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Best Places To Fish in Virginia

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By AA-Fishing Staff Writers

Virginia offers a wealth of fishing opportunities, with a diverse range of habitats and abundant fish populations. The purpose of this page is to share information about the best fishing lakes in the state, listed by species.

Some of the best places to fish in Virginia include the Chesapeake Bay, Smith Mountain Lake, and the James River.

The Chesapeake Bay is a renowned fishing destination, offering a vast expanse of water teeming with a variety of fish species. Anglers can target popular species such as striped bass (rockfish), bluefish, flounder, and red drum. The bay provides excellent fishing opportunities throughout the year, with the best season for striped bass typically being spring and fall. Anglers can enjoy both boat and shore fishing in the Chesapeake Bay, making it accessible to anglers of all preferences.

Smith Mountain Lake, nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, is another top fishing spot in Virginia. The lake is known for its excellent bass fishing, with largemouth bass and smallmouth bass being the primary species targeted by anglers. Spring and fall are the best seasons to fish for bass at Smith Mountain Lake, as the fish are more active and feeding near the shorelines. Additionally, the lake offers opportunities to catch crappie, catfish, and sunfish, providing a well-rounded fishing experience.

The James River, a major waterway in Virginia, is famous for its diverse fishery. Anglers can target a variety of species in the river, including smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, catfish, and various panfish. Spring and summer are popular seasons for fishing on the James River, as the water warms up and fish become more active. The river's rapids and rock structures make it an exciting destination for anglers seeking the thrill of catching smallmouth bass in a scenic setting.

The best season to fish in Virginia can vary depending on the species and the specific location. Generally, spring and fall offer excellent fishing opportunities as fish are more active and feeding in preparation for spawning or winter. However, different species have specific peak seasons. For example, spring is known for bass fishing, while summer is a great time for catfish and panfish. It's important to research the preferred habitats and behavior of the target species to plan fishing trips accordingly.

Overall, Virginia provides a diverse fishing landscape, from the expansive waters of the Chesapeake Bay to the tranquil lakes and rivers nestled in its scenic mountains. Anglers can enjoy a variety of species and fishing experiences throughout the year, making Virginia a favorite destination for fishing enthusiasts seeking memorable adventures on the water.

There are many great places to fish in The Old Dominion State, and whatever your style of fishing, you'll likely find it here in Virginia. Ponds, rivers, streams, coastal waters and lakes all provide opportunities to wet a line. Here, we focus on major lakes. With that in mind, here are some of the best places to fish in the state.

Virginia's Top-Five, Amazing Fishing Spots

There are close to a dozen major lakes in Virginia, and we cover most of them here. Year over year fishing may decline or improve in many of these lakes, but these are ones that have maintained a positive reputation for good fishing over time. Learn more...

Most Popular Fish Species In Virginia

Three species of bass, striped bass and hybrid stripers, four species of trout, four species of catfish, walleye, sauger, saugeye, both species of crappie, two species of perch, white bass and sunfish all make their homes in the state. Learn more...

Best Bass Fishing Lakes In Virginia

Expect quality fishing for largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass in many of the fisheries across the state. State records include largemouth over 16 pounds, smallmouth over 8 pounds and spotted bass over 6 pounds.. Learn more...

Best Lakes For Striper Fishing In Virginia

If you enjoy chasing the big boys, you can catch striped bass and hybrid stripers in numerous waters in the state. The state record for striped bass is over 53 pounds, and the record for hybrid stripers is over 15 pounds. Learn more...

Top Places To Fish For Trout In Virginia

Not many of the major lakes in the state have a significant trout population. Lake Moomaw does have, and receives high accolades as the best place to fish for trout among lake fishing enthusiasts. There are also rivers and streams which provide good trout fishing, especially for fly fishing. Learn more...

Best Lakes To Fish For Catfish In Virginia

The state record for blue catfish, of 132 pounds, is also the world record. The flathead state record is over 68 pounds, the channel catfish record is 32 pounds and the state record white catfish is over 7 pounds. All four of these records were caught out of major lakes. In addition to lakes, rivers can produce hot and heavy catfish action as well. Learn more...

Best Walleye Fishing Lakes In Virginia

About a dozen major lakes in the state offer the chance to catch walleye. These three have a long-standing reputation for good walleye fishing. Rivers are also a great place to catch walleye, especially when they flow into a major lake. Learn more...

Enjoy these top spots to go fishing in Virginia

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