Fishing in Virginia State Parks

Explore the 38 Virginia State Parks for countless places to cast your line.

Head out on the waters of Claytor Lake, Lake Anna, and Smith Mountain Lake for a day of prime bass fishing and breathing in the fresh air. Extend your trip with a stay at one of the many campsites or rental cabins. There’s plenty to do once you get off the water, including miles of hiking trails to explore. 

Take the whole family out for a trip on one of the smaller lakes at state parks like Pocahontas, Douthat, or Hungry Mother. Get started fishing from the bank or rent a boat from the park. You will find everything from bluegill and crappie to catfish and chain pickerel. A special trout fishing area in Douthat is open only to anglers 12 and younger.

“I was out fishing with my brother and my friend. We were all out in separate kayaks and I had a strong bite earlier next to this downed tree along the shoreline, so I tied-off there and fished for a while… I knew it was a big one when it bit, but I could hardly believe it when I got him up to the surface. I was so excited… I’d like to go back again.”

Wyatt Gregory, 13, who pulled a 23″ Large Mouth Bass citation catch from Bear Creek Lake State ParK

Find a spot on the bank, wade to a hidden nook, or take a float trip down the river at several locations. Head to James River State Park and float eight miles of the river from Bent Creek searching for smallmouth bass, catfish, and pan fish. New River Trail State Park follows the water for 39 miles with several boat ramps along the way. You’ll find plenty of bass, muskellunge, and walleye along the way. Both of these parks offer kayak and canoe rentals for visitors.

Holiday Lake State Park

Experience the Potomac River in a variety of ways at one of the five state parks on the river. Access some of the best largemouth bass fishing from the motorboat ramp at Leesylvania State Park or the canoe/kayak launches at Mason Neck and Widewater state parks. If you prefer to cast your line from the shore, Caledon State Park allows fishing on the open sections of the shore. Use the boat ramp at Westmoreland State Park to access the saltwater fisheries for striped bass, flounder, and croaker. Check out the boathouse for bait, tackle, and boat rentals. 

Take a trip to Virginia’s coast for some fishing in the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean. Kiptopeke and First Landing state parks offer access to both bodies of water. Take a motorboat out on the open water or fish for striped bass, flounder, and spadefish from the shore. 

All state parks require a fishing license, except for the piers at Kiptopeke and York River. Find your Virginia State Park today. Check Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries for current fishing regulations.

 Photos courtesy of Virginia State Parks. 

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