Grab your rod and get ready to reel in a big one in Campbell County, Virginia. Home of many varieties of large fish, cast one out and relax or compete in one of the spring fishing tournaments the County has to offer.
The Staunton River
Stretching 42 miles from the base of the Leesville Lake Dam to the Town of Brookneal, the upper Staunton River spans almost the entire southern border of the County, where the fish are plump and ready to bite! The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources credits the high ratio of riffles, runs, and pools in this area of the River for providing an excellent habitat for smallmouth bass, saugeye, and walleye. Fishing here in the springtime is ideal, as the striped bass make their way upstream to the Leesville Dam. The Dam tailrace offers some of the best walleye fishing in Virginia, and the commonly targeted smallmouth bass can get up to trophy sizes. Channel catfish also collect in greater abundances in the Staunton River than any other river in the state, and flathead catfish up to 60 inches have been sampled in these waters!
Cast Out and Cash Out
Reel in a big one and win a prize! On the weekend of April 21 to 23, both the Brookneal Dixie Youth Baseball’s 36th Annual Striped Bass Tournament and the Staunton River Masonic Lodge’s 12th Annual Catfish Tournament will take place. Fishermen ages 12 and up are eligible to enter one, or both, of these popular tournaments, and win up to $2,000 for the heaviest fish caught. The winning fish from previous tournaments are true head-turners with some weighing as much as 41.23 pounds! Entry fees are $40 for each tournament. Head to BrooknealFishingTournament.com to complete online registration for the catfish tournament. Registration for the striped bass tournament will be same-day and in-person.
When you’re ready to reel it in, riverfront primitive campsites provided by the Campbell County Parks and Recreation Department await you at Long Island Park. Larger groups may enjoy a stay at Hat Creek Camp’s Hammersley Center, a modern two-story conference center and lodge with accommodations for up to 45 guests, or a rustic Airbnb cabin.
Check out the local fishing guides for spin or fly fishing full-day or half-day trips. Canoe and kayak rentals are also seasonally available from Carter’s Store and Outpost in Lynch Station near Altavista!