Blackwater River - Fishing Opportunities

Springtime fishing can be very good for American shad and hickory shad. Anadromous fish tend to concentrate in areas where flow is constricted and moving water is present. Anglers should use shad darts, spoons and spinners to catch fish up to 3 lbs and occasionally up to 5 lbs. Late spring-early summer is the best time to catch big largemouth bass. Spawning bass can be found around cypress knees and around large woody debris. Bass jigs, crankbaits and artificial worms work best for spawning fish. The full moon in May and June is the best time to catch sunfish. The Blackwater River supports good populations of bluegill and redbreast sunfish. Sunfish readily take crickets and worms under a bobber if you enjoy live bait fishing.

If artificial is your lure of choice, try a beetle spin or small crankbait. When temperatures warm up and water levels drop in the summer months, fishing can be tough, but bowfin and gar can provide a unique angling opportunity. Try bass jigs and artificial worms worked slowly on the bottom for bowfin. If you have never caught one of these 'prehistoric' fish, then you are in for a treat. Once hooked, a bowfin is one of the gamest fish in Virginia. Make sure you have a stout rod and heavy line to handle these fish that top 6 lbs. frequently. Gar readily take live (or dead) minnows during the summer months. Another popular way to catch gar is to tie a brightly colored piece of nylon rope on the end of your line and pull it in front of a gar. When the gar strikes, its teeth will usually get entangled in the rope and the fight is on. Later in the summer and early fall, catfish fishing heats up on the Blackwater River. Channel catfish are common throughout the river and now blue catfish are becoming more and more abundant.

Bank fishing opportunities are limited to some bridge crossings, state boat ramps, and canoe access areas. No permits are required.

Boat ramps can be found at Routes 611 (Joyner's Bridge Rd) and 603 off Route 258 in Isle of Wight County.

A new double-lane boat ramp with paved parking and bathroom facilities is open in the City of Franklin. There is no fishing on the courtesy piers at the boat ramp, but there is ample bank fishing from the shoreline at the nearby Barrett's Landing Park.

Canoe access can be found off of Rt. 619 (Burdette), Rt. 189 (South Quay), and Rt. 620 (Broadwater Br.), but beware of vehicle parking restrictions.