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The Fishing’s on in Charlottesville and Albemarle County, Va.

fly fisherman

The waters of the Blue Ridge are calling for a fishing getaway like no other. Visit Charlottesville and Albemarle County in Central Virginia for mountain streams and calm lakes surrounded by stunning scenery. We’ve rounded up some of the best places to cast a line so all you have to do is show up and reel in the big one.

fly fishing

Rivers and Creeks 

Whether you prefer to float or wade, these local waterways provide ample opportunities for anglers of all abilities. The iconic Rivanna River winds its way through the area, passing along the city’s eastern border just minutes from Downtown Charlottesville. Multiple public boat ramps and access points make it easy to spend an hour or a full day on the river as you seek out smallmouth bass, redbreast sunfish, and channel catfish. Virginia’s largest river, the James River, is another popular destination for fishing and boating. Anglers can catch smallmouth bass, catfish, and a wide variety of panfish on this historic waterway. Plus, the charming river town of Scottsville offers a variety of shops to browse and restaurants to try when you get off the water.

Head into the mountains and explore the excellent native brook trout fishing along the North Fork of the Moormans River. Formed on the eastern slope of Shenandoah National Park, fish from the banks surrounded by a forest teeming with life. A special trout license is required for the lower section’s put-and-take trout fishery. Further south, anglers can find smallmouth and largemouth bass, sunfish, and channel catfish along the Hardware River. This is also an excellent destination to spot the water birds that flock to the area.

Sugar Hollow Reservoir

Lakes and Reservoirs

Find a place to relax on or by the water at one of the area’s beautiful parks. Set against the backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains, you’ll never want to leave. From Beaver Creek, Walnut Creek, and Mint Springs Valley parks to Chris Greene Lake, Van Clief Nature Area, and Lake Albemarle, the well-stocked lakes of Albemarle County are calling your name. When you’ve caught your fill, find a spot to picnic by the water or walk the trails over the rolling hills. Additionally, some locations provide opportunities for swimming during the summer season. 

Ragged Mountain Reservoir

If you still haven’t gotten your fill, the area’s four reservoirs—Ragged Mountain, South Fork Rivanna River, Totier Creek, and Sugar Hollow—offer plenty of ways to get outside close to town. Each reservoir is stocked with a different variety of species, including largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie, sunfish, and trout, for a fun-filled day.

Hit the Town

Several local outfitters can provide all your gear needs while you’re in the area. Orvis, located in the Shops at Stonefield, and Great Outdoor Provision Company both sell fishing gear and apparel for long days on the water. Coming soon to 5th Street Station, you’ll be able to visit Public Lands for more products. You can even book a guided trip with the fine folks at Albemarle Angler for help finding trout and smallmouth bass in these local waters. Explore the James and Rivanna rivers or Shenandoah National Park with an experienced guide, plus sign up for classes and clinics in fly fishing to advance your skills.

Charlottesville and Albemarle County are great places for a fishing getaway, and they offer visitors a wide variety of places to stay, including resorts, hotels, inns, bed and breakfasts, cabins, and vacation rentals. Stay in the heart of the city or escape to a relaxing retreat. Plus, with a schedule full of upcoming events, a thriving music scene, and countless restaurants to taste something new, it’s always a good time to visit. Start planning your trip today at!

All photos courtesy of Visit Charlottesville

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