Bedford County

Bedford County

Blue Ridge Parkway
Along much of its route, the Parkway hugs the crest of the world’s oldest mountains. The National Park Service protects over 100 miles of streams, many of them small, spring-fed watercourses that rise along the spine of the Blue Ridge. There are also 13 lakes (including Abbott Lake at the Peaks of Otter) enhancing the natural beauty of the scenic drive and abounding with native and stocked fish in a mountain environment.

Fishing at sunset in Bedford

Licenses & Regulations: Fishing is permitted in all Parkway waters with a valid state fishing license from Virginia or North Carolina. No special trout stamp is needed and persons under 16 can fish without a license. Fishing is not permitted from footbridges, dams or adjacent walls. Some waters may have individual regulations and those will be clearly marked. Fishing is allowed from one half hour before sunset to one half hour after sunset. Digging for bait on parkway land is not allowed. Many streams meander onto U.S. Forest Service or private land and regulations may vary as the jurisdiction changes.

Fish Species: Most of the lakes on the Parkway support warm water species such as bass, bream or bluegill. In Parkway streams, a variety of trout may be found.

Brown Trout have been stocked in the Eastern streams since the late 19th century.

Rainbow Trout have been stocked in Eastern streams as sport fish. These beautiful fish with the pink strip down the side are originally native to the Western United States.

Brook Trout are the only native trout in the southern Appalachians. This small fish with beautiful orange and red markings has survived many changes in its habitat during the centuries that humans have occupied the Blue Ridge. Catching a “Brookie” is an experience that most anglers carry with them for a lifetime.

Abbott LakeCatfish, smallmouth bass, golden shiners, sunfish and blue gill are yours for the catching at Abbott Lake located at the Peaks of Otter. A Virginia fishing license or short-term permit is required. Short-term Virginia fishing licenses can be purchased at the Peaks of Otter Lodge. Artificial lures are required in Abbott Lake.

Visit the Bedford Welcome Center for your complimentary copy of the Virginia Freshwater Fishing Regulations or contact the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries at 1132 Thomas Jefferson Road in Forest, 434-525-7522 or online at

Species present: Smallmouth Bass, Rock Bass, Redbreast Sunfish, Muskellunge, Bluegill, Largemouth Bass, Channel Catfish

Seasons: All Year

Access: There are numerous access points developed and managed by the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. Visit for more information. Both primitive and developed camping are available.

Visit the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests website at

Nick Overstreet fishing at Smith Mountain LakeForty miles long and 20,000 acres large, Smith Mountain Lake is tucked into the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and reigns as Virginia’s top freshwater striped bass fishery, holding the state record at 49.4 lbs!

Water sports have never known such a home. Nestled in the protective embrace of the mountains, this picturesque lake offers over 20,000 acres of playground for boaters, fishermen, swimmers, skiers, sailors, and water enthusiasts of all ages. The rolling shores are a haven for wildlife and are home to hiking, horseback riding trails, tennis and some of the most beautiful golf courses and resorts in the state.

Visit Smith Mountain Lake State Park, where a boat ramp and beach offer access to one of the Commonwealth’s most beautiful bodies of water. The boat ramp, fishing pier, hiking trails and restroom facilities are open year round. Campsites and cabins are available. The park is open for day use from 8:00 a.m. to dusk daily. Interior gates to the hiking trails and picnic area close at dusk daily. Pets are permitted, but must be kept in an enclosed area or on a leash. A fee is charged per pet/night for overnight guests. Smith Mountain Lake State Park, 1235 State Park Road, Huddleston, VA 24104, 540-297-6066. For reservations or more information on any of Virginia State Parks, call 1-800-933-PARK or visit

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