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The Best Fly Fishing in Virginia's Central Region; Trout Fishing from Shenandoah Valley to BaCOVA

Updated: Nov 1, 2023

Man holding rainbow trout
Rainbow Trout

Virginia's Central Region is a fly fishing paradise, offering anglers numerous opportunities to catch various trout species in its pristine rivers and creeks. From the picturesque Shenandoah Valley to Mossy Creek, Jackson River, and Shenandoah River, this guide will lead you through some of the best fly fishing spots in the state of Virginia. This fishing guide will explain angler-friendly locations, the best trout streams trout , and the species you can expect to encounter.

Exploring the Rivers of Virginia

Shenandoah River: A Serene Escape for Fly Fishing

The Shenandoah River is a jewel in Virginia's fly fishing crown. Flowing through the scenic Shenandoah Valley, this river is our summertime playground. The south Fork of the Shenandoah River offers excellent smallmouth bass fishing opportunities. Anglers can also expect fly fishing for largemouth bass in sections, plentiful species of sunfish, carp, and even musky in certain sections. The Shenandoah River also provides a wonderful setting for fly fishing trips, surrounded by the breathtaking beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah National Park.

Jackson River: Bath County Trout Fishing Excellence

The Jackson River, running through Bath County, is a trout fishery of great renown in Virginia. This river is divided into two sections: the Upper Jackson River and the Lower Jackson River. The upper section of the river offers excellent fishing for stocked trout. Hidden Valley is popular with those looking to hike. Beaver dams along small tributaries create pockets of trout habitat for native brook trout that feed the river. The lower section provides opportunities to catch wild rainbow and wild brown trout. This tailwater section is able to be floated and supplemental brown trout and rainbow trout are stocked in this special regulation trout fishing area. Big fish are caught here every year and anglers fishing will find ample opportunities to use a variety of techniques and skills in this rewarding fishery.

South River, Waynesboro: Virginia Trout Rebound

Coming from the Big Levels area of Southern Augusta County the South River begins south of Waynesboro in the Sherando Lake area. A true come back story, the river is now home to an excellent rainbow and brown trout populations. Efforts from the Virginia Department of Game and the local Virginia Trout Unlimited Chapter has revitalized the river and offers some excellent fly fishing right downtown.

Mossy Creek: A Hidden Gem for Wild Trout

Mossy Creek, located in Augusta County, is a true gem for anglers seeking wild trout experiences. Known for its crystal-clear waters and challenging fishing conditions, Mossy Creek is home to wild rainbow and brown trout. Dry fly fishing is particularly rewarding here if you can get a trout to rise to the surface to take your well-presented flies. Fly anglers should expect a day for patience in this limestone spring creek.

Shenandoah National Park; Native Trout Paradise

Hitting the brook trout streams of the park is a whole blog in itself. Excellent trout fishing abounds and I highly recommend reading the links below for information and tips for brook trout fishing on the park, fly selection, and maps from Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources:

Trout Species in Virginia's Central Region

Brook Trout: A Native Beauty

Brook trout, also known as native trout, are a prized catch in Virginia's Central Region. These colorful and feisty fish thrive in the clear, cold waters of the mountain streams. Fly fishing for brook trout offers a unique and gratifying experience as you connect with one of Virginia's native treasures. Seek out streams in Shenandoah National Park or George Washington National Forest.

Rainbow Trout: The Energetic Fighter

Rainbow trout are a popular species among fly anglers for their acrobatic displays and spirited fights. Whether caught in stocked waters or wild streams, these vibrant fish are sure to provide an exciting and memorable fishing experience. Most Virginia State trout streams are stocked with rainbow trout.

Brown Trout: The Elusive Challenger

Brown trout are known for their intelligence and wily behavior, making them a challenging quarry for fly anglers. Virginia's rivers and lakes are stocked with brown trout, and catching one of these elusive fish is a reward in itself. Mossy Creek and Jackson River are a good place to go after these great trout. Tips for the Best Fly Fishing Experience

Fishing License and Regulations

Before heading out to fly fish in Virginia's Central Region, make sure you have a valid fishing license, trout stamp, and National Forest Permit issued by the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources. Familiarize yourself with the fishing regulations for each specific location. Some stocked trout water isn't put and take and some wild brook trout streams aren't always catch and release.

Gear up for Success

A lightweight fly rod in the 3-5 weight area with the appropriate fly selection is essential for successful trout fishing. Be prepared with different patterns to match the hatch and entice the trout to bite. Nymphs. dries, and terrestrials are all needed depending on the time of year. Check your local fly shop to see what is going on as weather can change a lot here. A reliable fly reel and appropriate fishing gear will ensure a smooth and enjoyable fishing experience.

Respect the Environment

As a responsible angler, it's crucial to practice catch-and-release fishing and preserve the delicate ecosystems of Virginia's waterways. Fishing a stocked trout stream is fine and if you need a trout take it. Shenandoah Valley is one of the brook trout's strongholds. Respect the natural environment, leave no trace, and help protect the native trout populations for future generations of fly anglers. Make sure you are aware of the regulations, whether is be stocked water or wild trout stream. Fishing the Central Region offers some of the best fly fishing in Virginia. From the picturesque Shenandoah Valley and the pristine waters of Mossy Creek, Jackson River, and Shenandoah River, there are endless possibilities for anglers seeking trout fishing adventures. Whether you're a seasoned angler or a novice, exploring the rivers of this region will leave you with lasting memories of breathtaking landscapes and thrilling encounters with the majestic trout species that call these waters home. So grab your fly rod, get your fishing license, and immerse yourself in the enchanting world of fly fishing in Virginia's Central Region.


Nov 27, 2023

Is wading available on the Jackson River?

Justin Fischbach
Justin Fischbach
Mar 11
Replying to

Yes it is mainly around the boat launches. King's Grant is tricky, though, so make sure you're in the right place.

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