Gone Fishing in Waynesboro

March 21, 2022
Stories , Outdoors

Outside and on the water is the place to be this time of year. Clear your mind and enjoy some fresh air as you discover some of Waynesboro's best fishing holes.

A River Runs Through It

Known for having some of Virginia’s best trout fishing, the South River benefits from cold-water mountain tributaries as it flows into downtown Waynesboro. In these waters you can expect to see (and hopefully catch) brown and rainbow trout, as well as warm weather species like smallmouth bass.

In Waynesboro there are several access points for fishing the South River, one of two urban trout fisheries in Virginia and a northward-flowing river.

Where to Fish

Three miles of the South River near Lyndhurst is fly-fishing and permit-only trout waters. It’s stocked annually with rainbow and brown trout, and any trout smaller than 20 inches must be released. Only one trout 20 inches or larger may be harvested per day from this stretch of river.

Ridgeview Park is an excellent place for children to fish as well as those who are unable to easily navigate the riverbanks or wade into the water. The accessible fishing pier includes benches and pole brackets to lend a hand. This section of the river is put-and-take stocked trout waters.

From Constitution Park you can pick up the South River Greenway Trail to find your perfect spot. The trail is currently 1.2 miles long and is expected to be extended another mile to North Park. The fly-fishing in the two-mile area between Wayne Avenue bridge and Second Street bridge is catch-and-release stocked trout waters. Only single hook artificial lure may be used.

Between April 1 and June 15 a quarter-mile stretch of South River within Basic Park is available for youth fishing only (15 and younger). Trout are stocked here as well, and a creel limit of three trout per day applies.

Sherando Lake Recreation Area includes two lakes – upper and lower- within George Washington National Forest. Both are stocked with rainbow and brook trout. Fish both here and South River to get a sense for how the fish behave differently in a lake versus quick currents.

Fish Initiatives

Shenandoah Valley Trout Unlimited (SVTU) works with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries to create stream improvement structures. Such underwater structures offer fish a place of rest from a fast current, as well as areas to hide, spawn, and feed. In November 2019 SVTU nested 10,000 brown trout eggs into Whitlock-Vibert boxes, which were caged and lowered into South River. By January 2020 SVTU estimated 50% of the eggs hatched, which is considered a success.

Need a Guide?

When in doubt, or when you want to learn something new, contact a guide. South River Fly Shop is not only an outfitter, but they also offer guide service for fishing our local streams. Learn to fly fish with a master. Choose South River or Shenandoah National Park for half-day or full day experiences in and near Waynesboro.

Fishing Requirements

In addition to a Virginia Freshwater Fishing License, a special Trout License is required October 1 through June 15. No more than six trout may be harvested per day, and each must meet a seven-inch length minimum. Visit www.gooutdoorsvirginia.com for more information on obtaining the proper licensing online.

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