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Trout Fishing In Virginia

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Guide to fishing for rainbow, cutthroat, brook, brown, golden and lake trout in area lakes and streams.

By AA-Fishing Staff Writers

Trout fishing in Virginia

Virginia offers fantastic trout fishing opportunities, with a variety of trout species and scenic locations to explore. Anglers can target three primary trout species in the state: rainbow trout, brown trout, and brook trout. The purpose of this page is to share basic information about trout fishing and identify trout fishing waters in the state.

Rainbow trout are stocked in many of Virginia's lakes, rivers, and streams, providing exciting angling opportunities. These vibrant and acrobatic fish can be found in popular trout fishing destinations such as the Jackson River, South River, and the numerous stocked trout waters throughout the state. Anglers can employ various techniques, including fly fishing, spinning, or bait fishing, to entice rainbow trout to bite.

Brown trout are known for their elusive nature and challenging behavior, making them a prized catch for many anglers. Virginia's mountain streams, particularly those flowing through the Blue Ridge Mountains, provide excellent habitat for brown trout. The James River, Mossy Creek, and the South Fork of the Holston River are among the renowned locations for pursuing brown trout. Anglers often employ fly fishing techniques, presenting realistic nymphs or streamers to tempt these wary fish.

Brook trout, Virginia's only native trout species, can be found in cold, clean mountain streams and high-elevation waters. The Shenandoah National Park and the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests are prime locations for pursuing brook trout. These beautiful and colorful fish require pristine habitats and are known for their willingness to rise to dry flies, making fly fishing a popular method for targeting them.

Virginia has a rich history of producing impressive state records for trout. Anglers have landed trophy-sized trout, with rainbow trout, brown trout, and brook trout exceeding 10 pounds in weight. These state records serve as a testament to the exceptional fishing opportunities available in Virginia's lakes and rivers.

Whether fishing in lakes, rivers, or streams, anglers should familiarize themselves with the specific regulations and restrictions for trout fishing in different waters. Some areas require special permits or have specific catch-and-release regulations to ensure the conservation and sustainability of the trout populations.

Virginia's lakes, rivers, and mountain streams offer a picturesque backdrop for trout fishing enthusiasts. With the opportunity to target rainbow trout, brown trout, and native brook trout, anglers can immerse themselves in the beauty of the state's natural landscapes while enjoying the excitement of pursuing these prized gamefish.

Trout Waters

As far as major lakes in Virginia with trout goes, Lake Moomaw and South Holston Lake are the only ones with a significant trout population. Rivers and streams are your best bet in the state of Virginia.

Fishing Boats For Rent In Virginia

Trout Species In The State

Rainbow Trout

Rainbow trout

World record: 42 lbs 2 oz

State Record: 14 lbs 7 oz

Brook Trout

Brook trout

World record: 14 lbs 8 oz

State Record: 5 lbs 15 oz

Brown Trout

Brown trout

World record: 40 lbs 4 oz

State Record: 18 lbs 11 oz

Lake Trout

Lake trout

World record: 72 lbs 0 oz

State Record: 5 lbs 6 oz

Click the images and links above for species details.

Select the best trout lures and baits

Trout spinners, crankbaits and jerkbaits work well for shallow, reasonably active fish. Salmon eggs, worms and prepared baits will work at virtually all depths.

Virginia State Record Trout

The state record rainbow trout was caught from Greers Pond.

The state record brook trout was taken out of Cub Run.

The state record brown trout came from Smith River.

The state record lake trout was caught in Philpott Reservoir.

Brown Trout
Brown trout being released.

The 5 primary trouts are the rainbow, brook, brown, cutthroat and lake trout. Browns are considered the most difficult to catch and brookies are the easiest. Pure cold water is key to survival of the trouts.

Visit the The Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries website for information on trout stocking in Virginia.

Watch trout fishing videos to see trout anglers in action.

Additional trout information

Trout Conservation
Trout Unlimited


Trout locations and info, by state.

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