Reel in the Adventure: Discover Virginia’s 6 Best-Kept-Secret Fishing Holes

Courtesy of Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources

By Emily Richardson

August 17, 2023

Virginia’s natural charm extends below the surface. Just don’t forget your rod and reel!

While our state boasts well-known landscapes and historical landmarks, its waters hold something special for avid anglers—hidden fishing holes that promise seclusion and the thrill of an exceptional catch. Whether you’re an experienced fisherman or a newcomer seeking a quiet escape, get ready to cast your line and craft your own fish tales in the unexplored waters of the Old Dominion.

Be sure that you’re properly licensed to fish in Virginia before you set out—and remember to bring that documentation with you.

Big Tumbling Creek

Reel in the Adventure: Discover Virginia's 6 Best-Kept-Secret Fishing Holes

Courtesy of Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources

Big Tumbling Creek is a large gradient stream with numerous beautiful waterfalls and deep, rocky pools. It only costs $8 per day to fish here, and trout are stocked four times per week throughout the season (April to September)—so there’s plenty of fishing to be had.

Nottoway River

Reel in the Adventure: Discover Virginia's 6 Best-Kept-Secret Fishing Holes

Courtesy of Virginia Water Resources Research Center

The quiet and beautiful Nottoway River is home to a diverse range of fish, from both largemouth and smallmouth bass to catfish, shad, and herring. You can also find pan fishes, Roanoke bass, yellow perch, and black crappie in these picturesque waters. Fishers can wade much of the river when the water level drops in the summer.

Pamunkey River

The Pamunkey River is a long, meandering river with no upstream flow. There’s a secluded section of the lower river close to the Route 360 Bridge where you can find a diverse angling experience of black crappie, blue and channel catfish, redbreast sunfish, striped bass, three species of black bass, yellow perch, and more.

Public access on the upper Pamunkey is limited. On the Pamunkey below Route 360, there are public ramps at Lester Manor, just downstream of the Pamunkey Indian Reservation, and West Point (Mattaponi River).

Blackwater River

Reel in the Adventure: Discover Virginia's 6 Best-Kept-Secret Fishing Holes

Courtesy of The Nature Conservancy in Virginia

If you’re in the mood for a beautiful day observing local fauna, a float down the Blackwater River might be what you need. There is very little or no flow at all much of the time, so these waters are a calm and quiet place to immerse yourself in nature.

There’s no shortage of fish in the river, either. You can find striped bass, river herring, bluegill, flier, chain pickerel, and more.

Boaters can access ramps at Routes 611 (Joyner’s Bridge Road) and 603 off Route 258 in Isle of Wight County. Canoe access is available off of Route 619 (Burdette), Route 189 (South Quay), and Route 620 (Broadwater), but beware of vehicle parking restrictions.

Dan River

Originating high along the eastern slopes of the Blue Ridge Mountains and flowing down to Buggs Island Lake, the Dan River boasts a number of fishing spots for any kind of angler. The upper river is best for those who’d like to wade in the water, and the lower is best for those using small boats.

Whitetop Laurel

Reel in the Adventure: Discover Virginia's 6 Best-Kept-Secret Fishing Holes

Courtesy of Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources

Known as one of the state’s most unique trout streams, Whitetop Laurel in Washington County is stocked with a variety of trout all over a scenic mountain backdrop. Here, you can catch brook, brown, and rainbow trout. Though spring is the very best time to fish here, there’s always something to catch throughout the season at Whitetop Laurel.

Whitetop Laurel flows along Route 58 East, where it’s easily accessible. Sections of Whitetop Laurel that are not adjacent to 58 East are easily accessed from the Virginia Creeper Trail.

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