Waynesboro VA: A Fishing Destination for the Whole Family

Waynesboro has been called “trout central in the Old Dominion” and aptly so. With the South River flowing through downtown and quality trout fishing available year-round, Waynesboro has become a destination for anglers around the world.

This centrally-located, urban fishery also has an allure for families planning their vacation.  “There’s something here for everyone,” say South River Fly Shop co-owners Tommy Lawhorne and Kevin Little. “Within 30 minutes whatever lodging you want is here,” says Kevin. “From backcountry camping in the National Forest all the way to RV to cabins to B&Bs to hotels. Same thing with food, same thing with culture, mountain biking, paddling, and hiking. And in the middle of that, we have a trout stream that is large enough to be a destination that can support numerous people a day and is year-round viable.”

The best time to be here for trout fishing is October through June, says South River Fly Shop.  Trout is a coldwater fish, and one of the unique attributes of the South River is all the springs putting cold water into it. And because the stream’s temperature is naturally buffered, whether it’s a high of 25 degrees and snowing or warm and sunny, you can catch trout.

South River Fly Shop co-owners Kevin Little and Tommy Lawhorne. Photo credit KLC
South River Fly Shop co-owners Kevin Little and Tommy Lawhorne. Photo credit KLC

Visiting fly fishers will often head to South River Fly Shop in downtown Waynesboro before they head out to the water.  This can be your one-stop shop for stocking up on gear, fishing licenses and permits, and information on current regulations.  Advanced fly fishers often take advantage of South River Fly Shop’s full service guiding and instruction.  If you have a narrow window of time and don’t have the days to learn the water and fish, you can jump-start you local knowledge with a half day or full day guided trip. If you are a family with teens and are new to fly fishing, a guided trip can give you a chance to try out a new sport, learn how and where to wade and cast, and spend a fun day creating memories together.

So head to Waynesboro, VA and enjoy both the joy and the challenge of fly fishing on the South River!

Downtown Waynesboro 

Fly fishing festival, in Waynesboro, Va. Saturday Apri. 23, 2015. (Photo by Norm Shafer).
Fly fishing festival, in Waynesboro, Va.  (Photo by Norm Shafer).

This two mile stretch of the South River from Wayne Avenue to 2nd Street Bridge, offers anglers the challenge of a technical fishery. Private donations and grants are providing additional stock to this section of the river. With a new designation change going into effect, this downtown area will now become Catch & Release year round.

Regulations: Catch & Release, Artificial Lure Only
Licenses required: Freshwater fishing license (year round) and trout license (October 1 – June 15)

Licenses are available at South River Fly Shop or through VA Department of Game & Inland Fisheries.

Riverfest, Saturday Apri. 30, 2015. (Photo by Norm Shafer).
Riverfest (Photo by Norm Shafer)

Ridgeview Park

Ridgeview Park fishing pier. Photo credit Waynesboro Parks & Recreation
Ridgeview Park fishing pier. Photo credit Waynesboro Parks & Recreation

If you prefer bait fishing or want to keep your catch, you have that option upstream, from Wayne Avenue all the way up past Ridgeview Park. This Put & Take water is stocked eight times a year by VA Department of Game & Inland Fisheries. At Ridgeview Park there is a handicap-accessible fishing pier.

Licenses required: Freshwater fishing license (year round) and trout license (October 1 – June 15)

Licenses are available at South River Fly Shop or through VA Department of Game & Inland Fisheries.

Upper South River Special Regulations Area 

Photo credit www.ShenandoahValleyTU.com
Photo credit www.ShenandoahValleyTU.com

At the Waynesboro city limits at Lyndhurst is the Upper South River Special Regulations Area.  This 4.5 mile area is a cooperative effort between 48 landowners, the Shenandoah Valley chapter of Trout Unlimited, and VA Department of Game & Inland Fisheries. This stretch of river is stocked by the state as well as privately and has five parking areas and several angler access trails.

No trout license is required in this Special Regulations Area.  South River Fly Shop recommends this area for non-resident visitors who want to fish for just one or two days.

Regulations: Artificial Lure Only
As of 1/1/17, this area will become Fly Fishing Only with a limit of 1 trout over 20 inches.
Licenses required: Freshwater fishing license (year round) and landowner permission permit (free)

License and permit are available at South River Fly Shop or through VA Department of Game & Inland Fisheries.

Sherando Lake

Photo credit CabinCreekwood
Photo credit Cabin Creekwood

For families with kids under 12, South River Fly Shop recommends sticking to rods and heading over to Sherando Lake. Anglers of all ages will love the two family fishing piers, the lakeside trails, and the well stocked waters.  Here you can try your hand at catching the largemouth bass, bluegill, redear sunfish, channel catfish, and trout that populate the two lakes.

Licenses required: Freshwater fishing license (year round), trout license (October 1 – June 15), and National Forest Stamp

Licenses and stamp are available at South River Fly Shop or through VA Department of Game & Inland Fisheries.

Upcoming Events

Fly fishing festival, in Waynesboro, Va. Saturday Apri. 23, 2015. (Photo by Norm Shafer).
Photo by Norm Shafer

For upcoming specialty classes and fly tying open houses, visit South River Fly Shop’s Facebook page or blog.

fly-fishing-expo

Be sure to add April 22 & 23, 2017 to your calendar!  You won’t want to miss this year’s South River Fly Fishing Expo.  This 2-day event in Downtown Waynesboro celebrates fly fishing on the South River and throughout Virginia. Proceeds benefit the community and habitat restoration on the South River.