Virginia Winter Fishing

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While you may think of fishing as a summer activity for hot afternoons with a cold drink, some of the best fishing in Virginia is actually in the winter! Regardless of where you live in Virginia, there’s a prize fish to be found on the end of your line in the coming months. 

Winter Fishing in the Richmond Area

If you live in or around Richmond, the best spot to go for winter finishing is the tidal portion of the James River. Just south of Richmond, this section of the James offers excellent fishing this time of year. These are some of the fish you can expect to find:

  • Striped Bass – Striped Bass can be found around the spray pond and the Dutch Gap area. For bait, try shad, herring, or eels. The Dominion Virginia Power Plant warms the water slightly in these areas, so these spots are popular with fish in the wintertime. 
  • Largemouth Bass – The best place to find these bass is in slow sections of the river. Like the striped bass, popular largemouth bass spots include the spray pond and the Dutch Gap. 
  • Blue Catfish – This is a favorite of Virginia fisherman in the winter – and for good reason! Cold months are the best time to catch huge catfish. Catfish and striped bass can be found in the same areas. Look for a deep hole where you can drop weighted bait. 
  • Crappie – Crappie fish can oftentimes be found in slower-moving sections of the river, like the largemouth bass.

Winter Fishing from Charlottesville or Fredericksburg

If you’re looking for a great winter fishing spot near Charlottesville or Fredericksburg, Lake Anna is a great spot within a reasonable distance of both cities. You’ll catch plenty of fish on the main lake or on the “warm side” of the lake, but you’ll likely find different kinds.

  • Striped Bass – Winter is a great time to find striped bass in the main lake. 
  • Largemouth Bass – If you have access to the private side of the lake this winter, you can expect to find plenty of largemouth bass. These fish can still be found in the main lake, but it might take some looking. Look for areas where the lake quickly drops off.

Winter Fishing in Southern Virginia

If you’re in southern Virginia in the Danville area, Buggs Island is the best wintertime fishing spot. Here are some of the fish you’ll find.

  • Striped Bass – The best area of Buggs Island for Striped Bass in the winter is the part of the lake near Clarksville. A good sign that striped bass are nearby is birds feeding on the surface of the water, particularly when there are many birds. Approach slowly and quietly and you’ll likely be rewarded. 
  • Blue Catfish – Catfish tend to stay in deeper parts of the water, so look for channel drops near the middle of the lake. If you want to stay in the creeks, check for channel drops in the larger creeks like Grassy and Rudds. 


  • Brian

    Thank you so much for posting this. I think this really puts things into a different light. I mean, I have read about this stuff before but the way you write just makes it clearer, if that makes sense

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