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Explore the Wild with Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources

Discover over 1,000 wild places to explore to your heart’s content! Explore the Wild is your online tool to find the best public lands in Virginia to fish, hunt, boat, paddle, view wildlife, hike and go primitive camping.

Plan your next fishing adventure with the Explore the Wild app, which lets you search waterbodies by species and proximity. Virginia’s state freshwater fish, the brook trout, inhabits high-elevation mountain streams, requiring pristine water quality and habitat. Their beauty, coupled with the scenic rivers they inhabit, makes them a top target in the state. They can be found in Shenandoah National Park’s streams, especially in spring. 

Bass enthusiasts can explore warm water lakes, rivers, and streams teeming with healthy largemouth and smallmouth bass populations. Smith Mountain Lake is ideal for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and inland striped bass. Don’t miss the chance to float down the Shenandoah, James, or New Rivers for smallmouth bass as well. Those seeking big catfish should focus on Virginia’s tidal tributaries to the Chesapeake Bay, where blue catfish, some exceeding 100 pounds, offer a unique trophy fishery. Smaller “eater-sized” blue catfish are also excellent table fare worth sampling. 

There aren’t many places in the country where you can fish for native brook trout and in a matter of three hours be fishing the Chesapeake Bay for cobia and redfish.  Given the unique array of opportunities, planning your trip in advance ensures you’ll experience the best Virginia has to offer. Explore the Wild is the perfect planning tool for the job! 

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Use the link here to plan your VA fishing adventure!

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