting the Coastal Plain contribute to the river's grandeur, particularly in Southampton County, offering anglers ample space to explore and immerse themselves in nature's bounty.

Rappahannock and Rapidan River

Journey of the Rappahannock

Origin and Course

Flowing from its source at Chester Gap in Fauquier County, the Rappahannock River meanders approximately 184 miles before gracefully emptying into the Chesapeake Bay. Notably, the initial 62-mile stretch, from its headwaters to Mayfield Bridge in Fredericksburg, holds the prestigious designation of a State Scenic River, a testament to its natural beauty and significance.

Rich Fishery Diversity

Above Fredericksburg and beyond the reach of tidal influence, the Rappahannock River offers exceptional opportunities for anglers, particularly for smallmouth bass and redbreast sunfish angling. Below Fredericksburg, the river's ecosystem undergoes a transformation, heralding the annual herring and shad run each spring. The tidal area also hosts a diverse array of fish species, including white perch, largemouth bass, striped bass, crappie, yellow perch, channel catfish, and blue catfish, catering to the varied interests of anglers seeking memorable catches.

Access Points and Adventures

For avid explorers seeking access to the upper reaches of the Rappahannock and Rapidan rivers, numerous public access points facilitate entry into these scenic waterways. Notable sites include Kelly’s Ford in Culpeper County and Motts Landing in Spotsylvania County, offering convenient launch points for canoe and jon boat excursions. Traveling downstream, Elys Ford on the Rapidan River provides another gateway to exploration, approximately 14 miles upstream of Motts Landing. Additionally, several "non-established" access points along VDOT rights-of-way present alternative entry options for eager anglers. In the tidal area below Fredericksburg, public boat launch sites such as Hicks Landing in Port Royal and Tappahannock enhance accessibility, ensuring that adventurers can embark on their aquatic expeditions with ease.

Rivanna River

Source to Confluence

Originating in the picturesque landscapes of western Greene and Albemarle counties, the North and South forks of the Rivanna River converge on the western fringes of Charlottesville. From this point, the river embarks on a southeastern trajectory, winding its way to the majestic James River at Columbia in Fluvanna County. Notably, the main stem Rivanna River, spanning a 40-mile stretch below the South Rivanna Reservoir, holds the esteemed distinction of being Virginia’s first designated Scenic River, a testament to its natural splendor and significance.

Abundant Fishery Resources

The main stem Rivanna River boasts a rich and diverse fishery, attracting anglers from far and wide. Renowned for its excellent populations of smallmouth bass, redbreast sunfish, and channel catfish, the river promises thrilling angling adventures for enthusiasts of all skill levels. Anglers can also expect encounters with bluegill, crappie, fallfish, green sunfish, largemouth bass, longnose gar, and rock bass, adding to the excitement of fishing on these pristine waters. Additionally, there's the occasional chance to reel in prized catches like flathead catfish and walleye, further enhancing the allure of the Rivanna's fishery.

Accessible Aquatic Exploration

Perfect for floating adventures with a canoe or kayak, the Rivanna River's small size, rocky bottom, and relatively shallow water make it ideal for aquatic exploration. Access to the river is primarily concentrated on the main stem section, with numerous hand-launch access areas peppered along the route from Charlottesville downstream to Columbia. These convenient access points ensure that adventurers can easily embark on their journey, immersing themselves in the natural beauty and tranquility of the Rivanna River.

Shenandoah River

Majestic Convergence

The main stem Shenandoah River emerges as a majestic union of the North Fork and South Fork, converging at Front Royal before embarking on a 57-mile journey. Its tranquil waters eventually mingle with the Potomac River at the historic site of Harpers Ferry, West Virginia.

Diverse Fishery Bounty

The Shenandoah River beckons anglers with a diverse array of quality sportfish populations. Smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, channel catfish, and various species of sunfish dominate its fishery, promising thrilling angling pursuits for enthusiasts. Additionally, localized areas throughout the river teem with abundant walleye and muskellunge, adding to the allure of this scenic waterway.

South Fork Shenandoah River

A Tributary of Treasures

The South Fork Shenandoah River, originating at the confluence of the North River and South River near Port Republic, meanders northward for 97 miles until it merges with the North Fork Shenandoah at Front Royal.

Legendary Smallmouth Haven

Renowned for its excellence as an exceptional smallmouth bass river, the South Fork Shenandoah has garnered a long-standing reputation among anglers. While modest numbers of smallmouth bass can be found throughout its entire length, varying survival rates among young fish in recent years have led to non-uniform densities of bass in different reaches of the river. Areas with higher densities of smallmouth are particularly concentrated in the Rockingham and Page County sections. Additionally, the South Fork boasts good populations of largemouth bass, redbreast sunfish, channel catfish, and muskellunge, especially in its longer, deeper pools.

Accessible Canoeing Haven

A haven for canoe enthusiasts, the South Fork Shenandoah River boasts over 20 public access points, offering ample opportunities to plan diverse float trips of varying lengths. Anglers and nature enthusiasts alike can explore the river's scenic beauty while indulging in their favorite pastimes.

Staunton (Roanoke) River

Journey Along the Roanoke

The Staunton River, an 81-mile segment of the Roanoke River, begins its meandering course at Leesville Dam, continuing until its convergence with Kerr Reservoir.

Seasonal Fishery Riches

Throughout the seasons, the Staunton River welcomes a bounty of fish species, including seasonal runs of walleye, striped bass, white bass, white perch, and suckers. Catfish, including larger flathead catfish, are prevalent throughout the river, offering rewarding angling experiences. Smallmouth bass and Roanoke bass, akin to their larger cousin, the rock bass, are common in the upper sections, particularly around riffles and rocky habitats. Largemouth bass and crappie add to the angling diversity, particularly in the lower river toward the state park.

Accessible Waterway Marvels

Accessible to both canoeists and motorboats, the Staunton River features convenient launch areas below Leesville Dam. Numerous access points along its course, including Altavista, Long Island, Brookneal, Watkins Bridge, US 360 E, and Staunton River State Park, ensure that adventurers can easily navigate its waters, immersing themselves in its scenic wonders and abundant fisheries.

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