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Year-round Fishing in Franklin County, Va.

Every season is fishing season in Franklin County! Whether it’s to catch fish or watch one of the many exciting fishing tournaments, this “Fish Virginia First” destination is perfect to visit any time of year.

Jean Skipper

Smith Mountain Lake 

Named the Second Best Fishery to Catch Trophy Largemouth Bass by the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources, Smith Mountain Lake is a must-visit for bass fishing enthusiasts. This 20,000-acre reservoir is one of the largest lakes in the Commonwealth, offering plenty of activities like swimming, sailing, and waterskiing. Largemouth bass is not all you will find in these waters. The deep water habitat of the lake makes it ideal for other species like smallmouth bass, crappie, catfish, and striped bass reaching trophy sizes! 

As a host of several professional fishing tournaments, Smith Mountain Lake is proven to not only be a summer family vacation hotspot, but also a year round fishing and travel destination. Bass Pro Shop’s Big Bass Tour is held at Crazy Horse Marina from May 5 to May 7, and again in the Fall from September 29 to October 1. Come and compete for the grand prize of $52,000, or watch anglers battle it out. The Striper Mafia Tournament Series is another popular event that occurs in both the Spring and the Winter. Head down on March 18, April 15, November 4, or December 2 to compete or watch anglers catch, photograph, and release some impressively sized stripers. No matter the season, the fish are always biting!

Matt Ross

Franklin County’s Philpott Lake 

Hop in a kayak and reel one in on Philpott Lake, a 2,880-acre impoundment that offers excellent bass fishing, and is a premier destination for walleye. Although shared by three counties, there are tons of activities to enjoy within the boundaries of Franklin. Salthouse Branch Park offers various options for camping, swimming and fishing. Launch from the park to explore Deer Island, only accessible by boat. Other areas to check out are Horseshoe Point, Twin Ridge, Ryan’s Branch and Jamison Mill Parks. 

Apres Fish

Get some gear at Captain’s Quarters at Halesford Bridge, SML Tackleshack at Westlake Corners, or Rock Outdoors, coming in 2023! Dubbed as the “Moonshine Capital of the World”, head to Roosters Rise and Shine Distillery for a taste of the Blue Ridge. Afterward, hit the hay at Bernard’s Landing, featuring the best views of Smith Mountain Lake.

Fish Tips!

Short Term Rentals are plentiful around Smith Mountain Lake but be sure to book early, as availability goes fast!

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