Destinations - Virginia E-mail
Wednesday, 02 June 2010 08:11

Virginia, from the Mountains to the Bay: a Kayak Fishing Destination

Author with a nice red

 

Having grown up in the Commonwealth, and fished before I could even walk, I can personally testify to the wonderful angling opportunities which Virginia has to offer.  Visitors to the region have nearly every environment available to fish, from the ocean, to the bay, to tidal freshwater rivers, to mountain streams and inland lakes.  Located in the mid-Atlantic, Virginia is a mixing pot of both northern and southern species.  Those from the South can head north for Stripers and Bluefish, while those from the North can come down for redfish and speckled trout.  As for freshwater, anglers can chase largemouth and smallmouth bass, trophy crappie, massive catfish, and even trout and walleye!  The list of species in the state is truly astounding.

Dan Hart with striper When one identifies the regions within the Commonwealth of Virginia, it is best to recognize the distance from the coast, and the proximity to the source of salt content, the Atlantic Ocean.  Typically, the further west, the sweeter the water becomes.  Geographically, as we learned in grade school, heading east to west the regions are tidewater, piedmont, and mountain.  As for the lower bay region, one will begin to see more freshwater species west of Williamsburg, and saltwater species to the east.  As one heads north in the bay, again the salt content of the water decreases.  Depending upon rainfall and drought, you may be surprised what you might catch in a certain stretch of water though, as the salinity fluctuates.

The most common destination for anglers traveling to Virginia is the oceanfront area and Virginia Beach.  The popular spots locally are the well-known Rudee and Lynnhaven Inlets, and the famous striper fishery across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel at Kiptopeke.  The nearby Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel is also a tremendous nighttime fishery.  The abundant saltwater species in this area are easily accessible to anglers basing their stay at Scott Peters with summer flounder (fluke) one of the many local hotels or campgrounds.  While South Hampton Roads is better known for the saltwater opportunities, the Virginia Peninsula, Middle Peninsula, Northern Neck, and Eastern Shore also have outstanding fishing.  The proximity to the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay is key to the region’s productivity for species traveling up and down the coast.

Anglers traveling further up the James River towards Richmond have a great chance to land a mammoth catfish.  These fish are targeted on heavy tackle, between Williamsburg and Richmond.  Catching a fish near the 100 pound mark is a definite possibility.  This same area also offers great largemouth, perch, and crappie fishing along the Chickahominy River and creeks flowing into the James.  In the spring legendary shad runs entice throngs of anglers in downtown Richmond.  Similar shad runs also occur on other Chesapeake Bay tributaries.

Author with largemouth Further up the Bay are a number of other tidal rivers, such as the York, Rappahannock, and Potomac.  The species of these rivers transition as anglers travel upriver towards less salty conditions.  Some of these waters go as far as the Fall Line, where migratory species are slowed down by rapids, and stack up creating great fishing locations.  Throughout the state are also numerous lakes, offering great fishing for numerous freshwater fish.  Further west, anglers can find cooler environments for other species, such as smallmouth bass, walleye, and trout.  While some of these locations may be a little trickier for a kayak, including mild whitewater conditions, many are still definitely within the reach of a kayak angler.

Whether visiting the Commonwealth of Virginia for business or pleasure, the kayak fishing prospects are tremendous.  No matter where in the state you are – Hampton Roads, Richmond, Northern Virginia, or Roanoke – there are always kayak fishing opportunities.

Regional Online Resources:

Pirates of Lynnhaven: http://www.piratesoflynnhaven.org/

Tidewater Kayak Anglers Association: http://tkaa.org/

Williamsburg Kayak Fishing Association: http://wkfa.org/

John “Toast” Oast is the publisher of Susquehanna Fishing Magazine and a member of the Johnson Outdoors Pro Staff and Ocean Kayak Fishing Team.  His kayak rigging videos have received thousands of views, and been linked to websites around the world.  For more information, visit http://fishyaker.com/ and his Youtube page at http://www.youtube.com/fishyaker.

 

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