From the confluence of the Jackson and Cowpasture Rivers in Botetourt County, 45 miles of the James River runs through the county, with 14 miles designated as a Virginia Scenic River. Small mouth bass are the dominant game species, but spotted and large mouth bass can also be caught. Other species include channel and flathead catfish and various sunfish species (redbreast, bluegill, and rock bass).
The Upper James River Water Trail offers an excellent fishing opportunity. Canoeing and kayaking is the best way to access the river, but small boats (such as john boats) can also be used at most access points. Bank and wade fishing access is also available throughout the river.
Jennings Creek is a Heritage Trout Day stocked stream. At several locations along the creek, people can drive right up to the side of the stream. Very easy to reach, the Arcadia Exit off Interstate 81 is the best stopping off point, and sportsmen can then take Route 614 to the stream itself. As an added angling incentive, Jennings flows into the nearby James River.
The upper section of North Creek was designated a catch-and-release trout stream in 1999. Rainbow trout predominate, although brook trout are present as well. The stream is located east of Buchanan, a short distance from I-81. The Jefferson National Forest maintains a campground adjacent to the stream and vehicular access is available along most of its length.
The Roaring Run trophy trout section was established in 1999. The one mile section is located in the Jefferson National Forest between the third foot bridge upstream of the Roaring Run Furnace Day Use Area and the Botetourt County line. The lower section of Roaring Run (within the National Forest) remains put-and-take water. The trophy
section runs through a very steep gorge that has an abundance of deep pools, which are supplied with cold water from a large limestone spring. The trophy section continues to be developed using annual brown and rainbow fingerling stockings. The stream can be accessed by taking Route 615 off US Route 220 west of Eagle Rock to Route 621.
Stocked trout streams are marked with appropriate signs, which identify the portion of stream stocked. Marked sections are open to public fishing, in accordance with agreements between the Department and private landowners. This is the only case where anglers are not required to have landowner permission before fishing on private water.
Residents: All residents 16 years of age and older are required to possess a state freshwater fishing license to fish for trout. Persons who fish in designated stocked waters must have an additional trout license. A National Forest Stamp is necessary when fishing in most waters within the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests.
Non-Residents: Out-of-state anglers who fish designated stocked waters need to purchase: a non-resident state freshwater fishing license (five-day, non-resident licenses are available), a non-resident trout license, and a National Forest Stamp (where appropriate). For fishing in wild trout or most special regulation waters, the non-resident needs only: a non-resident state freshwater fishing license, the appropriate National Forest Stamp and landowner permit cards.
Learn about other places to cast:
- Alleghany County
- Bath County
- Bedford County
- Botetourt County
- Buchanan County
- Campbell County
- Craig County
- Dickenson County
- Franklin County
- Halifax County
- Highland County
- Lexington - Rockbridge County
- Martinsville - Henry County
- Mecklenburg County
- Montgomery County
- Nelson County
- Patrick County
- Pulaski County
- Shenandoah County
- Smyth County
- Washington County
- Wise County
- Wythe County