Maury River - Fishing Opportunities

Smallmouth Bass River Fishing Forecast

The Maury River does not enjoy a reputation for its fishing as do other Virginia rivers such as the James, New, Shenandoah, South Holston and others, but it does offer some interesting angling opportunities. The fishing might well be broken down into a trio of approaches; Goshen Pass, the fast water from Goshen Pass to the James River, and the still water behind the impoundments, primarily the 30-foot high dam at Buena Vista.

Let's take the rowdy water of Goshen Pass first. This section of the river is top trout fishing water, Category A. That means that it is stocked once in October, November-December, and January-February. But it is stocked twice monthly in March, April, and May, the top trout fishing months in Virginia. Like so many Virginia trout waters, the water becomes too low and warm to hold trout through the summer. No doubt a few trout hide in dark, deep holes, and make it through the summer, but not many. Trout are not released in June, July, August, and September. The October releases are often contingent upon the quality of the water. If a long dry summer spell extends well into the fall, the October stocking might be delayed.

Another trout fishing opportunity is Guy's Run, which enters the Maury River from the Goshen tract of the Goshen-Little North Mountain Wildlife Management Area. This little stream has been identified by the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries as a wild trout stream. This means native brook trout find its sparkling waters.

While the trout fishing is popular, the bass and sunfish in the river hold more appeal for many anglers. By bass, I mean smallmouth bass, the fish that has made the James River famous. You might catch a smallmouth bass anywhere from the headwaters where the Calfpasture and Little Calfpasture join to form the Maury, to the mouth of the river where it enters the James. Anglers frequently catch smallmouth bass while fishing the Goshen Pass waters for trout, but the best fishing begins downstream where the Pass waters become more gentle.

An ideal bass and sunfish trip might begin at the Glen Maury Park launching area in Buena Vista and end at the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries' Locher Landing near Glasgow. This is a 12-mile run and even a long summer day won't give you enough time to fish all of it. Just pace yourself and fish only the most productive water. If you are interested in shorter trips where you can cover the water more thoroughly, talk to Glenn Rose of James River Basin Canoe Livery, Ltd., R.F.D. 6, Box 125, Lexington, Va. 24450, telephone: 540-261-7334. He has spent over 20 years on the Maury and knows it like the back of his hand. He can probably give you some suggestions regarding entering and leaving the river. He also has a website full of good information and useful links at

As is true of most fast smallmouth bass streams, the Maury River is loaded with scrappy and tasty yellowbreast sunfish. Many anglers release their bass and string a good catch of sunfish for the table.

In addition to the bass and sunnies the Maury holds populations of rock bass, another stream mate of smallmouth bass in the western part of the state. Other angling possibilities include the likes of carp, catfish, and suckers.

For the best of the Maury River fishing, I would recommend going fairly light. My preference is a light spinning outfit featuring 4-pound test line - particularly when the water is gin clear. At other times you might want to move up to 6-pound test. Nothing heavier.

A number of years ago I found myself with a little time on my hands while visiting in Buena Vista. In those days I usually kept some fishing tackle in my car. I drove out to the impounded water behind the 30-foot dam in Buena Vista and began casting from the shore. It wasn't long before I had landed a couple of nice largemouth bass. I'm sure that the likes of largemouth bass and bluegills find a home to their liking in that still water. It's always worth a try.

I consider all fast-flowing inland rivers a possible have for wood ducks, and just this past February, while viewing the river from East Lexington park, I watched a trio of mallards leave the water and head upstream. I'm not sure how popular jump shooting for ducks is, but jump shooters on the James and a number of its tributaries enjoy good hunting. That could be still another charm of the Maury River. It's easy to understand why Professor Maury fell in love with Goshen Pass and the river that flows through it.