For the angler, the return of spring can only mean one thing—well-stocked waters and biting fish. The cool mountain waters of Rockbridge County, Va., call out to anglers of all abilities to sample the catch.
Flies and Ties
Float past the unspoiled beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains along the Upper James River Water Trail. This mighty and storied river produces excellent smallmouth bass, as well as opportunities to catch various catfish and sunfish species. With sections designated as a Virginia Scenic River, experience miles of some of the best freshwater fishing around.
The Maury River is another popular spot as it winds its way from Goshen Pass to the confluence of the James River. For those who want to fish from the shores or wade into its depths, Glen Maury Park offers the perfect access point for reeling in largemouth and trophy size smallmouth bass. Plus, with several camping and picnic spots, it’s a great location to relax all day long and into the night. Fish the calm waters of Lake Robertson from the banks or take out one of the boat rentals. When you’re done catching bass, catfish, bluegill, and walleye, spend some time exploring the nearby trails and reserve the cabin for the night.
Stop into Journey Outdoors for all the gear you’ll need for a day casting lines out in the sun. If you need a kayak or canoe rental while in town, check out Wilderness Canoe Company on the James River. Reserve one of their campsites by the river, featuring great spots to fish from the banks or wade into the water.
Want to venture out with a long-time local who really knows these waters? Look no further than John Roberts Fly Fishing Adventures, complete with gear and expert guidance in real time. When you’re done for the day, head back to your room at Llewellyn Lodge for a comfy stay, a full breakfast, and easy access to amenities in the towns of Lexington and Buena Vista.
Ales and Trails
What better way to kick back and relax at the end of the day than by experiencing Rockbridge County’s thriving craft beverage scene for yourself. With a variety of beers, wines, and ciders—grown and brewed locally—there’s something for everyone to try.
The Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail features 19 breweries within an hour’s drive, including Devils Backbone Outpost Tap Room & Kitchen, Great Valley Farm Brewery & Winery, Heliotrope Brewery, and Rockbridge Vineyard & Brewery. Located close to scenic overlooks and trails, these stops make for the perfect post-adventure hangout spot. You can even book a “Beercation” package, combining brews and lodging for the ultimate getaway. Make sure to pick up your passport and visit eight of the breweries to earn a t-shirt.
For something with a little less hop and a little more fruit, the Shenandoah Valley Wine Trail pairs great views with even better drinks. From tastings at Jump Mountain Vineyard and Rockbridge Vineyard & Brewery to the latest offerings with lodging options at Ecco Adesso Vineyards, there’s always something new to try. Don’t forget to stop at Halcyon Days Cider Company, complete with crisp, refreshing ciders and an apple orchard labyrinth.
Between the inviting small towns and expansive backyard, discover for yourself why Lexington, Buena Vista, and Rockbridge County should be your next Virginia destination.
Cover photo by Sam Dean