In the Town of Iron Gate, Virginia the Jackson River and the Cowpasture come together to form the James River. The James River holds smallmouth bass from this point all the way to Richmond, Virginia. The James is said to be the best place to fish for smallmouth bass in Virginia. The James River has produced numerous citation smallmouth bass over the past few years on topwater flies. Smallmouth bass aren’t the only game in town. This river holds a good number of musky. Although musky are not easy to catch, the right state of mind and a little luck will give an angler the chance to tangle with this beast.
The Jackson River is located near Covington, Virginia. This river is the premier tailwater trout fishery below Gathright Dam. From Gathright Dam downstream to Covington, there are 18 miles of prime trout habitat. Rainbows and brown trout are the main target species of this river. The average size fish on the Jackson is between 10 and 13 inches, typically rainbows, but there are much larger fish to be had. The browns can be well above 20 inches. A good hatch of insects or large streamers will get the brown trout’s attention. The Jackson is a large trout river by Virginia standards. Floating the Jackson from a drift boat will offer anglers the best opportunity to cover this unique river.
The Staunton River is an under rated river that doesn’t get much press. This river is one of the most diverse in Virginia. The Staunton features smallmouth, largemouth, walleye, white bass, and stripers, just to name a few. In the spring, stripers make an annual journey to Brookneal, Virginia to spawn. This event usually starts around the first of April and runs through mid to late May, depending on water temperatures. The spring is a great time to catch a mixture of species on the fly. You never know what you’ll catch on this great river.
The New River is an ancient river, the oldest in North America. The New is big water and one of the best smallmouth bass rivers in Virginia. Anglers have a good chance of catching a smallmouth in the 3 to 7 pound range. Smallmouth bass are not the only inhabitants of this river; rock bass, musky, and walleye are also residents here. Guide trips to the New start in mid June and run through mid September. When conditions are right this river offers a great chance at a citation bass.