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Top Virginia Rainbow Trout (Steelhead) Fishing Destinations


Top Rainbow Trout (Steelhead) Fishing Charters in Virginia

Rainbow Trout (Steelhead)

  • Size 1 to 20lbs
  • Food Value Excellent
  • Game Qualities Good
  • Habitats River, Lake, Inshore

Rainbow Trout (Steelhead) Fishing in Virginia

Virginia boasts 2,300 miles of wild Trout streams. Rainbow Trout are prolific in these waters, some of them growing as large as 20 inches. They’re often joined by Brown and Brook Trout, a trio that will give even the most experienced anglers a run for their money. With no shortage of fishing grounds, odds are you won’t have to travel far to experience the Trout fishing VA is famous for. Grab your gear and come see why these fish are practically synonymous with fly fishing around here!

VA’s Top Trout Fishing Streams

Whitetop Laurel Creek

This creek in the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area makes its way onto many local Trout fishing lists, and with good reason. Here you can hook into some of the biggest native Rainbow and Brown Trout, including Rainbows up to 14” long and trophy sized Browns. Trout fishing in Whitetop Laurel picks up momentum in late February or March. Using weighted nymphs at this time of year will produce the best action. These Trout aren’t so easily fooled by fly anglers anymore, so be sure to use a delicate presentation.

Big Wilson Creek

Located just east of Mill Creek, the Big Wilson hosts an abundance of Brook and Rainbow Trout, especially in deep pools below large boulders. From March through November, you can enjoy excellent dry-fly fishing here. If the water here is too high in earlier months, try heading northeast to Little Wilson Creek instead.

Jackson River

You’ll find many places to access the Jackson River, and plenty of tips from locals about the best spots for Trout fishing. These waters hold large Rainbows which can grow up to 20” and there’s ample casting room—so feel free to make the most of it! Many anglers wade into the river, but be sure to come well equipped with chest waders. A nine foot 5 or 6-weight rod will stand you in good stead. Traditional Tout patterns like blue wing olives, terrestrials, and elk hair caddis work well here.

One note before you go: anglers need written permission from the local Army Corps of Engineers’ office (free) if they plan on fishing directly below Gathright Dam.

Need to Know

Trout fishing in Virginia is open year-round, but keep an eye out for special regulations wherever you decide to fish. Depending on the size of the fish and where you’re fishing, you may not always be able to keep your catch.

Residents age 16 and older must have a valid VA state or county freshwater fishing license. A freshwater fishing license is required for non-residents 12 years and older.

If you are fishing in designated stocked Trout waters, you will also need a Trout license. Anglers fishing in the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests must have a National Forest Stamp, as well.

You can learn more about the latest VA Trout fishing regulations online.

Rainbow Trout (Steelhead)

  • Size 1 to 20lbs
  • Food Value Excellent
  • Game Qualities Good
  • Habitats River, Lake, Inshore

Virginia Rainbow Trout (Steelhead) Fishing Seasons

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Seasonality

Rainbow Trout (Steelhead) fishing in Virginia varies moderately throughout the year. High season is March to October. Low season is January and December. There is no closed season.

Fish Species Similar to Rainbow Trout (Steelhead) in Virginia

Brook Trout

Virginia
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