James River Fishing

Along the James River in Botetourt County, you will find some of the finest fishing opportunities in the entire state of Virginia.

The Jackson and Cowpasture Rivers come together in the northern section of Botetourt County to create the James River, which then makes its way across the state to the Chesapeake Bay.

Botetourt County is home to 45 miles of the winding river, and it combines fantastic fishing with the breathtaking scenery of the surrounding Alleghany and Blue Ridge Mountains.

This section of the river is also part of the Upper James River Water Trail, which is known as a fantastic destination for kayaking, canoeing, tubing, fishing and more.

The James River offers a wide range of fishing opportunities and environments. While the Smallmouth bass is the dominant game species in the river, spotted and largemouth bass can also be caught.

Other species are also plentiful in the James River, including channel catfish, flat head catfish, and various sunfish species (redbreast, bluegill, and rock bass). Muskies are also annually stocked in the Upper James but are rare and can get quite large.

Overall, the James River offers an excellent fishing opportunity for whatever you might want to catch.

Canoeing is the best way to access the river, though small boats can also be used at most access points. Bank and wade fishing access is also available along the river.

For a guided fishing trip along the James River, consider booking an excursion with the professionals at Twin River Outfitters, which has a shop conveniently located along the river in the Town of Buchanan.

The following access points for the James River are located in Botetourt County:

Access Points

  • Arcadia - Directions: From Buchanan, N. Rt. 11, E. Rt. 614, 1 1/2 mi.

  • Buchanan - Directions: Town of Buchanan 

  • Craig Creek - Directions: Under Rt. 220 Bridge at Rt. 683 

  • Horseshoe Bend - Directions: From Buchanan. West on Rt. 43 

  • Irongate - Directions: From Irongate, Rt. 220 

  • Springwood - Directions: From Buchanan, Rt 43 North (3.5); L on Rt 630 to (1); to Rt 601

Fishing License

Please remember to purchase a fishing license if you plan to do any fishing on the James River. All fishermen 16 and older will need to purchase a fresh water fishing license from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.

More information about purchasing a fishing license online can be found at the following website.

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