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Fishing on the Upper James and in Botetourt County


Lovers of the great outdoors will fall in love with Botetourt County. Botetourt is home to the headwaters of the Upper James River, these headwaters provide some of the finest  freshwater fishing available in Virginia. Botetourt County also features several stocked trout streams in some of nature's finest settings. They are a short drive from downtown Roanoke and offer a unique and challenging experience for all levels of fishermen.


The James River offers a wide range of angling opportunities and settings. Smallmouth bass are the dominant game species, but spotted and large mouth bass can also be caught.  Other species are also plentiful in the James River, including channel catfish, flathead catfish, and various sunfish species (redbreast, bluegill, and rock bass). Fishing regulations on the Upper James.

Three-year classes of trout have been established in the Roaring Run stream and fish up to 16 inches in size are available for anglers. Rainbow trout predominate in North Creek, although brook trout are present as well. Adult trout will range from 7-12 inches. Adjacent to North Creek is Jennings Creek, a Heritage Trout Day stocked stream. At several locations along Jennings Creek, people can drive right up to the side of the stream, find trout water, and hopefully even catch a fish. 

Trout fishing guide link.

Purchase a fishing license online here


Confluence Outfitters is a fishing guide service that boasts over 15 years of experience fishing the James and Maury Rivers. They offer full and half day float fishing trips for smallmouth bass and Muskie.  Prepare to relax and be guided down the river on a top of the line white water raft outfitted with custom fishing frame and seats.


James River Outdoor Co. (JROC) operates on the scenic James River between Lexington and Roanoke. They offer professionally guided float trips on nearly 60 miles of the Upper James in Botetourt and Rockbridge counties for both smallmouth and musky (half & full day excursions available). Equipped with comfortable self-bailing rafts, they welcome spin and fly anglers and fish from March-November for smallmouth and year-round for musky. In addition, they offer private, waterfront cabin rentals.


Twin River Outfitters is a full service canoe livery that has been safely running river trips since 1978. They rent canoes, kayaks, inner tubes, and run a shuttle service on the Upper James River. They are located in Buchanan with direct river access to the Upper James Water Trail and have trips for everyone, from novice to whitewater expert, from fisherman to photographers, and from day trips to multi-day canoe camping trips. For ages 6 & up.
Twin River Outfitters is now partnering with Appalachian Bronzeback Adventures to offer guided small mouth bass fishing trips on the James and Maury Rivers.




Additional Resources


Fish Virginia First - The Mid-Atlantic's premier fishing trail.  Some of the best fishing destinations in the country await you in Virginia.

Department of Game and Inland Fisheries - VDGIF is responsible for the management of inland fisheries, wildlife, and recreational boating for the Commonwealth of Virginia.


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