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Nelson County offers many fishing opportunities along its rivers, lakes and streams.

Options include the Tye River, the James River and the Rockfish River (Virginia Fish and Wildlife Licensing required). Visit the Department of Wildlife Resources for fishing rules & regulations.

Find a Place to Fish
Important Information

James River - Nelson County Access Points

  • Midway Concrete Ramp (In James River WMA off Rt. 743; Northeast of Wingina)
  • Wingina Concrete Ramp (Rt. 56, South of Wingina)
  • James River State Park Boat Ramp and also a Canoe/Livery Landing

BENT CREEK TO WINGINA: Distance: 12.4 miles
Camping, Cabins, Boat Access, Hiking Trails, Fishing

The concrete ramp at Bent Creek is best suited for canoes or small boats and is located just upstream from the Route 60 bridge. At James River State Park, you’ll find a boat ramp (Dixon Landing) and a canoe landing. A boat ramp (Dixon Landing) and a canoe landing is available at James River State Park. At Wingina, a concrete ramp is present at the Rt. 56 bridge. However, trailer-launched boats can only be u sed during high flows, due to a steep dropoff at the end of the ramp. Typically, this float is a series of long, shallow pools interspersed with short, easy riffles. Smallmouth bass and redbreast sunfish will provide most of the fishing through here.

WINGINA TO JAMES RIVER WMA (Wildlife Management Area) Distance: 2.2 miles
Wingina provides a ramp for small boats/canoes, and a good concrete boat ramp is present at the James River Wildlife Management Area (WMA) (follow the signs from Rt. 626). This is a short and shallow float. During low flow periods, the river gets quite shallow through this section. The best fishing action comes courtesy of smallmouth bass and redbreast sunfish.

The Rockfish River (South) is stocked with catchable-sized trout periodically by the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources from October through May. (See the Trout Stocking Plan for their stocking schedule at The Rockfish is an excellent smallmouth stream and also holds bluegills, perch and fallfish. It can be accessed at several points from U.S. 29 south and along Route 602. Virginia Fishing License required. Trout license also required between October 1 and June 15.

Other Ponds & Lakes

Visit for fishing rules and regulations for access and fishing in these ponds and lake areas. Permission may need to be obtained from private property owners in advance.

Baldwin Pond (Waynesboro East)
Davis Pond (Shipman area)
Fish Pond (Lake) (Howardsville area)
Hamilton Lake (Lovingston area)
Ramsay Knox Pond (Howardsville area)
Saunders Pond (Arrington area)
Stevens Lake (Arrington area)

The Montebello Fish Hatchery is a few minutes west of Crabtree Falls (off Rt. 56) with separate holding pens for the different species of fish, as well as the different sizes. This hatchery produces and stocks streams around Virginia with 150,000 Brook, Rainbow and Brown Trout each year. Fun for kids too – see where these fish come from!

359 Fish Hatchery Lane
Montebello, VA 24464

Virginia Fishing Licenses & Access Permits

License Fees, Information and Requirements

The quickest and easiest way to obtain a fishing or hunting license or access permit is to PURCHASE IT ONLINE! Just select the license(s) you want, pay with your VISA™ or MasterCard™, and you’re on your way. You print your licenses after you pay, so there’s no waiting!

Convenient Ways to Buy Your Licenses & Access Permits

  • Online
  • Telephone: call 1-866-721-6911 (available Monday – Friday, 8 AM – 5 PM, except holidays)
  • In person: choose from hundreds of license agents located around the Commonwealth. Licenses are also sold by some clerks of the Circuit Court. (see Nelson locations below)

Customer Service
Need assistance with your license purchase? Contact customer service by phone at 1-866-721-6911 or by email. Customer service is available Monday – Friday, 8 AM – 5 PM, except holidays

Nelson County Fishing License Locations

  • Shady’s Place 15819 Thomas Nelson Hwy. Lovingston, VA 22949 434-263-5024
  • Sunny Mountain Store 10761 Thomas Nelson Hwy. Lovingston, VA 22949 434-263-4080

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