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A Weekender’s Fly Fishing Guide

Heritage Hill B&B

1169 Sherwood Avenue, Waynesboro, VA 22980, USA

The Iris Inn Bed & Breakfast

191 Chinquapin Drive, Waynesboro, VA 22980, USA

South River Fly Shop

323 West Main Street, Waynesboro, VA 22980, USA

The River Burger Bar

137 N Wayne Ave, Waynesboro, VA 22980, USA

Heritage on Main

309 W Main St, Waynesboro, VA 22980, USA

Basic Beer Co

1010 East Main Street, Waynesboro, VA 22980, USA

Seven Arrows Brewing

2508 Jefferson Hwy, Waynesboro, VA 22980, USA

Stable Craft Brewing Company

375 Madrid Rd, Waynesboro, VA 22980, USA

Beaver Creek

6939 Briery Branch Road, Dayton, VA, USA

Micah's Coffee

1000 W Broad St, Waynesboro, VA 22980, USA

Farmhaus Coffee Co

908 W Main St, Waynesboro, VA 22980, USA

Mossy Creek Outfitters

1790 East Market Street, Harrisonburg, VA 22801, USA

Cuban Burger

70 W Water St, Harrisonburg, VA, USA

Bar-B-Q Ranch

3311 North Valley Pike, Harrisonburg, VA 22802, USA

Valley Pike BBQ Co.

3494 Lee Highway, Weyers Cave, VA 24486, USA

Now is the perfect time to fish the Shenandoah Valley’s clear cool streams known for native brook trout and wild and stocked rainbow and brown trout. The Shenandoah National Park wildlife management areas (WMA) and public rivers throughout the Shenandoah Mountains allow endless possibilities to fish the Shenandoah region. The Virginia’s Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) provides an excellent guide if you’re just getting started. You can check out a complete list of where to fish, how to fish, and fishing regulations in Virginia. 

 

Some of Virginia’s top fishing destinations can be found within Shenandoah Valley’s counties, towns, and cities. These include:

 

 

Spring is the beginning of trout season, so it’s a perfect time to start exploring this list. If you’re looking to get your feet wet for the weekend but still want to enjoy all the creature comforts, try Waynesboro, one of only two urban trout fisheries in the state. Just a 40 minute drive north from Waynesboro is the more rural Beaver Creek, which offers wild brook and rainbow trout in the 6-15″ range and is less frequented than nearby Mossy Creek. 

Day 1: Fish the South River & Experience Waynesboro

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South River, Courtesy City of Waynesboro

Only an-hour-and-half from Richmond and two hours from DC, Waynesboro offers some of the best fishing in the Valley. The South River winds its way through the city’s historic downtown, creating a truly unique experience. The fishing location brings anglers from around the country. Nearby accommodations include Heritage Hill Bed & Breakfast and The Iris Inn Bed & Breakfast, both minutes away from the South River which boasts trophy-sized rainbow and brown trout. 

 

Come to town Friday evening so you can get up early Saturday morning to kick off your adventure at South River Fly Shop. If you need to stock up on gear or are interested in heading out with an expert, you’ll want to plan in advance. Book the South River Package with one of the shop’s fly fishing guides in advance! This can be a half or full day experience allowing you to fully take advantage of your time in the South River. 

 

Following a day on the water, take time to explore the City of Waynesboro. Don’t miss the fishing-themed LOVEworks installation, located on the banks of the South River in Constitution Park in the heart of Waynesboro. 

 

Constitution Park, Courtesy City of Waynesboro

 

If you’re looking to refuel and unwind, check out restaurants like The River Burger Bar, a new, upscale burger spot, or Heritage on Main for a slightly more elevated option with an extensive menu.

 

 

Basic City Beer Co., Courtesy City of Waynesboro

 

Waynesboro also has multiple breweries including Basic City Beer Co., Seven Arrows Brewing, and Stable Craft Brewing.  These three destinations are also on the official Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail, a series of nearly twenty breweries within an hour of each other.

 

QUICK TIP:

Waynesboro is known as Shenandoah Valley’s street art destination. If you have extra time, explore more of this small town with an artist’s soul using tips from our More than Mountains, Explore Our Arts and Cultureguide.

Day 2: Beaver Creek – Rockingham County & Harrisonburg

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Beaver Creek, Kyle LaFerriere Photography

In the morning, head north to Rockingham County and spend your Sunday at Beaver Creek. For a pick-me-up on the way out of Waynesboro stop by Micah’s Coffee or Farmhaus Coffee Co

 

In a quick 40-minutes you’ll arrive in Rockingham County. Like Waynesboro, this acclaimed fishing region has a hometown expert: Mossy Creek Outfitters in Harrisonburg. They have a variety of guided trout trips that can be booked in advance, including Beaver Creek. The beauty of fishing Beaver Creek is its plentiful brook trout which are native to the Shenandoah Valley. Also known as the state fish of Virginia, the brook trout average 6 to 9 inches in length. Beaver Creek has a plentiful amount of large, stocked fish, so the chance of landing a big catch is high! 

 

QUICK TIP:

If you prefer the do-it-yourself option, rather than hiring Mossy Creek Outfitters, it’s important to note Beaver Creek only allows four people to fish per day. To do so you have to obtain a permit at the Ottobine Country Store.

 

 


Cuban Burger – Courtesy of Visit Harrisonburg

 

After a few hours of fishing, reward yourself with a hearty meal. Rockingham County and Harrisonburg are home to countless breweries, BBQ hot spots, and burger joints. One such tasty location is Cuban Burger in downtown Harrisonburg. Order the El Americano featured above, a creative take on a traditional burger which includes American cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickle,  ketchup, mayo, and matchstick potatoes. Their menu also includes more traditional Cuban fare, such as lechón asado and tostones. If you’re a barbeque fan, visit a local favorite, Bar-B-Q Ranch. If you’re wrapping up your weekend and heading back the way you came towards Waynesboro, don’t miss Valley Pike BBQ, classic food truck off Lee Highway about 20 minutes south of Beaver Creek. 

 

We hope you return home with a new found fondness for fishing, unforgettable memories with family and friends, and a taste of the Valley that has you planning your next trip. To explore even more, take a look at VisitWaynesboro.net, VisitRockingham.com, and VisitHarrisonburgVA.com. And . . . read on if you’d like to learn more about all things fly fishing. 

 

 

Now What? Know Before You Go: Gear & Lingo

 

Beaver Creek, Kyle LaFerriere Photography

 

If you are planning to try this guide alone and you’re just getting started on your fishing journey, read this Backcountry blog post first, 7 Essential Pieces of Fly Fishing Gear for Beginners. It’s a great starting point for gear you may want or need. If you’re purchasing gear before coming to the region or need a convenient option, check out Orvis shops online. If you live near the Richmond area, visit Greentop in Ashland, Virginia. Greentop has a large fly fishing selection. 

 

Also, fly fishing has its own lingo. Cruise YouTube if you are just getting started. You can find a great video here on how to begin your artistic fly cast.  

 

Wishing you a great catch!

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