Bath County

Bath County

Nestled in Virginia’s Western Highlands, the County of Bath is home to the George Washington National Forest, Douthat State Park, Lake Moomaw, Dominion Back Creek, the Cowpasture and Jackson Rivers. The area offers stunning vistas, dark starlit skies, clear, cold streams and a wide range of recreational opportunities. Expect to see white tail deer, wild turkey, black bear and other game animals within our vast woodlands. Known for our fly fishing, the streams and most lakes are stocked with brown, brook and rainbow trout.  Anglers also catch large and small mouth bass, bluegill, crappies, catfish and more.

Bath County is home to a unique fly fishing festival that was voted one of the top Fly Fishing Events by the readers of Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine in only its second year. The We’re So Fly Fest will be held May 4-7, 2023. The Village of Warm Springs, Virginia, is the hub of activity, but events will take place all around the county. In addition to plenty of opportunities to fly fish, the multi-day festival includes art, cooking demonstrations, wine pairing, a silent auction and much more. The full schedule and links to register for individual events can be found on the festival’s Event Page.

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Bath County is home to Douthat State Park, which opened in 1936. Virginia’s state parks have been voted the best in the nation and Douthat is one of Virginia’s largest. The park spreads over more than 4,500 acres, including the 50-acre Douthat Lake, which is stocked regularly with trout on a seasonal basis.

Another popular recreation spot is Lake Moomaw. In the 1920s, a man named Thomas Gathright purchased 11 farms in the rich Jackson River Valley – about 18,000 acres. Gathright operated this area as a hunting, fishing and wildlife preserve. Today this area is known as Bolar Mountain Recreational Area at Lake Moomaw and it is renowned for its excellent fishing, yielding citation size brown and rainbow trout.

Rainbow TroutA third recreational lake is in the hamlet of Mountain Grove, near the West Virginia border known as Dominion Back Creek Recreational Area. It was created during the construction of one of the world’s most powerful pumped storage generating systems. Fishing is permitted in the stream, upper pond and lower half of the lower pond. Blowing Springs Campground, through which Back Creek flows, is a stocked trout stream and offers very good trout fishing.

The Walton Tract is the only area on the Cowpasture River that is open to the public. Here is an opportunity to hook a musky, as well as perch and bass. The river flows through the Walton Tract where a canoe can be used to fish or just enjoy the scenery.

Fisherman with troutFishing is permitted on all National Forest properties, and on the Jackson River north of Lake Moomaw, the Hidden Valley and Poor Farm stretches of the river (a 3 mile stretch between Poor Farm and Muddy Run). Otherwise, fishing on the Cowpasture River and the Jackson River are by landowner permission only.

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